Canoe Packs and Canoe Paddles

Egg Carton Firestarters


Portaging the Canoe - A Rite of Passage - Algonquin Provincial Park

There are a lot of good reasons to learn how to start a 1-match fire. Making sure you the fire well laid out with good tinder and kindling that you can light from the bottom is just a good habit. It can also be just plain convenient to take along a few firestarters to make it easy, especially if you are looking a wet and rainy forecast.

These egg carton firestarters are pretty easy to make and they are good way to use up old candles.



Getting ready to make egg carton firestartersEmpty Egg Cartons

Old Candles or Paraffin Wax

Dryer Lint or Wood Chips

Candle Wicks or Binder Twine




Melting the WaxMelting old candles to make egg carton firestarters

To melt the wax we use an old pot that we probably got a Value Village or another second hand store. For safety and to control the heat we turn it into a double boiler setup by putting the pot in a frying pan filled with water. Any wax can be flammable, which is why we are using it to make firestarters in the first place. If you allow paraffin wax to boil, then the resulting fumes are even Melted wax for egg carton firestartersmore flammable. By using the double boiler you keep the temperature of the melted wax at 100°C which is hot enough to melt the wax but well below the boiling point of the wax.

Melting the wax is the slowest part of the process, so get it started first and then you can get the egg cartons set up while you are waiting for the wax to melt.


Preparing the Egg Cartons

Putting the dryer lint and candle wicks in the egg cartons when making firestartersWe only use the bottom half of the egg cartons, so when I'm collecting them up ahead of time I rip or cut off the tops and the front flaps.

We cover the table with newspaper to help catch any wax that might spill when we get around to pouring it. Then we spread out the egg cartons, keeping them right next to each other which makes it easy to pour wax from one carton to the next. Binder twine being used to make wicks for egg carton firestarters

In the cartons we fill up each cell with either dryer lint or wood chips. We still the wood chips from our pet rabbit, but we do stick with the clean unused ones. Next we cut up old candle wicks or binder twine and tuck a piece into each cell of the egg carton. The candle wicks are usually left overs from melting down candles the last time we made these firestarters. If we run out of candle wick, then binder twine works Pouring melted wax into the prepared egg cartons to make firestartersjust fine. You only need the wick to last long enough to get the firestarter burning. Once it is burning then the dryer lint, wood chips or even the egg carton itself provide enough of a wick to keep going.

Once the wax is fully melted, then you just pour it over the egg cartons you have set up. You could make smaller firestarters by only filling them up halfway, but I usually fill them up pretty full.


Using the Firestarters

Egg carton firestartersWhen I'm packing for a trip, I'll grab some firestarters and pack them in a ziploc bag. With all the wax in them, they don't soak up too much water even if they do get wet, but its easy enough to toss them in a ziploc and keep them dry. When we're ready to use one, you just break it off from the egg carton, set up the kindling Egg carton firestartersaround and over the firestarter and light it.

If you do have trouble finding the wick, then the egg carton itself usually lights pretty easily. The firestarters burn for at least 5-10 minutes which is lots of time to dry out some reasonable sized wet wood and get your fire going.


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