So I know it’s not a freezer cooking post like I usually do; but this week I did something that still saves tons of time and money while fulfilling one of our families needs. For years now I have been making these and every single time I talk about it people are amazed what a simple idea they are.
Our wood stove is our main source of heat in the winter and saves us hundreds of dollars every year since my husband cuts all of our wood (and often from trees on our own property) But there are those nights where we get home late, the house is freezing, there are only 2 pieces of kindling cut, and I really just want to turn on the heater and not deal with it. Except being a total and complete cheapskate all I can think about is how much higher my utility bill is going to be from running the heater all night long. (and it kicking on earlier the next day since the heat doesn’t stay in the house like it does with our fireplace.)
Enter the Fire Starter. With one of these little babies I can start a great fire with 2 pieces of kindling and a piece or two of cedar or pine in 1.7 minutes. Do I sound like an infomercial yet? On second thought I might now show you how to make these and I’ll just start selling them to all of you other overworked, wood stove burners that are loving this idea right now. Just kidding. I won’t sell them but I have been know to give them as a holiday gift for families that I know burn wood! More on that later.
So Here you go:
Find old candles around your house, half burnt, all dinged up, in your cupboard, you know the one where you put all your other crap you forgot you own but for some reason thought you needed to keep instead of just throwing away. Or buy some at the dollar store or garage sales. Heck go look in your neighbors cupboard of crap they forgot they owned and ask them if you can have some.
I have one old pan that I use for all kinds of (I would never use my real pots or pans for) projects. Melt down your old candles on medium to medium low heat until they are totally liquid wax. (Somehow amazingly enough they always seem like they are not going to produce near as much liquid wax as they do. Know this going in and don’t find a pot or pan that seems to just fit your candle. You will have what my husband refers to as a “momma was cooking” experience. Which generally encompasses a complete and total mess spread from one end of the kitchen to the other. Seriously I have no idea how I do that but I do.
Or just do as your wax is melting. Fill a cupcake pan (another of my old cheap for project only pans) with paper cupcake liners.
These would be super cute if you are using them as a gift. (but just so you know I would earn approx 19 cents if you purchased these through this post. I don’t want to mislead you or anything.) But any old cupcake liner will work.
Then fill with pine pet bedding. I think last time I purchased it was three years ago (because a bag lasts me through three years of fire starters) and it costs around $2.84 (don’t ask me why I remember that, my mind is a steal trap of completely useless information) Anyway, it may cost $3 now!
Pour melted wax over top of pine shavings.
Do this step slowly so you can make sure that you get wax all over the “cup”. It will bubble for a sec (possibly), let it settle and then pour a bit more over it. Do not try to fill the cupcake completely full of wax, just think of wetting the entire “cupcake”
Let Set for a few minutes. I usually let them set for 30 minutes or so and leave my wax on low so it stays liquid but doesn’t smoke. I pull all of the cupcakes out of the pan and set on a piece of cardboard or somewhere to finish hardening and start a new dozen. Works great and is super easy!
With these candles I made 60 fire starters and have some wax left over to do another batch. Because this is the only thing that I use this old pan for I just leave it in the pan and let it cool and add more wax to it the next time.
But if you are doing a frugal Christmas these make a great gift for anyone who you know uses a fireplace. Put in a basket with a loaf of homemade banana bread and some tea or coffee makes a very inexpensive present. Or just tie up for a Housewarming gift in a dishtowel with some decorative matches. Bot cute ideas and wallet friendly. And after using them they will be asking you where they can get more!
Now is your turn what is your favorite homemade essential. Meet us in the comments with your ideas!