Making waste into something useful 1: Homemade Fire Starters

September 15, 2010

This is the start of a series of blogs with ideas on how to make everyday items we would simply throw away into something useful.  If you have ideas please share them.  If you have something particular you throw away a lot & would like an idea on what can be done with it, ask.  Like I said before, if we all put our heads together we can come up with great ideas.

Homemade Egg Carton Fire Starters

What you need:

  • Cardboard Egg Cartons
  • Wax or Petroleum Jelly (Use the little bits leftover from candles you have burned, candles you pick up at yard sales, those gifts you have sitting in a box some where, or even  bits of crayons. This is a great way to get rid of the last of the petroleum jelly in your house if you are planning on no longer purchasing the oil-based product)
  • Lint

My parents have a fireplace & I used to make these for them.  These make great gift ideas for anyone with a fireplace, fire pit, or who goes camping.  If you start saving egg cartons & lint now, you can make some for Christmas presents.  This is a fun craft for kids too.

They are very simple to make:

1) Cut lids off egg cartons & cut into small pieces.

2) Pack each egg carton compartment generously with lint & the egg carton pieces.

3) Melt wax in the microwave or a double boiler. You can make a double boiler by placing a large tin can with the wax in a pot if water. If you microwave the wax, be sure to pull out the metal weights for the wicks.

4) Pour the wax into the wholes about 2/3 – 3/4 full.

5) When the wax is dry cut apart the sections.

If you use petroleum jelly pack the egg carton compartments about 1/2 full with lint. Then, add about 1 TB of petroleum jelly & pack with more lint.  Then cut apart just like you would the wax version.

Homemade Tea Bag Fire Starters

This is a great idea if your family drinks a lot of tea. I will definitely try this because I drink a lot of tea.

What you need:

  • Used dry tea bags
  • Wax

Simply let your tea bags dry after you’re done using them & store in a jar or tin.  Meanwhile, save those wax bits, crayons, or purchase second hand candles.

1) Melt wax in the microwave or double boiler

2) Dip the tea bags into the melted wax

3) Let the wax dipped bags dry on a tray or old cookie sheet. They will easily peel of the tray when cooled.

It is fun & simple.  Most importantly, it re-uses items that would just go to the landfill.  Many people buy wax fire starters, so this can save a little money too.  If you give it as a gift, you will be out little or no money & useful, thoughtful, homemade gifts often mean more than anything we could find in a store.

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