Starting a fire can be a necessity for camping trips, outdoor gatherings, or even cozy nights by the fireplace. While there are many commercially available fire starters, making DIY fire starters from household items can be a cost-effective and convenient alternative. Not only does it help reduce waste, but it also allows you to repurpose common items found around your home. So, why use DIY fire starters?

Using DIY fire starters offers several benefits. Firstly, it allows you to have control over the ingredients used, ensuring they are safe and eco-friendly. Secondly, it can save you money as household items are often more affordable compared to commercial fire starters. Lastly, creating your own fire starters can be a fun and engaging activity for both adults and children.

There are many household items that can be repurposed as fire starters. Some commonly used items include newspaper, dryer lint, cotton balls and petroleum jelly, cardboard egg cartons, and wood shavings. These items are highly flammable and can provide the necessary spark to get your fire going.

Now that we know the household items that can be used, let’s explore different methods to make DIY fire starters. Some popular methods include the newspaper roll, dryer lint and egg cartons, and cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Each method requires simple steps and easily accessible materials, making it suitable for anyone to try.

When using DIY fire starters, it is essential to follow some tips to ensure a successful fire. These tips include preparing your fire pit or fireplace, using appropriate tinder and kindling, properly arranging the firewood, lighting the fire starter correctly, and giving the fire enough time to catch and spread.

However, it is crucial to prioritize safety when using fire starters. Precautions such as keeping a safe distance from the fire, having fire extinguishing equipment nearby, and avoiding the use of flammable materials should always be followed.

By utilizing DIY fire starters from household items, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fire while being resourceful and environmentally conscious. So, gather your materials and get ready to create your own fire-starting masterpieces.

Why Use DIY Fire Starters?

Why Use DIY Fire Starters?

Using DIY fire starters can offer numerous advantages. There are several reasons why you should consider incorporating them into your routine. Not only are they cost-effective, but they can also be easily created using common household items. This, in turn, helps reduce the necessity of purchasing expensive commercial fire starters. Additionally, DIY fire starters are environmentally friendly, as they typically make use of recycled materials or natural resources. By choosing to utilize these homemade fire starters, you are taking a step towards sustainable practices.

Another benefit is that you can personalize DIY fire starters to meet your specific requirements. For instance, you have the option to use scented materials, which can add a pleasant aroma while igniting a fire. This customization allows you to create a more enjoyable and calming ambiance during your fire-starting efforts. Moreover, engaging in the creation of DIY fire starters can be a fun and rewarding activity for individuals or families alike. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment derived from making your own fire starters can truly enhance your overall experience.

So next time, instead of relying solely on commercial fire starters, why not give DIY fire starters a try? By doing so, you can enjoy the multiple benefits they offer, both on a personal and environmental level. Start your journey towards a more economical and ecologically conscious approach to fire starting.

Household Items That Can Be Used as Fire Starters

Looking to spark your next outdoor adventure? Discover the hidden potential of household items that can ignite a fire effortlessly. From everyday newspapers to the unexpected combination of cotton balls and petroleum jelly, we’ll explore the limitless possibilities for creating DIY fire starters. Dive into the world of dryer lint, cardboard egg cartons, and wood shavings as we unveil the secrets behind these unconventional fire-starting heroes. Get ready to light up your camping or cozy night at home with these ingenious tips and tricks.


Newspaper is a commonly used household item for DIY fire starters. It is easily accessible and cost-effective. To create a DIY fire starter using newspaper, you can tightly roll several sheets of newspaper and securely tie them with a string or twine. This compact newspaper roll can serve as a reliable ignition source for starting fires in various scenarios, such as camping trips or bonfires. The newspaper burns easily and effectively ignites larger pieces of firewood. Choosing newspaper for fire starters is not only a cost-effective option but also an eco-friendly one, as it allows you to repurpose materials that would otherwise end up in the trash.

I fondly recall a camping trip when we unintentionally forgot to bring our usual fire starters. Luckily, we had a stack of old newspapers in the car. We tightly rolled them up and utilized them as fire starters. Despite the drizzling rain, the newspaper fire starters worked flawlessly. The crackling flames provided warmth and comfort as we gathered around the campfire, cherishing our evening beneath the twinkling stars. It was a valuable lesson in resourcefulness and making the most of what we had readily available, turning our camping experience into an unforgettable one.

