Greetings, and welcome to Salvage & Stitch’s new and improved site! I hope you didn’t mind the downtime while I switched things over to a self-hosted platform. Hopefully, we’ll have no more glitches from here on out! Today we’re going to get things rolling again with these easy and beautiful DIY firestarters using snips from your Christmas tree, an empty egg carton, soy wax, and some other fragrant tidbits.
While the site was in internet-limbo, I had lots of time to plan some exciting content for the months ahead that I’m super excited to share. But first, we must continue our discussion on Christmas Tree recycling. If you’re like most Americans, your tree is probably still up (and decorated, I won’t tell). Sure, you could chuck it to the curb, but there are so many wonderful DIY projects you can make from your tree after the holidays.
Last week I showed you all how easy it was to make delicious pine sachets
for your drawers using pine needles and muslin tea bags. After that post went up I did a lot of research on other ways to recycle Christmas trees. If you follow me on Instagram
you probably noticed a post I made asking people tell some creative ways to reuse the tree branches. I received so many thoughtful and creative replies. One thing that has kept me from trying more ideas out is that even though I know my tree was grown, “sustainably” I have no idea if it was sprayed with pesticides during it’s growing process. This means that I’ve been wary to make things like pine syrup, pine oil, pine tea or pine cleaner.
From my research, I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one with this question, people have been trying to find creative ways to reuse Christmas Trees for years. Through the internet, I was able to dig up some interesting uses for pine, including making cloth from it, using it as medicine, and basket weaving. People even use it to make “hunting scent” which I discovered on page 10 of my Google search.
Because I don’t know if my tree is pesticide free, I ultimately opted to compost half of what I had left. I saved a few branches for one last recycling project that will be posted next week. To compost it, I completely deconstructed it from top to bottom after it dried out. It made excellent brown waste for the compost, and I felt good about where it was going. I gave it a good rinse first, just in case. Luckily I saved just enough snippets to make the DIY firestarters and photograph this blog post.
I made fire starters out of dryer lint and paraffin wax in Girl Scouts as a kid, possibly in toilet paper tubes. These were definitely not the most eco-friendly firestarters. Dryer lint has all kinds of plastic microfibers that make great kindling, but I just don’t feel great about lighting them on fire. And don’t even get me started on paraffin wax. But people light way worse stuff on fire. A common method to start a campfire involves dipping cotton balls in alcohol. Or putting petroleum jelly on cardboard. I think I’ll stick to the safety of these all-natural firestarters, thank you! The best thing about making DIY firestarters is that you can customize the ingredients all you want.
I originally planned to make these DIY firestarters as dipped pieces, but the amount of labor involved seemed arduous and messy for a project that is literally going to be lit on fire and burned up. Then, I thought about making them in muffin tins like everyone and her sister, but that involved using muffin liners. If I’m being completely honest, it didn’t seem like the most sustainable approach for a blog dedicated to environmentally conscious lifestyles. I’d seen tons of people on Pinterest make lint fire starters in egg cartons, and I wondered if there was a way to glamorize that concept. It turns out, there was! And it’s so easy.
My favorite thing about these DIY firestarters, aside from the fact that I felt pretty guilt-free about making them, is that they’ll make excellent gifts for next year’s holiday season! After this past holiday season was just Way Too Much, I’m already planning ahead. They also smell like little slices of heaven. Even if you don’t own a fireplace, they’re perfect for campfires. If we’re close, personal friends, expect to end up a fire starter next year, on me.
If you don’t have sage or anise available to you, it’s completely fine to use any dried, whole herb instead, or dried citrus slices, etc. As long as it’s dry, the possibilities are endless. You want to stay away from using fresh herbs, as they’ll shrink when they do dry out. The best thing about making DIY firestarters is that you can customize the ingredients all you want. Use what you have on hand!
How To Make DIY Firestarters
1 Cardboard Egg Carton
2 or 3 small dried branches from your Christmas Tree
Double boiler: 2 pots placed inside each other, the first containing water, the second for crafting only!
1. Cut the lid off your egg carton and place the egg cup portion inside the lid.
2. Cut your wicks down to 3 or 4-inch pieces, and place into the egg cups, 1 wick per cup. It helps to slightly bend them.
3. To make the kindling, you’ll need to place dry material in the bottom of the egg cup. If you still have the branches without pine needles from making your sachets, you can cut them into small pieces to use as the kindling. If you don’t have those branches, cut or pull pine needles away from the branch and fill the bottom of your egg cups.
4. Now you’re ready to heat up your wax. To make a double boiler, place a pot with about two inches of water on the stove, and put another pot inside of it. The second pot should only be used for crafting! Put your wax in the second pot and turn on your stove at the medium setting. Your wax will start melting after only a couple minutes, make sure you stir it as you go.
5. When the wax has completely melted, turn off the heat, and pour the wax into the egg cups, filling them. You’ll notice the wax will penetrate the cardboard, this is normal. Save the last little bit of wax, it won’t melt for awhile so don’t worry!
6. Start arranging your pine snippets, cinnamon sticks (I broke mine in half), and anise on top. I stuffed mine pretty full. You want to work fast because you don’t want your wax to harden before you’re done. When you’ve arranged everything nicely, pour the remaining wax around the dried material.
7. Let the wax harden. If you want it to go faster, you can pop it into the fridge. When the wax has hardened carefully break apart the egg cups and you’ll have beautiful little fire starters.
Now you know how to make these adorable, recycled, pine needle firestarters! Make sure you light them carefully to avoid injuries, and never let children handle them without adult supervision. Now, the most important question: who still has their Christmas tree up?