It is, however, a re-use / recycle kind of project, so there is that. This one starts with lint! Yes, lint, stuffed into cardboard egg cartons.
We’ve been saving our lint like obsessive hoarders for months and months. We had four of these cartons packed full of lost bits of towels, sweaters, socks and probably more than a few Rosie hairs. That’s ok, hair is nice and flammable, too.
The second ingredient is wax. We wanted paraffin, but this is what we found at the craft store.
We did this same project last year, using the melted-down bits of candle stubs and tea lights with burned-down wicks. Unfortunately we haven’t burned enough candles this year, so we had to shell out some cash. We bought two of these one-pound blocks, and it wasn’t quite enough for three of our cartons. Next time I’ll know to go ahead and get the four-pound block. (Warning: for a thrifty craft, this wax can get expensive; these blocks were $6.99. I think I’ll keep my eye open for paraffin, and see if it’s any cheaper. Or make an effort to take more candle-lit baths.)
Time to melt the wax!
(*Note: DO NOT DO AS I DID. Turns out this wax is flammable above 300 degrees--so putting in an oven with an open heat source is very dangerous. Use a double-boiler as recommended. Thanks to Dreaming for pointing this out in the comments!*)
I cut it into smaller chunks, and melted them in the oven in a disposable pie tin we happened to have around. Last year we used a small saucepan on the stove, and it was a bit of a pain to clean. It would be nice to have a junky pot you don’t really care about for this step, as the stovetop is more direct and efficient—plus the saucepan was easier to pour from. Notice I put the wibbly-wobbly pie tin on a sheet tray for more secure handling. This also came in handy after pouring the wax, since some dribbled down under the bottom of the tin and cooled there.
While this was melting, I tore the lids and tabs off the egg cartons and set them in a sheet tray, too. There will be extra wax coming out the bottoms and dribbling off the sides, so you want to protect your work surface.
Well, they almost look like aracauna eggs, right? Maybe a bit…squishier.
I don’t have a picture of the next step, pouring the wax over the
As I said, this is not a pretty-looking craft…
…though I did like how this fancy-pants wax makes them kind of shiny, lol!
After things cool down a bit, you can tear the individual egg pockets apart, and voila—a perfectly ugly little firestarter!
Yeah, maybe not the best thing for prettily-packaged homemade gifts. On the other hand, you can do the same thing with pine cones, which can be prettily-packaged. We’ve tried that, too, but I think they need multiple wax dippings to get enough of a coating on them. We haven’t used the ones we made, so I’m not sure how well a single coating works, and don’t feel like advising anyone on those.
Anyway, regardless of their unattractiveness, these little lint bombs are surefire at…ensuring a fire. I crumple up some newspaper, put one of these on top, and then teepee the kindling over it. If properly soaked, the firestarters will burn for five minutes or so, enough to get your wood caught well. (Notice on the one on the left in the picture above, you can see the darkness where the wax soaked into the cardboard. That’s what you want.)
Finally, something from our kitchen that doesn’t leave you hungry!