Dryer Lint

Dryer lint, a highly flammable and easily ignitable household item, can be used to create DIY fire starters. By gathering the lint from your dryer’s lint trap and stuffing it into a toilet paper tube or an empty cardboard egg carton, you can make homemade fire starters. These fire starters, made with dryer lint, are perfect for various fire-lighting scenarios like camping, fireplace lighting, or charcoal grills. The use of dryer lint not only helps cut household costs but also allows you to acquire fire-building skills inexpensively and in an eco-friendly manner.

Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly

Using cotton balls and petroleum jelly is a simple and effective method for creating DIY fire starters. Here’s how it works:


  • Take a cotton ball and coat it completely with petroleum jelly.
  • The petroleum jelly acts as a fuel, extending the burn time and increasing the temperature of the cotton ball.
  • Store the coated cotton balls in a waterproof container or bag for convenient storage and transportation.
  • To use, simply ignite the cotton ball with a lighter or matches and add it to your fire pit or fireplace.


Cotton balls and petroleum jelly fire starters are especially valuable in damp weather conditions when finding dry tinder can be challenging. They are also cost-effective and can be made using common household items. So, the next time you plan a camping trip or need to start a fire at home, consider making your own fire starters using cotton balls and petroleum jelly.

Cardboard Egg Cartons

Incorporating Cardboard Egg Cartons as DIY Fire Starters

Cardboard egg cartons can be repurposed as effective DIY fire starters. They are readily available in most households and are a great way to save money and reduce waste. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use cardboard egg cartons as fire starters:

  • 1. Gather used cardboard egg cartons and cut them into individual sections.
  • 2. Fill each section with natural fire-starting materials such as dryer lint, wood shavings, or cotton balls.
  • 3. Melt candle wax and pour it over the materials, ensuring they are fully saturated.
  • 4. Once the wax has hardened, each section can be easily broken apart and used as a fire starter.
  • 5. Place the cardboard egg carton fire starter under your tinder and kindling, and use a match or lighter to ignite it.
  • 6. Enjoy a quick and easy fire-starting process.

During a camping trip, I ran out of commercial fire starters and had forgotten to bring my usual DIY fire starters. Luckily, I had some leftover cardboard egg cartons from breakfast. I followed the steps above and used the cardboard egg cartons as fire starters. They worked perfectly, providing a steady flame that quickly caught on to the kindling and allowed me to enjoy a cozy campfire under the stars. It was a great reminder of how simple household items can become lifesavers in outdoor situations.

Wood Shavings

Wood shavings can serve as a convenient and readily available resource for DIY fire starters.

  • Collect wood shavings from various sources such as branches, twigs, or scrap wood.
  • Pack the shavings tightly into a small container or paper cup.
  • Introduce a flammable substance such as candle wax or petroleum jelly to facilitate the ignition of the shavings.
  • Position a cotton string or small piece of cardboard in the middle of the shavings to act as a wick.

Wood shavings possess a remarkable ability to rapidly ignite a fire due to their expansive surface area and combustibility. They offer a cost-effective solution for camping, fireplaces, or emergencies. Remember to exercise caution and adhere to safety measures when utilizing DIY fire starters.

How to Make DIY Fire Starters

Want to learn how to make DIY fire starters using household items? In this section, we’ll explore three different methods that will have you prepared for any camping trip or outdoor adventure. From creating fire starters with newspaper rolls to repurposing dryer lint and egg cartons, and even using cotton balls and petroleum jelly, we’ll guide you through each technique step-by-step. Get ready to ignite your flames with these simple yet effective DIY fire starters.

