Welcome! I am a mom to two wonderful kids, a lovely retired greyhound, and a wife to a great husband. Needless to say, there are a lot of daily messes to clean up around our house. Daily Messes is my blog to share ideas on things to do with your kids, snack and meal ideas, crafts, and holiday fun. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Camping Firestarters

Hubby and the boys like to go camping when the weather is nice, whereas I am completely happy sitting in front of the firepit in the backyard. With either option, making a fire is involved. I am getting better at making fires, but I still use a fire starter. I bought some Fire starters that work great, but I still wanted to be able to make our own and reuse some of the things we had laying around. I had tried making our own fire-starters with dryer lint and wax, which worked ok but not great. A friend recently told me about making fire-starters from pine cones (Thanks, Beth!). We have a lot of pine cones that fall in our yard throughout the year, so this was the perfect idea to try!
You can make it two different ways: with a wick and wickless. To make a wickless pine cone fire starter, you will dip the pine cone in wax but leave the top of the pine cone out and wax-free (when pine cones are dry, they will burn). The other idea is to place a candle wick down the center of the pine cone and then dip the entire pine cone in wax.

You will need:
  • Pine cones
  • Waxbees wax, or old candles
  • Wicks, optional
  • Wax paper, tongs
  • Scents, optional
  • Crayon pieces, optional, to add color


  1. Collect pine cones. If the pine cones aren't dry yet or aren't open yet, let them dry on a sheet in the oven at 150 degrees F for about 1 hour. Keep a close eye on the pine cones since they can catch fire easily!
  2. If using wicks, tie onto pine cones. You may have to play with it a little bit and find the best way to attach the wick. I tried a couple of different ways: I tied on and brought up the middle and wrapped around at the top, next I tied a knot at the end of the wick and stuck it under a tight cluster of the cone leaves. 
  3. Melt wax. Follow the directions on the packaging (old soup or coffee cans are great to create a double broiler). If using old candles, you can sometimes even just place the glass jar in a saucepan. Fill saucepan with water, but make sure it only comes halfway up the can/jar. Add wax to the double broiler (in my case a soup can). Melt on low heat on the stove top. Add scent or color to melted wax (optional).
  4. Once it is melted, dip the pine cones into the melted wax. Make sure to coat both sides. Remove with tongs. Allow excess to drip off.
  5. Place on wax paper to set. Usually 1.5-2 hours.

DM Tips:

  • According to some things I read, you can sprinkle salt onto the wax before it dries. Supposedly, Epsom salt makes it burn white, Table salt makes it burn yellow and Salt Substitute makes it burn violet. For more ideas on making a colored flame, check out chemistry.about.com and sciencecompany.com. I sprinkled some on mine, so I'll let you know if it works!
  • If you want a pine cone with a wax base, you can oil the inside of a muffin tin or use waxed cupcake wrappers. Wrap a piece of twine or place a wick down into the pine cone. Pour a little wax into muffin tin, place in pine cone, and pour additional wax in until you have 1/2 to 3/4 inch of wax.
  • You could also tie a thin wire or a longer wick around the pine cone to dip into the wax instead of using tongs.
  • You can make a bunch of these and wrap in a basket for a housewarming gift.
  • I used small pine cones because that was what was currently in my yard. Although the small ones worked fine, I think the larger pine cones would probably last longer.

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