Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Pay? DIY Fire Starters

Autumn is upon us and that chill in the air makes me want to have a toasty fire roaring in the fireplace! I got an awesome deal on wood last year, but I always feel like I'm spending too much money on getting that fire started using Store-Bought Fire Starters.

The truth is that I'm impatient.  I just want my fire to start up with one light of a match and I don't have time to start it with kindling first and build up to the larger logs.  I want immediate results, so I've been wasting money on these:
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Then, I came across this very simple idea published in Martha Stewart Living about making your own Twisted Newspaper Fire Starters.  They're super easy to make.  Simply roll a piece of newspaper  very tightly, bend it in half and then twist it tightly together again.  Martha recommends using a piece of twine to secure the ends, but I found that if you twist it tight enough, it stays by itself.  

Here are Martha's which are perfect, of course:
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...and here are mine which work just as well:


When ever the newspaper arrives at my doorstep, I read it, then roll it!  I have a big bin of them that I keep on hand when ever I need a few.


To start a fire, I usually put four of them on the bottom of my grate.  Then, I pile on three medium-size logs.  I light the ends of the newspapers and let them do their magic.  They smolder a bit at first, but they stay hot enough to ignite the wood pretty quickly!  You'll be surprised!


The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

DIY Newspaper Fire Starters:  FREE, Unlimited Supply

Total Fake-It Cost:  $0.00


Compare to Store-Bought Fire Starters:  $12.99, Box of 24

Total Fake-It Savings:  $12.99 and up* 


*Depending on how many fires you have per year.  I estimate that I have around 50 fires per year, so my savings would be at least $25.98!!!

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25 comments:

  1. We heat our home with our wood stove... I light a fire in it every morning (if I don't get up during the night to feed it). Anyway another great fire starter is dryer lint.... seriously try it sometime!!! I would work well to get your newspaper logs burning quicker. Enjoy your blog!

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  2. I'll second the dryer lint. Works like a charm!

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  3. This is a great idea. And they look much cuter than balled-up newspaper (which is what I use!!) haha. Awesome!

    Bekah
    If Work Permits

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  4. When we heated with wood, we would stuff dryer lint in cardboard egg cartons, then pour parafin over the top. Break apart and use one or two to start the fire. We also used the newspaper, rolled and twisted. If you roll them tight enough, they burn long enough to cook a package of hot dogs and a can of beans on a park-type picnic grill. Huge savings in charcoal, and lots fewer chemicals wafting over the food!

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    1. There might be chemicals in the newsprint ink. /:-(

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  5. Here is a twist on Jennifer's egg carton fire starters. I do the same thing, using dryer lint, (which I just save up in a bag all summer). I also save all my old scented candles that are nearly used up. Stuff the lint into the cardboard egg cartons, melt the candles and pour over the lint. Cut them apart and keep in a basket by the fireplace. They work great and give off a nice scent while starting your fire!

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  6. Love all of your suggestions for the wax and dryer lint! Thanks everyone!

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  7. Great idea. We always make out own fire starters. We camp a lot so, they come in handy! Thank you for being part of Thrifty Things Friday and have a wonderful day!

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  8. Okay, I admit I'm skeptical about the twisted paper, but that doesn't mean I won't try it! Thanks for the ideas about the egg cartons / dryer lint / candle wax, too. I've now got a use for old candles.

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  9. DRYER LINT! omg. I have tons. I love using our woodburning stove but I didn't have an ingenious way like this to help get it started fast. LOVE these tips!

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  10. For outside fires, soak wine or champagne corks in denatured alcohol. Place in jar that you can turn upside down as corks will float to the top. That way all corks will be able to soak in the liquid. Store in jar.

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  11. This doesn't work for us. What we use instead, are ones we make ourselves, which burn MUCH hotter, and can even be used to light campfires in the rain.
    Take an old egg carton, and fill each cup with a wad of dryer lint. Then you can stick a pine cone in each cup, and pour melted candle wax all over them and let them dry. (you don't HAVE to use a pine cone. they work just fine without) when they dry and cool, break the cups apart and you've got 12 or 18 little fire starters that will start a fire in any condition. No smoldering wishes that the flimsy twisty newsprint will start.

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  12. Love this idea!! Thanks for being so frugal!

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  13. I would also like to add that if you add your dryer lint it will make your fire start even easier... You wonder why they have so many dryer fires each year :O

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  14. Our family has made fire starters as Christmas gifts. We have plenty pine trees, so we dunk the pinecones in leftover wax, including a homemade wick (any type of heavy string, tied around cone prior to was process. We also use the dryer lint in egg cartons, but we usually need the cartons for fresh eggs, plus we hang laundry out when weather permits, so not as much lint as many of you have. The twisted paper coated in wax is great for campers and hunters. They stay dry, due to the wax, so it makes even damp wood start quicker. Great ideas, everyone!

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  15. You can also stuff dryer lint in toilet paper rolls. Works great and its stuff you would normally just "trash"!

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  16. If you need lint, ask at a nearby laundrymat!

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  17. If you need lint, ask at a nearby laundrymat!

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  18. We are going to try and combine the egg carton w/ the toilet paper rolls and also repurposing paper towel rolls.

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  19. My method is just a little different than the others on here. I didn't like the mess associated with tiny egg cartons and finding the cardboard ones was becoming difficult. I started collecting drink carriers from fast food places and then stuffed them with lint and covered them with left over candle wax. I have friends saving all supplied for me so there is never a cost associated with making them. I use 1 to start a fire in my fireplace.
    I tried the newspaper starters a couple of times but didn't like the soot and smell in the house.

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  20. Love it! I also use pine cones which are plentiful where I live. And if you want to make them into gifts, fill dixie cups half full of parafin, add a wick and put the butt of a small pine cone in the wax. AWEsome starters....all you need is one!

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  21. If you need firestarter supply.. You know those annoying Sweet Gum Ball you step on in the yard?? Maybe your neighbor has a tree that drops them in your yard like mine does lol. They make great firestarters just like pine cones you could add them to your egg cartons. Just find anyone with those trees they will gladly let you have all you want :)
    I am thinking about sweeping up all the pine needles on my drive and have been saving my velvetta boxes and going to use wax to make my own logs

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  22. Pine cones also help get a fire started. They catch easier than wood and last longer than the paper. We use them on top of paper with wood on top of the pine cones to start a fire in an old stove in our cabin.

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  23. You can also take a used dryer sheet, put some dryer lint in the center, roll it up and tie the whole thing into a knot!

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  24. We save the paper bags they give you with your order at Chipotle, fill 'em up with paper from our shredder and place them under the logs when we build the fire.
    Other good items are of course the Dyer Lint with Vaseline rubbed into it, or tumble weeds crushed down into a wax milk carton or a paper bag. Lookout! Mas Caliente'

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