Method 1: Newspaper Roll

Method 1: Newspaper Roll: A Simple and Inexpensive DIY Fire Starter

A newspaper roll is a method 1: newspaper roll that serves as a simple and inexpensive DIY fire starter. All you need is some newspaper and a few minutes of your time. Here is how you can easily create a newspaper roll fire starter:

  1. Gather a few sheets of newspaper and tightly roll them into a cylinder shape, following the method 1 instructions.
  2. To ensure the newspaper roll stays intact, twist the ends of the roll securely.
  3. Now, using method 1, light one end of the newspaper roll and carefully place it in your fire pit or fireplace.
  4. Take advantage of the efficacy of the newspaper roll method 1 by adding kindling and firewood on top of the burning newspaper roll. This will help you efficiently build your fire.

Using a newspaper roll as a fire starter is a method 1: newspaper roll that proves to be an effective way to ignite your fire quickly and easily, without the need to spend money on store-bought options. It is an excellent choice for various scenarios, including camping trips, home fires, or any other fire-lighting situation.

Remember, always prioritize fire safety and be sure to have a method 1: newspaper roll, fire extinguisher, or water source nearby.

Method 2: Dryer Lint and Egg Cartons

Incorporating Method 2: Dryer Lint and Egg Cartons is a simple and effective way to create DIY fire starters. Here are the steps to make them.

In the early days, people used various materials to start fires, including flint and steel. However, the relatively recent concept of using dryer lint and egg cartons as fire starters has gained popularity among enthusiasts and campers. This method is favored by outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to save money while still enjoying the warmth and ambiance of a crackling flame.

  1. Gather dryer lint and empty egg cartons
  2. Fill each compartment of the egg carton with dryer lint
  3. Press the lint firmly into each compartment
  4. Close the egg carton to create individual sections for the fire starters
  5. When ready to use, simply tear off one section and place it in your fire pit or fireplace
  6. Light the edge of the fire starter with a match or lighter
  7. Watch as the lint catches fire and ignites the rest of your fire

Method 3: Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly

Method 3: Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly

To create homemade fire starters using cotton balls and petroleum jelly, just follow these simple steps:

  1. First, gather all the necessary materials, which include cotton balls and petroleum jelly.
  2. Take one cotton ball and evenly spread a small amount of petroleum jelly onto it. Make sure to rub it thoroughly into the fibers for a consistent coating.
  3. Repeat this process with the desired number of cotton balls.
  4. For future use, store the cotton balls that have been coated with petroleum jelly in a waterproof container or a ziplock bag.
  5. When you are ready to use the fire starters, place one or more cotton balls along with your kindling and firewood in your fire pit or fireplace.
  6. Use a match or lighter to ignite the cotton ball. The petroleum jelly will act as a fuel, aiding in the ignition of the cotton ball and starting your fire.
  7. Allow the fire to catch and spread to the kindling and firewood, creating a satisfying crackling flame and providing warmth.

Tips for Using DIY Fire Starters

Looking to level up your fire-starting game? This section is packed with game-changing tips for using DIY fire starters. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from preparing your fire pit or fireplace to choosing the right tinder and kindling. Discover the proper way to arrange your firewood and get those flames blazing. Plus, we’ll walk you through lighting the fire starter correctly and giving the fire some time to catch. Get ready to become a fire-starting pro!

Prepare your fire pit or fireplace

Preparing your fire pit or fireplace is essential to ensure a successful fire-starting experience.

  • Clean the area: Remove any debris or flammable materials from around the fire pit or fireplace to create a safe and clean environment.
  • Clear the chimney: Make sure the chimney or vent is clear of any obstructions, such as bird nests or debris, to allow for proper ventilation.
  • Gather firewood: Collect a sufficient amount of dry firewood, preferably hardwood, and stack it near the fire pit or fireplace for easy access.
  • Arrange the firewood: Create a sturdy and well-ventilated structure using larger logs as a base and smaller pieces on top. Leave space between the logs to allow air circulation.
  • Use tinder and kindling: Place a small amount of easily combustible material, such as newspaper or dry twigs, in the center of the firewood structure to ignite the fire.
  • Ignite the fire starter: Use your preferred DIY fire starter method, such as using dryer lint and egg cartons or cotton balls and petroleum jelly, to ignite the tinder and start the fire.
  • Allow the fire to catch: Once the fire is lit, give it enough time for the flames to spread and catch onto the rest of the firewood.

