Let it be known, I know how to make a campfire. You can’t be a Girl Scout leader for nine years without learning the ins and outs of fire making. Sometimes, however, you might need a little help. Maybe you’re low on kindling or you’re dealing with wet conditions. For me, I’m usually in a hurry to start cooking (see Camp Cooking Equipment You’ll Love) Below are the directions for making a firestarter that is easy to light, burns slowly, recycles trash, and kids can help make, too!
The Ultimate DIY Firestarter
- Dryer lint
- Toilet paper rolls
Stuff toilet paper rolls with dryer lint. Don’t compact it in. You want a few gaps so oxygen can flow through the roll. I keep a gallon-size ziplock bag in our laundry room to store the dryer lint whenever I clean out the filter. I also keep the toilet paper rolls in there.
Roll up the toilet paper rolls in old newspaper. I usually fold in the end to keep the paper from rolling off, but I also used a little piece of tape with my Girl Scouts to secure the edges.
Step 3 (optional):
Melt old candle wax then pour in the end of the roll. I keep old candles for this. You know how a candle will burn down, but then there’s that little bit left in the bottom? I first loosen the wax from the candle holder by sitting it in hot water. Then I melt it down in an old pot that I keep just for making firestarters. You can even dip just the ends if you’re worried about pouring hot wax. I finish off the rolls by pouring the last bit of wax over the outside. I minimize the mess by using a cheap disposable aluminum tray. The wax isn’t required for this to be a good firestarter, and my Girl Scouts weren’t allowed to do this step until they were middle school age. However, I think the wax helps the firestarter burn slower than without it.
That’s all there is to it! Place one under your kindling and light the end.
Play to see the DIY firestarter in action.
One variation that I used sometimes with my Girl Scouts was to use a cardboard egg carton instead of toilet paper rolls and newspaper. For this firestarter, stuff the individual egg cups with dryer lint. Then pour wax into each of the cups. When you need a firestarter, just tear off one of the cups!
What is your favorite firestarter? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below. Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!