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DIY Fire Starters: Only requires two unexpected items!

Thanks for sharing!


diy fire starters

Now that the weather is warm and summer is about to begin everyone is grilling. I love the smell of BBQ. Even when it’s my neighbors doing the grilling, the smell reminds me of camping as a child. I love it when my neighborhood smells like a campground.

My husband is a grill master! And I am so thankful for that! ūüėČ Check out the food he grills and tell me if your mouth doesn’t start watering!

Smoked Honey BBQ Baby Back Ribs
This is my all time favorite food ever!)

Ribs 12

Grilled Ribeye
(this is a close second place)
ribeye with garlic mayonaise

 Smoked Meatloaf
(A delicious twist on a traditional recipe)gluten free meatloaf

My brother is also an amazing cook. Check out this Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon he made on his grill.  Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon 2

When we were newlyweds my husband exclusively used a gas grill. While there are many advantages to a gas grill (mainly time) he rarely uses it and now uses charcoal more often.

Charcoal is a bit more time consuming, but the taste is worth the wait.

It can be a bit tricky to start a charcoal fire. There are many methods and tools. Seth first used a charcoal chimney when he started smoking food.

Then he started buying fire starters because they worked a lot faster. He figured he could make his own a bit cheaper and after a few Google searches he experimented with several different ways to make them at home. He tried using different¬†combinations of dryer lint, egg cartons, paraffin¬†(canning) wax, cardboard, and other flammable materials. These were a bit tedious to make–trying to dip a ball¬†of dryer lint shoved inside an egg carton into a pan of melted wax– not so easy.

Finally, he decided to see if the easiest and most basic of materials would work: cardboard and paraffin wax. And sure enough, they worked great!

I helped him make these one evening. It took less than 10 minutes to make over 30 fire starters. I figured up the cost of making these at home and found that they cost less than 3¬Ę a piece!!¬†That is really just the cost of the wax because I’m assuming anyone can find cardboard for free (we did).

If you bought a box of fire starters off of Amazon and broke down the cost of each one individually they would cost around a quarter a piece. Sometimes a bit less and sometimes a LOT more depending on the brand.

The other amazing thing about these homemade fire starters is that they are¬†safer than lighter fluid and don’t contain any chemicals.

We used cardboard that was plain with no words and free from any inks or dyes. We also bought a box of gulf wax. You can buy Gulfwax Paraffin Wax from Amazon but it will cost you more than if you buy it from a store. Amazon will run closer to $10 a box. We bought ours from Walmart for around $3 for 3 bars.

The box of wax contained three bricks. We melted one brick in a super fancy double boiler (or maybe just stacking a pot inside a skillet half full of water).

melting canning wax

We cut the cardboard into squares about 2 in. x 2 in. but we didn’t measure–they were rough cuts (after all we are just going to be setting them on fire).

homemade fire starters

Once the wax was melted we removed it from the heat and started dipping the cardboard. We completely submerged the squares into the wax then let the excess wax drip back into the pan. FYI: a dentist pick worked great for the dipping. A fork or tongs would also work.

diy fire starters diy fire starter

We let them dry on wax paper over night, but a couple hours would be enough.

We store them in a gallon baggie and pull about three squares out every time we need to start a fire.

homemade charcoal fire starters charcoal fire starters

We have only used these in a grill but I imagine they would work great in a campfire or fireplace as well.

That’s it! Super easy and saves a LOT of money!! More money for ribs, steaks, hamburgers, and pork chops!

What’s your favorite way to grill?


Thanks for sharing!

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Nashoba Losa May 27, 2020, 8:43 pm
    I have been saving news papers, cardboard boxes, and quite a bit of non-slick printed paper and smaller/thinner cardboard like cereal boxes, etc., for about a year now. I was going to use water and five gallon buckets along with a drill-attached implement to mix it all up and then drain the water and press the "bricks" till dry and then to cut them up and use for fire starter material. My question is about the ink print on the boxes and newspapers and the tape on the Amazon delivery boxes. This article seems to indicate the ink is problematic. Is that a killer for my project? And how about the tape??? And where will I get your answers??
  • Steven Habeth March 31, 2019, 8:21 pm
    I go to the supermarket and get a wax cardboard box or two and chop it up into 3x5 inch blocks and place them into a regular cardboard box and store them in the garage. Great for lighting the bbq, fireplace (at the cottage) woodstove or campfires. cost is $0.00 just 5-10 minutes of time.
  • Beth May 18, 2017, 7:34 am
    I use electric grill only when I don't have enough time for grilling. Otherwise I always prefer normal grill with lump charcoal. It ensures you the best taste ever
  • Rebecca August 4, 2015, 2:13 pm
    We only ever use a gas grill, but I love the taste of charcoal grilled BBQ and I'd like to start. This may be a really dumb question, but the charcoal in the picture doesn't look like charcoal briquettes we've bought. What are they?
    • Blessed Beyond Crazy August 5, 2015, 10:03 am
      You're right! They are not briquettes, it's lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is better for smoking food.
      • Rebecca August 5, 2015, 2:42 pm
        Thanks! I will have to look for some. That sounds really good. My Profile
  • Suz April July 18, 2015, 2:10 pm
    I saw someone use cheap crayons and pinecones for outdoor campfires! I LOVE this for grilling! Thx for the idea. I am making this Christmas a homemade gift giving and I like this for one of the gift ideas! Can't wait to share this idea with my husband! He loves to tend the grill! I am the FOOD master and he is the grill master! smile
    • Blessed Beyond Crazy July 20, 2015, 2:51 pm
      Hey! I think this would be a great idea for a Christmas gift!

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