Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 35° Partly Cloudy
News >  Home and garden

Upcycled Life: Fire starters

By Katie Patterson Larson For The Spokesman-Review

Fire starters are a great way to reuse common items around the house and help your woodfire get going.

Start with the base of a cardboard egg carton. Fill each cup with a small amount of shredded paper. This is a great way to reuse junk mail or old documents you don’t need anymore.

Optional: Add dried spices, herbs and pinecones, especially if you are giving these as gifts. Use small pieces from a dried out Christmas tree, spices like star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, sage leaves and dried orange slices for a beautiful natural look.

Next melt the stubs of candles or alternatively use beeswax or paraffin wax (both are available at many grocery stores) in an empty soup can sitting in a pot of water on the stove.

Pour the melted wax into the egg carton over the shredded paper and anything else you added. Keep in mind that the hot wax might leak out the bottom of the cardboard. I set my egg carton back into the carton lid to catch any drips.

Let fully cool and then pull each cup apart to make 12. Store in a sealed jar or container. Use one fire starter to help get your next campfire or backyard fire pit going.

Note: You have probably heard about people using dryer lint to make fire starters. Most folks wear polar fleece, athletic fabrics and blends that include polyester fibers. Not only does poly not burn well (not helpful here), but it will also off gas as it burns (not healthy). So unless your laundry load is 100% cotton, use the above ingredients instead.

Katie Patterson Larson is the director and founder of Art Salvage. Art Salvage keeps usable materials out of the waste stream and makes them accessible and affordable. For more information, visit

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.