How to Make Homemade Fire Starters

Having the means to make a fire in a moments notice is essential in a survival situation. An external heat source can help deflect hypothermia, or even cook a hot meal when you really need it. Carrying fire starters with you while you are away from home can be a great way to add a little survival insurance to whatever situation you happen to find yourself in.

To save a few dollars, I make my own fire starters out of household items that I would normally throw away.  To be thorough in my preparedness endeavors, I have put them in each of my family’s 72 hour kit, in our vehicle emergency supplies, and in our camping gear.  To make the fire starters, all you really need are 4 items:

Homemade Fire Starters

  • cardboard toilet paper roll or paper towel roll
  • dryer lint or cotton balls
  • worn down candle stubs or crayons
  • natural twine


1. Melt the crayons or candle wax down until liquefied.  This makes the fire starter windproof.

2. Stuff the dryer lint into the cardboard roll and tie with a piece of natural twine.  The twine will be used as a place to light the finished fire starter.

3. Dip the stuffed cardboard roll into the wax and roll it around until it is completely covered in wax.

4. Set dipped cardboard onto a paper towel or piece of paper to dry.

5. Once the fire starters are dry, I typically cut the cardboard rolls in half and vacuum seal them along with a few matches.


Change It Up If You Like

This recipe can be changed around to suit your needs.  If you do not have cardboard rolls, use cardboard egg cartons or cut up an old cardboard box into strips to roll the dryer lint up in.

Another method is to not use the cardboard at all.  Just roll the lint up into a ball formation and dip the dryer lint into the wax and allow it to dry.

If you do not have candle wax, try using melted crayons, old canning wax or use paraffin wax.

Another method of making good fire starters is by dipping cotton balls into petroleum jelly.  This method is a good one, but I like to find ways to re-purpose the trash that I already have on hand.

How to Make a Good Fire with a Fire Starter

Once the firestarters are lit,  they will burn effortlessly so that you can add moss, small twigs, leaves and dry kindling to help the fire grow larger.  Depending on how well the fire starters are stuffed, they will typically burn for 5 minutes on their own.  This should give you plenty of time to get a fire started.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 18th, 2011
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