Lightweight Fire Starters Project

By Bob Sherman

With camping season here this project is a great way to make use of wick and wax scraps. With a weight of approximately 1/10 ounce and a burn time of approximately 10 minutes these are perfect for backpacking, but they can be used any place you need to start a fire. Instructions are also included for a longer burning, but heavier variant. This project is also Earth friendly as it can be made with 100% recycled materials.

Caution - These are not candles and will burn uncontrollably. They should only be used in areas suitable for making a fire.

Most of the supplies needed can be ordered directly from this page for your convenience.

PLEASE NOTE!! - Working with wax can be dangerous if proper safety procedures are not followed. Please read these Safety Rules before attempting any candle making projects.

None - Any candle wax will work. Candle drippings and leftovers or scrap wax from candle making will work fine.

Candle Making Supplies

The following candle making supplies and other materials were used to make this candle. Clicking on the item name will bring you to that item's page with a full description and ordering information.

Item Amount Used
Wick I make these with scraps of wick left over from candle making (such as short pieces from the end of rolls). If you don't have scraps you will need to buy some. Square braid works best, but any type and size will work. String will also work - but do not use string made with synthetic materials.
Wax As mentioned above scrap wax will suffice. If you have no scraps, buy the cheapest wax you can find.
Corrugated Cardboard Cut from cartons.

Step By Step Instructions

1. Gather wax scraps from the shop, drippings, half burned candles, failed experiments, and so forth. Get your friends to save their candle leftovers too. Prepare a double boiler setup and start melting the wax. 2. Cut the cardboard into 2 inch x 7 inch strips. Peel the facing from one side to expose the corrugations. This will make it easier to roll.
3. Roll the cardboard as tightly as possible. 4. Tie it with a piece of wick. I use a square knot, but for those who weren't scouts, just make a tight knot of any type.

5. Trim the wick ends to approximately 1 inch long.

6. Prepare a bunch.
7. Once the wax has melted, drop rolls in. Allow to soak for 15 seconds then remove with a spoon, fork or tongs. Allow any excess wax to drain into the pot. 8. Set aside to cool.
Alternate Method - The following steps show a variant that burns longer but are much heavier - they weigh about 1 ounce each.
9. Finished lightweight fire starters. To use these, just light the edge of the cardboard.
10.Cool the wax to 150 degrees F. For dipping either grasp by the wick or insert a heavy wire. 11. Dip in the wax, then remove and allow to cool.
12. Repeat until a thick coating of wax is attained. 13. If wire was used remove it. Allow to cool. To use these, light the wick.

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Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and common candle making practices as of the time of this writing Originally published in the 1990's and has been updated and modified in June 2006 and in June 2011. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.

Author: Bob Sherman

Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.

This article is provided free of charge for use. Candles may be made and sold using this design royalty free, however no portion of this article may be reproduced for publication elsewhere without express permission from Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc. with the following exceptions: