How-to: Reuse dryer lint, egg cartons and old candles

How-to: Reuse dryer lint, egg cartons and old candles

Sounds like stuff for the trash and recycle bin! But don’t throw those things away…I’ll show you how to make the best fire-starters ever! So start collecting your ingredients now and be ready when it’s chilly!  

I actually wrote this post four years ago, when I had a fireplace.  I currently have no Fire startersfireplace, but these are so awesome I still make them for other people and I keep some on hand for camping and BBQs.

There are two reasons I love this idea.  One, I love making something useful out of trash. Two, the fire-starters are amazing, and work better than any I have ever paid for.

The beginning of the fire-starter making happens now during summer, or garage sale season.  As you peruse people’s unwanted stuff you will usually run across a table full of candles that are burned down too far, faded, stinky, wickless or just plain ugly.  I grab all of them.  Usually they are labeled with  prices that can be paid for with a coin.  Sometimes if I have other things in hand to buy, the seller offers them for free. One summer I got my whole year’s worth of wax for about $2.00.

The next thing is saving the dryer lint.  A coffee can next to the dryer worked for me.  I even saved the little paper things that once lived in a pocket as a note or list, and turned into wads in the washer.  I have also added the used dryer sheet to the mix.  I’ll explain later.  Don’t save all of them though or you will be taken over by dryer sheets.

"Double boiler" made with coffee can
Make your “double boiler” with a big coffee can

The egg cartons are easy.  Lots of people eat eggs. If you don’t eat them, you know someone who does.

Before you get started you will want to cover your counter with newspaper or an old brown bag to soak up wax drips.  You will also need to find an empty can that you can fit inside of one of your cooking pots.  Pinch one side of the can to make a sort of pour spout.  The pot is filled about half way with water and the can goes in the water.  Kind of a double-boiler effect.  It helps if you put something in the bottom of the pan for your can to rest on.  It lets the boiling process happen without your can bubbling up the whole time.  I have used a canning jar ring, an open nutcracker, any kitchen tool that will add some space between the can and the bottom of the pot. The wax pieces go into the can, wicks and all.  Boil the water and keep it at a slow boil until the wax melts.

Lint/dryer sheet wads in egg carton
Ugly little lint wads.

While the wax is melting you can get the egg cartons ready.  Cut the lid off and the little flap that keeps them closed.  Then I cut the dryer sheets into four pieces. Put a wad of dryer lint into the middle of one of the sheet pieces, then poke that into a section of egg carton.  If you run out of lint just cut up some of the egg carton lid into little pieces and use it to fill.  This burns just as well .  The more you make these easier it will be to judge how many starters your wax will make.

Once the wax has melted and your ugly lint wads are all cozy in their egg cartons you can (using a good oven mitt) pick up your can and start drizzling wax onto the lint in the cups.  I usually pour a dozen and then go back and pour over them again.  Sometimes it takes a couple pours for it to soak into everything. When the wax hardens just cut the sections apart and you have fire-starters!

You will love having these all made when fireplace season comes along.  Or put them in one of those mesh bags that the oranges come in and give them as a gift.  Inevitably one of the garage sale candles has a cinnamon scent that overrides the icky ones, so they make your living room smell all homey.

The results are fantastic!