How to make firelighters

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to make firelighters
Start a fireplace fire with ease by making firelighters ahead of time. (Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Starting a fire can be a challenge even for people with a lot of experience. Firelighters are an easy way to give your wood fire a kick start. Although there are many homemade options for firelighters, paraffin-wax-filled paper cups are a convenient and effective option. The wax is melted, mixed with wood shavings or sawdust, and poured into small paper cups. If you have old burnt-down candles, you can opt to supplement your paraffin with them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sawdust or wood shavings
  • Old pot, 2 1/2 litres (2 1/2 quarts)
  • Double boiler
  • Water
  • Stove
  • 1 box paraffin wax
  • Old spoon
  • 1 package 85 g (3 oz) paper cups

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  1. 1

    Dump 270 g (1 cup) of sawdust or wood shavings into an old 2 1/2 litre (2 1/2 quart) pot. You will use 1 cup of sawdust per 2 blocks of paraffin wax to create a mix of wax and sawdust. Do not worry if your measurements are not exact, since both the wax and the sawdust are flammable.

  2. 2

    Add water to the bottom of the double boiler. Place 2 blocks of paraffin wax into the top of the double boiler and melt it on the hob. Remove the double boiler from the hob burner once melted.

  3. 3

    Pour the wax into the pot with the sawdust or wood shavings.

  4. 4

    Mix the wood with the wax using an old spoon until all of the wood is coated with the wax.

  5. 5

    Scoop up the wood and wax mixture with the spoon and fill the paper cups 1/2 to 3/4 full.

  6. 6

    Allow the wax to cool and store the cups near your fireplace or wood stove.

Tips and warnings

  • Save your bathroom paper cups after you use them for making firelighters, rather than throwing them out.
  • Use caution when melting paraffin wax over a stove.

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