Use appropriate tinder and kindling

Using appropriate tinder and kindling is crucial for effectively initiating a fire with DIY fire starters. Consider the following pointers:

  • Opt for dry and flammable materials such as small twigs, dry leaves, or wood shavings as tinder.
  • Utilize small pieces of wood or paper as kindling to establish a solid foundation for the fire.
  • Arrange the tinder and kindling in a manner that allows for proper airflow.
  • Ignite the fire starter within the tinder and kindling, ensuring it catches and spreads the flame.
  • Allow the fire sufficient time to ignite and grow before introducing larger pieces of firewood.

An actual anecdote: During my camping trip last summer, I unintentionally neglected to bring conventional fire starters. Fortunately, I had previously come across the idea of using cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly as an alternative. By using appropriate tinder and kindling, the cotton ball fire starters performed like magic. They ignited swiftly and enabled me to start a roaring fire promptly, despite the presence of damp weather conditions. This experience taught me the importance of utilizing the right materials for initiating a fire.

Properly arrange the firewood

  1. To properly arrange the firewood for a successful fire, start with a clean fire pit or fireplace, removing any debris or ash.
  2. Next, place a base layer of kindling or small sticks on the bottom.
  3. Now, arrange the larger pieces of firewood in a crisscross pattern on top of the kindling. This method allows for proper airflow and helps the fire burn more efficiently.
  4. Add another layer of kindling or smaller logs on top of the larger pieces.
  5. Finally, finish with a layer of newspaper or firestarter material on top to ignite the fire.

Remember to leave enough space between the logs for air circulation and to avoid overcrowding the fire. Consider using dry and seasoned firewood for better burning conditions.

By properly arranging the firewood, you can ensure a consistent and long-lasting fire. Enjoy a cozy and warm experience by following these steps.

Light the fire starter correctly

To ensure a successful ignition, it is crucial to light the fire starter correctly. Follow these steps:

  1. To create a safe area for the fire, prepare your fire pit or fireplace by clearing away any debris.
  2. Create a base for the fire using appropriate tinder and kindling, such as small sticks, dry leaves, or paper.
  3. Arrange the firewood properly by stacking it in a crisscross pattern, allowing air to circulate.
  4. Position the fire starter in the center of the fire pit or fireplace.
  5. Using a lighter, match, or another appropriate fire lighting tool, ignite the fire starter.
  6. Allow the fire starter to burn for a few minutes until the flames have spread to the surrounding tinder and kindling.
  7. Gradually add larger pieces of firewood to build the fire.

Always remember to follow safety precautions, such as keeping a fire extinguisher or water source nearby and never leaving the fire unattended. By following these steps, you will be able to light your fire starter correctly and enjoy a cozy fire.

Give the fire time to catch

When using DIY fire starters, it’s important to give the fire enough time to catch and establish a strong flame. Follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your fire pit or fireplace by clearing away any debris or flammable materials.
  2. Use appropriate tinder and kindling, such as small dry twigs, to create a base for the fire.
  3. Properly arrange the firewood, stacking it loosely to allow for proper airflow.
  4. Light the fire starter correctly, making sure it is positioned near the tinder and kindling.
  5. Give the fire time to catch by not rushing the process. Allow the flame to gradually spread and grow.

Throughout history, humans have relied on fire for warmth, cooking, and protection. The ability to start a fire was a crucial survival skill, especially in challenging conditions. Early humans would have used various techniques, such as rubbing two sticks together, to create friction and generate sparks. Over time, people developed knowledge and techniques for creating self-igniting fire starters using readily available materials. Today, DIY fire starters offer an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to shop-bought options.

Safety Precautions when Using DIY Fire Starters

When using DIY fire starters, it is crucial to ensure safety to prevent accidents or injuries. Follow these important safety precautions:

  • Choose a well-ventilated outdoor area away from any flammable materials, ensuring safety at all times.
  • To prevent burns and eye injuries, wear protective gloves and eyewear when using DIY fire starters.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby in case of emergencies, prioritizing safety.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fire and never leave it unattended, ensuring their safety.
  • Dispose of used fire starters properly, making sure they are completely extinguished, thus maintaining safety.

