If you like being crafty or don't want to spend the money on fire starters you buy in the stores, here are some ideas for making your own.
1- Cut up strips of old cardboard you probably have lying around. Dip the strips in wax and let them dry. Pop them in a sandwich bag and add them to your emergency gear. The coated cardboard will burn nice and slow. This is ideal when you are trying to get a tinder bundle going and don't want it to burn out in a quick few seconds.
2- If you have a bunch of junk mail, put it through a paper shredder. Place the shredded paper in a bag and toss it in your bug out bag. You can also coat the paper shreds with melted candle wax for added burn time. The next time you burn a candle, save the wax for your DIY fire starting materials.
3- Buy a bag of cotton balls and a jar of petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Use a knife or popsicle stick to spread Vaseline on a cotton ball. Place the gooey cotton balls in a sandwich bag. You can make the cotton balls easier to light by adding a couple drops of Zippo lighter fluid to each cotton ball. The petroleum jelly will add several minutes of burn time to the cotton ball, which gives you enough time to get a tinder bundle burning.
4- Save your egg cartons and shred some more of those old bills and junk mail you don't want. Stuff each slot with shredded paper. You can also use old saw dust. Melt candle wax and pour it over each wad of paper or sawdust in the egg carton. Allow the wax to dry. Cut the carton into individual slots and store in a plastic bag.
5- Save your orange peels the next time you buy oranges. Allow the peels to dry thoroughly. Once completely dry, store in a plastic or paper bag. The natural oils in the skin are excellent for starting a fire.
6- Buy a pack of cotton makeup remover pads. Dip each pad in melted wax and allow to dry. When you need to start a fire, tear the cotton discs in half or enough to expose the cotton fibers and light with a match. The wax coating will slow down the burn and give you plenty of time to get a healthy fire going.
7- Create decorative fire starters out of pine cones. Wrap twine or use candle wick material around the base of the cone. Put the cone in small bowl so that it is standing upright. Melt was in a double broiler and pour the wax into the bowl, covering the bottom portion of the pine cone. Wait about 5 minutes for the wax to harden and then pull the cone out of the bowl. The pine cones will burn nice and slow for several minutes. These are best stored away in your home's emergency supplies.
8- Fill a small jar with rubbing alcohol and drop in used corks. You can often find corks at thrift stores or in bulk at various craft stores. When you are ready to start a fire, put your cork in the tinder bundle and light a match. The alcohol will immediately spark and the cork will burn for a bout a minute. You can remove the corks from the alcohol solution after a few days and store in plastic bags or old medicine containers to keep in your bug out bag.
9- If you happen to have an herb garden, you can transform your fire starter into something pleasant and aromatic. Dry bundles of herbs from your garden. Place a few of the herbs on a piece of newspaper. Roll the newspaper up and around the herbs. Twist the ends to form what resembles a piece of wrapped candy. Put the newspaper bundle in the middle of a pile of twigs and light it.
10- The cedar shavings you can buy at any pet store combined with cupcake liners make quick and easy fire starters. You can pick up a bag of old candles at most thrift stores to waterproof your fire starters. Use a cupcake pan and line each slot with a paper liner. Fill the liners with pine shavings. Melt down the old candles and pour the melted wax into each cupcake liner. Allow the wax to dry and you have quick fire starters for under $10.
"As a firefighter, I see every day how an emergency can affect a family. I strive on helping people with their emergency and survival plans while continuing the course on my own preparedness journey."
You can follow Anthony on his blog HomesteadandPrepper.com