Have old candles that won’t light, or are too ugly to display? Melt them down, and use the wax to make these pine cone fire starters. They make starting a fire a cinch, You can use them indoors (in your fireplace or woodstove), or outdoors (in your firepit or campfire). These make awesome gifts or party favors, so you may want to make extra.
Pine Cone Fire Starter Tutorial
What You Need:
- Pine cones
- A crockpot (dedicated to craft use)
- Old candles
- An old cookie sheet
- A thermometer
Warning: Wax is flammable, so it should never be placed over direct heat. Use a double-boiler, or a crockpot, to heat your wax. I picked up a cheap crockpot at a yard sale that I use for this purpose.
Keep hot wax out of the reach of kids and pets, and do not leave your pine cones or wax unattended, while you’re heating them.
What You Do:
Take a walk, and collect a bunch of pine cones. I recommend doing this on a dry day, so the cones will be open.
When you get back, spread the pine cones you collected out on an old cookie sheet. Then, bake them in the oven at 150 degrees for an hour. This will dry out the pine cones, and kill any bugs that may be present.
While your pine cones are in the oven, fill an old crockpot to the top with old candles.
Put the lid on your crockpot, and set the temperature to high.
Wait for your wax to melt. It took two hours and 20 minutes for this batch to melt, but your time will vary depending on how many/what type of candles you put in and how hot your crockpot gets.
At this point, your wax will be too hot for dipping. Turn off the crockpot, so your wax cools to the proper range. Different waxes have different dipping temperatures, but 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit is a good rule of thumb. If you try to dip your pine cones before your wax cools to the right temperature, the wax won’t stick to the cones.
Tip: Fish out the wicks from the melted candles, while you’re waiting for the wax to cool, so they won’t get in your way, when you’re dipping.
Once you hit the right temperature, use a pair of tongs to dip your pine cones in the melted wax. To do this, submerge a pine cone in the wax. Then, quickly lift it out, and allow it to drip, before transferring it to your covered work surface to dry. Dip all the cones once. Then, repeat the process, until you’ve dipped all the pine cones a few times.
The layer of wax will build, and the color will get darker, with each subsequent dip.
Allow your pine cone fire starters to cool and harden, before you package them.
How to Use a Pine Cone Fire Starter
To use one of your pine cone fire starters, simply layer your logs and kindling; then, add a pine cone fire starter to the stack. Hold a match or lighter to your pine cone, until it ignites. The wax will significantly extend the burn time of the pine cone, and get the rest of your fire going.
Prefer to Buy Pine Cone Fire Starters?
We have them available in our shop. All of our pine cone fire starters are made with 100% recycled wax.
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