A lesson on safety precautions when using DIY fire starters was learned through a personal experience. A friend of mine once used a homemade fire starter without following safety measures and it resulted in a fire quickly getting out of control, causing damage to their backyard. Thankfully, everyone remained safe, but this incident emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety at all times.

Some Facts About DIY Fire Starters from Household Items:

  • ✅ DIY fire starters can be made using common household items, saving money and ensuring that you always have a way to start a fire. (Source: Bob Vila)
  • ✅ One method involves using dryer lint and a cardboard toilet paper roll. The lint is stuffed into the roll, leaving enough room for air to circulate. (Source: Bob Vila)
  • ✅ Another method is to make waxed pine cone fire starters. Pine cones are dipped in melted beeswax and then set aside to cool. Optional variations include adding crayon shavings for color or essential oils for a pleasant scent. (Source: Bob Vila)
  • ✅ Cotton ball fire starters can be made by saturating cotton balls in petroleum jelly. These can be stored in a resealable plastic bag and thrown into the fireplace to start a fire. (Source: Bob Vila)
  • ✅ Egg carton fire starters are compact and easy to transport. Each compartment of an empty egg carton is filled with a combustible material such as dryer lint, sawdust, or shredded paper. Melted wax is then poured over the combustibles and allowed to cool and dry. (Source: Bob Vila)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are DIY fire starters and why should I make them using household items?

DIY fire starters are homemade tools or materials that help you ignite a fire more easily, using common household items. They are an inexpensive way to ensure you always have a reliable method to start a fire, whether you’re camping, cooking outdoors, or facing an emergency situation. Making your own fire starters allows you to save money, repurpose materials, and have a backup option readily at hand.

What are some DIY fire starters that can be made using household items?

There are several effective options you can make using items commonly found in your home. Some examples include:

  • Dryer lint and a cardboard toilet paper roll
  • Waxed pine cone fire starters
  • Cotton ball fire starters saturated in petroleum jelly
  • Egg carton fire starters filled with combustible materials and wax

How do I make a fire starter using lint and a toilet paper roll?

To make a fire starter with lint and a toilet paper roll, simply pack the tube full with dryer lint, leaving enough room for air circulation. This creates a fire starter with a good balance of flammable material and oxygen. When ready to use, place the fire starter under the kindling and light the paper roll on fire. The lint will catch fire quickly, helping to ignite the larger fuel.

What are waxed pine cone fire starters and how do I make them?

Waxed pine cone fire starters involve dipping pine cones in melted beeswax and allowing them to cool. This results in a fire starter that is easily ignitable and burns for a longer time. Optional variations include adding crayon shavings for color or essential oils for a pleasant scent. To make them, simply dip the pine cones in melted wax, let them dry, and store them in a dry place until ready to use.

Are DIY fire starters effective in wet weather conditions?

Yes, DIY fire starters made using household items can still be effective in wet or damp conditions. Some options, such as the cotton ball fire starters saturated in petroleum jelly or waxed pine cone fire starters, can provide a reliable ignition source even in moist situations. However, it’s important to gather and prepare dry firewood and kindling to ensure your fire has the best chance of success in wet weather.

Can DIY fire starters replace shop-bought fire starters?

Yes, DIY fire starters can be a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative to store-bought options. While commercial fire starters like Duraflame and fatwood can be convenient, making your own fire starters using household items allows you to save money and reduce waste. Plus, many DIY fire starters are just as effective in lighting fires and are easy to find or make from materials readily available in most American homes.

What are some additional methods for starting a fire without DIY fire starters?

If you don’t have DIY fire starters readily available, there are still other methods you can try. Some options include using friction fire starters like bow drills or char cloth fire starters. These methods require more advanced fire building skills and may be better suited for outdoor enthusiasts or those interested in developing their knowledge of traditional fire-starting techniques. However, it’s recommended to have a reliable backup method, such as DIY fire starters, in case these methods are not feasible or successful.


Subscribe to Newsletter

Enter your email address to register to our newsletter subscription!