02 Oct How To Make Your Own Natural Firelighters
As we’re nearing the time it is thought acceptable to light our fires (although you may have, like us, decided it’s already time), we thought we’d share this tip as to how you can make your own sustainable firelighters. You may normally opt for none at all, but these homemade goodies will get your fire going in no time… and save you blowing endlessly at a newspaper curling without it catching alight.
The main ingredient is waste candle wax. We burn candles at night, especially at this time of year, because it brings a beautiful cosy, soft light to our boat. A warm comforting glow. When wax from the dinner candles drips down our wine bottle holders, it eventually breaks off and we save all these waste shards. We also use pillar candles as they burn for longer – when we’re left with the base wax that will no longer burn – we pop these in our waxy Tupperware too. All saved up for firelighter making.
The second ingredient you need is the vessel for the wax. Up until this year, we used our discarded unbleached teabags which worked amazingly well. But I (Gabby) have finally converted to being a coffee drinker…the same year I turned 30, are my tastebuds just growing up?!…and this, coupled with falling in love with a Bird and Blend loose leaf tea…we no longer have tea bags lying around so much. So this year, we’ve moved on to pinecones.
Autumn is the perfect time to collect them; as they litter the ground, they aren’t yet too soggy nor disfigured. Head out after a dry patch, and collect a good trug full. If they’re damp…just leave them to dry out for a few days before setting out to make your own natural firelighters. If you’re opting for the teabag vessel, you also need to dry these out fully first. We also keep all of our used matches – and dunk these in the wax at the end too to create mini firefighters !
Set up a double boiler – put an inch or so of water into a small pan and bring it to a simmer. Pop on top a bowl, or a cleaned out tin can (and label removed).
Into your bowl, add the discarded shards and chunks of wax. Break up the chunks into smaller pieces so they melt quicker. Don’t worry about adding too much – it will reform and you can use it next time. Gently stir…feel free to just use a stick…until all is melted. The wax coats better when it is slightly cooler – so once its melted, take it off the heat and leave it stand for a few minutes.
Into your melted wax, dip a pinecone and rotate it around so it gets in all the nooks and crannies. Mind your fingers, if the wax is too hot use sticks as tongs.
Pop your waxed pinecone onto a sheet of newspaper. Repeat for as many pinecones you have collected, or until the wax runs out.
Store them in a basket or glass jar until ready to put into action.
Using Your Homemade Firelighter
Build your fire how you normally do – we do the swiss method where we pop two small logs on the bottom, and build a kindling cross-hatch tower on top. Next, pop one of your homemade firelighters centrally in your kindling or on top…and then light the pinecone. Voila – it will successfully light up and remain alight whilst the kindling takes the fire.
If you give this a go – tag us in your creations @thistiny.life