How to Make Wax Firestarters: 6 Ways

Thinking about making wax fire starters? Compared to other DIY fire starters, these have the longest burn time and are waterproof.

But wax fire starters aren’t always the best option – especially for wood stoves.

Here’s what you need to know about making fire starters with wax, plus instructions for 6 different ways to do it.

Is Wax a Good Fire Starter?

By itself, wax is not a good fire starter. However, if you use wax to coat a flammable “wick” – such as a pine cone, jute string, or sawdust – it will act as fuel for the flame, so it lasts much longer. 

In addition to lasting a long time, wax fire starters are great because they are waterproof.  

Compared to other DIY fire starters (such as Vaseline fire starters), wax fire starters are messy and can leave residue in wood stoves. They can also take a while to ignite, so you’ll need a strong lighter to get them going.

How Long Will Wax Fire Starters Burn?

Depending on the materials used, wax fire starters can burn for over 15 minutes. The more wick material and wax you use, the longer the fire starter will burn.

What Is the Best Wax for Fire Starters?

You can use any wax for making fire starters, including beeswax, paraffin, and soy wax. Some people even use old pieces of crayons for making fire starters.

However, because paraffin can release toxic chemicals, beeswax is generally considered the best wax for DIY fire starters – especially for indoor use.

How to Make Wax Firestarters

DIY wax fire starters
Our test bench.

To make wax fire starters, you’ll need the following:

  • Wax: Any type of wax is acceptable. I used old beeswax candles.
  • A way to melt the wax: I made a double boiler.
  • Wick materials: This can be any material that easily burns, such as jute string, burlap, pine cones, dryer lint, cotton balls, etc.
  • Lined tray or muffin tin: This is where you will put your wax fire starters to dry. Or you will make them directly in a lined muffin tin.
To melt the wax, I made a double boiler by putting some rocks in an old pot and then propping a tin can on them. The rocks ensure the can never comes in direct contact with the bottom of the pot. Put wax in the can, put the pot on the stove, and wait for the wax to melt!

1. Tea Bags Dipped in Wax Fire Starters

DIY tea bag wax fire starter

Burn Time:  9 Minutes

I used some old chamomile tea bags to make these wax fire starters. They were my favorite of all the wax fire starters because they produced a small but long-lasting flame (you don’t need a massive flame to get a fire going!).

They also didn’t use as much wax as the other fire starters and were pretty easy to ignite.

To make:

  1. Melt the wax in a double boiler. Have a tray lined with parchment paper nearby.
  2. Once the wax melts, dip the tea bags into the wax.
  3. Put them on the tray to dry.
making tea bag wax fire starters

2. Burlap or Jute String Bundles in Wax

burlap and jute string wax fire starters

Burn Time: 5-6 Minutes

Burlap makes an excellent wick material for DIY fire starters. Mine were pretty small, so they only burned for about 5 minutes. You can adjust the size if you need a longer burn time.

To make:

  1. Tie up bundles of jute string or burlap squares, roll them up and tie them into bundles.
  2. Melt the wax in a double boiler. Have a tray lined with parchment paper nearby.
  3. Once the wax melts, dip the bundles into the wax.
  4. Put them on the tray to dry.
making twine jute string wax fire starters

3. Pinecone and Wax Firestarter

My pinecone fire starter ended up really ugly, but it burned well

Burn Time: 13 Minutes

Pinecone firestarters are popular online. They are usually decorative and made with colored wax, string, and essential oils.

Mine looked ugly, but they worked surprisingly well and smelled better than the others.

They are too bulky for me to take camping, but decorative pinecone firestarters would make a nice gift for someone with a wood stove.

Note: The pinecones need to be very dry. Otherwise, they won’t burn well. Green pine can also cause creosote buildup in a chimney. The creosote builds up in your chimney VERY quickly and sticks to the sides, making it very dangerous. 

Since pinecones are so small, this shouldn’t be a significant issue. But it’s better to play it safe and only use dry pinecones for firestarters. One site even recommended drying the pinecones in the oven at 150-200F for 1 hour.

To Make (Dip Method):

  1. Wrap jute or cotton string around the pinecone. This is optional but will help the pinecone ignite easier.
  2. Tie a piece of string to the top of the pinecone.
  3. Melt the wax in a double boiler. Have a tray lined with parchment paper nearby.
  4. Holding onto the string you tied to the top, dip the pine cone into the melted wax.
  5. Set upright on the tray to dry.

To Make (Pour Method):

  1. Line a muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners.
  2. Put a pinecone in each liner. 
  3. Add other flammable decorations to the liners, such as cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, dried rose petals, dried orange peels, etc.
  4. Melt wax in a double boiler.
  5. Pour the wax over the pine cones until the cupcake liners are nearly complete.

4. Egg Carton Wax Firestarters

wax egg carton fire starters

Burn Time: 7-11 Minutes

These wax fire starters are great because they can be made from free or recycled materials. I tested them with cotton, dryer lint, and sawdust. The cotton ball went out the fastest, and the lint and sawdust lasted approximately 11 minutes.

To make:

  1. Fill egg cartons with flammable materials, e.g., cotton, dryer lint, or sawdust.
  2. Put the egg carton on a tray lined with parchment paper. This will catch any spills, so cleanup is easier.
  3. Melt wax in a double boiler.
  4. Pour the melted wax over the material in the egg cartons.
pouring wax into the egg cartons to make fire starters

5. Muffin Tin Wax Firestarters

muffin tin and wax fire starters

Burn Time: 12+ Minutes

I do not like these wax fire starters. They use a lot of wax.

Because the wax surrounds the wick materials, they take a long time to get going: you have to hold a lighter next to them to melt away some of the wax before the wick ignites. 

Once they do get going, they will burn for a LONG time. You probably don’t need that long of a burn time to get a fire going, though (if you do, then you need to work on your fire-building skills!).

I’d only use this method if you want to make decorative wax fire starters as a gift.

For example, you can fill them with dried orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and other fragrant items.

Mine were ugly and practical, though: I used shredded paper, dryer lint, and sawdust. The sawdust one lasted over 15 minutes before burning out.

To make:

  1. Line muffin tins. You can use muffin liners or just cut squares of parchment paper.
  2. Fill the muffin tins with flammable materials. Dryer lint and sawdust work great, but you can also use decorative materials.
  3. Melt wax in a double boiler.
  4. Pour the wax over the material in the muffin tins.
  5. Fold the parchment paper over the material while the wax is still wet to make little packets.
muffin tin and Vaseline fire starters

6. Wax Coated Matches

wax coated matches

Burn Time: 1 Minute

You can coat matches in wax to make them waterproof. I don’t find it worth the effort to dip each match into wax. I’d rather store my matches in a waterproof container.

But the wax does have the added benefit of helping the match burn for a bit longer than it usually would.

To make:

  1. Melt the wax in a double boiler. Have a tray lined with parchment paper nearby.
  2. Using tongs, dip individual matches in the melted wax. Set them on the tray to dry.
  3. Alternatively, dip an entire book of matches into the wax. This is much faster but doesn’t always coat all sides of the matches well.

Also read: Best waterproof matches

Do Wax Fire Starters Leave Residue?

There is a lot of debate about whether wax fire starters will leave behind residue. In most cases, they do not because the wax almost completely burns off.

Further, the amount of wax is minimal, so it shouldn’t leave residue in chimneys. Despite this, using wax fire starters in wood stoves is not recommended. Never use them in gas fireplaces or stoves.

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