DIY Fire Starters You Can Make for FREE

Using things you most likely already have around your home, you can make these handy fire starters to use for camping or starting a fire in your fireplace!

Reader Contribution by Jacqueline Wilt, R.N. and C.E.M.T.
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These are so easy to make! There are a couple of different ways to do it, but they are both cheap and easy to do!


  • Cardboard egg carton OR cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
  • Leftover dryer lint
  • Wax – optional (can be leftover candles!)
  • String (hemp or jute twine work best)
  • Scissors to cut string and/or cardboard tubes


Cut the cardboard egg carton into sections. If using cardboard tubes, cut paper towel roll tubes in half.

Stuff dryer lint into egg carton well. If using cardboard tubes, fold one of the open ends over to close it off, then stuff with dryer lint.

Fold edges of egg carton over the dryer lint and then tie with twine to secure. If using cardboard tubes, fold the remaining open end over to close it, then tie tube with twine to secure the ends shut.

If you want to make your fire starters waterproof, dip them in melted wax. I use what is left at the bottom of jar candles. Place on waxed paper or parchment paper to dry.

Set on wax paper to dry.

To use: Place fire starter on top of a piece of bark or small pile of dry leaves or (if using in your wood stove) shredded paper. Light the edge of the cardboard egg carton or tube. The fire will slowly burn and the dryer lint is quite flammable. This will give you anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes of burn time, depending on the size of the fire starter and how much dryer lint you packed in. Also, if you dipped the fire starter in wax, it will be a little more difficult to light. I have found that if you light the knot where you tied the twine, it will light better. And next time I make them, I will get thicker jute or hemp twine to use. I think it will light better.

These work great for camp outs or in emergency kits! Put one or two fire starters in a vacuum seal bag along with a few matches and vacuum seal. This will keep them dry, and you’ll have a handy take-along that fits great into a backpack or saddlebag!

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