Make Your Own Firestarters

These firestarters are made by stuffing natural tinders into an egg-carton and covering them with beeswax. It’s so simple and they work great, catching fire quickly and burning long and slow. The best part is, you can make them with whatever natural materials grow near you.

Foraging and Combining Natural Tinder Materials

Any natural tinder materials will work for this project. Some options are birch bark, usnea, plant downs, pine cones, wood shavings, tinder fungus, pine sap, and dried grass. If you are unsure what to use, check out my post about natural tinders.

For this batch of firestarters, I used tinder fungus, pine sap, and dried grass. Dried grass ignites quickly and burns fast. It pairs well with slower burning tinder fungus. The pine sap burns long and hot.

If you want to use the same materials as me, you can find tinder fungus growing on birch trees and pine sap from injured pine trees. You might find injured pines near golf courses, logging roads, and local parks. Finally, dried grass is readily available in almost all landscapes.

Prepping Materials

Once you’ve decided what natural materials you will use, it’s time to prep and dry them. What you need to do will depend on the materials you choose. For example, usnea should be “fluffed up” and birch bark torn into long and narrow strips.

I only had to prep the tinder fungus. I removed the inner spongy layer, soaked it in water, pounded it into smaller fibres, and let it dry. You can find more detailed instructions here and here.

Materials

Foraged materials:

  • Tinder fungus
  • Pine sap
  • Dried grass

Materials from home:

  • Egg carton
  • Beeswax

Instructions

  1. Pack dry tinder materials into egg carton cells
  2. Melt beeswax and pour it over the materials *
  3. Let the wax harden
  4. Break apart the cells
  5. You now have 12 firestarters. I suggest cutting them further into halves or quarters.

* If you melt beeswax in a pot, it will destroy that pot for other uses. I have a designated pot for melting waxes. You could use a double boiler and put your wax in a recycled tin can.

Happy Fire Making!

If you try making these, let me know how it goes! I’d love to know what kind of combinations you come up with.

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