Fire has held a special place in the history of man. First, as a way for the earliest civilizations to stay warm and cook the food they ate. Scientists have even posited that humans would never have developed the problem-solving skills they now have without fire. Throughout the centuries, fire has been considered one of the most important elements of survival. Fortunately, we rarely need to start a fire in the wild for survival.
Yet, our fascination with fires still remains. Most of us have fond memories of sitting with friends around a beach bonfire, around a campfire, or cuddled up under a blanket in front of a roaring fireplace. That warm and cozy feeling you get from gazing at a fire is not only lovely and romantic, it’s actually good for you and has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Starting a fire can be tricky if you don’t have the right technique to get it going. That’s where fire starters come in handy. While you can buy store-bought fire starters to make it really easy, why not try some of these creative ideas to make your own firestarters. Many of these options are fun and easy to make for your own use or to give as holiday gifts. And if you do find yourself out in the wilderness and need a fire to survive, you’ll be glad you have these handy.
Vaseline and cotton Balls
One of the easiest emergency fire starters is really simple. You may not know that vaseline is highly flammable. If you saturate some cotton balls with vaseline and store them in a dry tin, these will make some great little fire starters that are handy to carry with you for any situation.
These firestarters make great gifts as they’re festive and pretty. To start with, find small twigs that are all about the same size around. Using a cotton string, tie the twigs together in the middle. Then melt old candle wax – there are different methods for doing this – the easiest way is placing them in the microwave. Gently dip the bundles of twigs in the melted wax. Tongs come in handy here. Immediately sprinkle with glitter and allow to dry. You can then tie a pretty ribbon or raffia around each bundle.
These starters smell great just sitting near the fire and while burning. You will need cupcake liners and a cupcake pan and either beeswax or soy wax. Now, gather items that smell good. Some ideas include whole cloves, dried rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Arrange the aromatic objects in a pretty manner in the cupcake liner and place a cotton wick in the center. Melt the wax in the microwave and pour over the arranged items, allowing some to show. Once the wax sets, you can remove the starters from the liners and store them until time to use.
This project starts with a nature walk. Gather dried flower heads, pine needles, and mini pinecones, pretty berries, curled bark, small leaves. Sawdust is also needed, as are cupcake liners, melted wax, and string or wick material.
Place sawdust in the bottom of cupcake liners. Arrange your found items in an attractive manner and add the string or wick in the center. Carefully pour the melted wax over the items, leaving some of the items peeking through the top. You may want to add the colorful berries at the top for added color. Allow setting completely before removing from the liners. Store these in a container where you can enjoy their beauty at all times.
Coffee Filter Starters
This is a great one for the little helpers because it doesn’t require any melted wax. Gather coffee filters, apple or orange peels, cinnamon sticks (broken into pieces), whole cloves, and pine needles. You will also need a hole punch and a large plastic needle or a metal needle if the little one is okay with using one. You will also need twine or cotton thread.
Punch holes around the outside of the filter if using a plastic needle. Place a small combination of the collected ingredients on one half of the coffee filter and fold the other half over. Now, sew the edges together to make a packet. Have your little one decorate a shoebox and store the packets until needed.
Dried Herb Bundles
All you need for this easy project are herbs such as mint, lavender, or sage. Make sure these are long pieces of at least seven inches. Gather the herbs into a bunch and use twine to securely bind them into a wand. Lay them in a sunny window and allow the bundles to dry for about a week. These look wonderful placed in a wicker basket beside your fireplace. You can also gather several bundles and add a ribbon and bow for gift giving.
What can make your fire even more special? Why not add some color to your flames? These starters will add character to your event, make great photo subjects, and give a special event an extra edge. Note that this recipe calls for adding special color-flame packets you can purchase. If you are looking for a particular flame color, try something from this list.
For these starters, you will need empty toilet tissue rolls, dryer lint, tissue paper such as that you wrap gifts in, used dryer sheets, campfire color changing packets, colorful paper, and tape. Colored duct tape works great.
Start by stuffing drier lint into the toilet paper roll until it is a quarter full. Add a dryer sheet, a wad of tissue paper, and the color-changing packet. Fill the roll the rest of the way with dryer lint. Wrap the colorful paper around the whole thing and attach it with tape. Another option is to have the paper extend past the ends of the roll and twist them like a piece of candy.
Try one or more of these fire starter ideas – a perfect activity for a rainy or snowy day with the family that will come in handy when you’re building your next fire. Make extras so you can give them as gifts when people admire your finished product.