Firestarters from Old Candle Wax and Sawdust

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Project by itsme_timd posted 12-04-2007 06:40 PM 47948 views 67 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I posted a blog entry on making these and naturally someone asked for pics. I decided to post this as a project with instructions and pics. Hope this is useful to someone!

  • Wax (old candles work great)
  • Sawdust
  • Something to melt wax in (double-boiler method is best and safest)
  • Something to mold them in (paper cups, paper egg carton, cupcake cups)
  • Craft paper and string if you want to wrap them.

1) Here are the materials I used. Since my wife makes candles we’ve got plenty of wax around the house – I’m using a few melting tarts, an old jar candle and some various scraps. I also have a melting/pouring pot and some votive cup molds.
Firestarter supplies

2) Next, it’s time to melt the wax. NOTE: Wax is flammable (duh…) so it’s best to use a double-boiler if possible. Otherwise use low heat and keep a close watch on the wax until it’s melted.
Metling the wax

3) After the wax is fully melted it’s time to add the sawdust, mix enough in to make a heavy sludge. It should be pretty thick when mixed together.
Adding the sawdust

NOTE: Pouring these can be very messy, it’s probably best to let the mixture cool down some and thicken. Then, when pouring, you can use a spoon or stick to make the process a little neater. I prefer to have a lot of sawdust and enough wax to bind everything together.

4) Now it’s time to mold the starters, simply pour or scoop them into whatever you’re molding into.
Pouring into candle molds

5) After a couple of hours these will set up, if you’ve used a metal mold you can pop them out now – if they stick a little you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes and they should come right out.
The finished starter

6) Now you can finish these if you want to. I like wrapping them in brown paper and tying the ends. You can stack these by the fire and they look nice.
Wrapped and ready for use

7) When you’re ready to get a fire going just drop one of these below the wood pile. Light both ends and the center and it should burn for 15 minutes or more – plenty of time to get the fire going!
Lighting the starter
Starting to burn
Fully involved!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

36 comments so far

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5420 days

#1 posted 12-04-2007 07:12 PM

Thanks for the how to! I wanted to make some of these for my fire pit after I read your first post.


View David's profile


1969 posts in 5601 days

#2 posted 12-04-2007 07:13 PM

Tim -

Great idea!


View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5769 days

#3 posted 12-04-2007 07:14 PM

Thanks for the pics, Tom will be happy now….ha. They look great.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5769 days

#4 posted 12-04-2007 07:15 PM

..and I guess that there would be some saw dust you would not want to use, like maybe treated lumber dust for example? Any others?

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View scrollsaw's profile


13029 posts in 5316 days

#5 posted 12-04-2007 07:16 PM

Great idea!I am going to make some,so when I go hiking overnight or camping I will have something to start camp fire with.

-- Todd

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5623 days

#6 posted 12-04-2007 08:11 PM

how wonderful of you to do this and get pictures!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5358 days

#7 posted 12-04-2007 08:20 PM

Excellent, excellent, excellent. These will be great by the fireplace and to boot, you can make little gifts of them for people you know. Thanks for sharing.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 5293 days

#8 posted 12-04-2007 10:15 PM

Rob, I can bet there are several types of wood that would not be well suited for this. If anyone has some info as what we’d want to stay away from I’d appreciate it!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5499 days

#9 posted 12-04-2007 10:59 PM


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5863 days

#10 posted 12-04-2007 11:24 PM

Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5344 days

#11 posted 12-04-2007 11:27 PM

Wow, blast from the past. My sisters and I used to make these and sell them door to door when we were little (back in the Stone Age). We would plane down cedar planks that my Dad got for us and mix the shavings with old melted candles. We used muffin tins for molds, and included the wick. I still remember trying to say “Wanna buy some Cedar Scented Fire Starters” while shivering during a Minnesota winter. Thanks for the memories. I’ve got to call Sis tonight.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5709 days

#12 posted 12-05-2007 01:09 AM

Great Idea. I got to make some for my wood burner in my shop. That and a blowtorch and would really do the trick in a short time. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Keen1's profile


103 posts in 5308 days

#13 posted 12-05-2007 07:43 PM

Would these work on a grill? I’m curious about the wax. Would it just end up all over the bottom of my grill or does it burn up?

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 5293 days

#14 posted 12-05-2007 07:49 PM


When these first start to burn they do make a ‘melt pool’, however if the mix includes a lot of sawdust with enough wax to bind them then the pool will be fully consumed during burning – about 15-20 minutes in my experience.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 5456 days

#15 posted 12-07-2007 05:31 AM

probably would not be good to use any dust from MDf, Particle Board, or certain exotic woods that have natural oils that are toxic when inhailed. but nice idea i have never heard of that im gonna have to try that for when i go camping

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

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