The next project in my Heat and Light series is Making Fire Starting Wafers out of reclaimed materials mostly available at home. These wafer candles don’t have the same burn time (but it’s plenty long enough to get a fire going) as the egg carton candles but they have a much smaller footprint. This project will again be familiar to most Boy Scouts and long term Preppers and Outdoorsmen. However, the purpose of this series is to get back to basics and review how to generate light and heat with common household projects. As has been mentioned in the comments on the other posts in this series, you can use old candles or other wax sources instead of the new bars of paraffin I use in the demonstration.
The beauty of these fire starters is not only their simplicity and their common household ingredients – but also that they are very waterproof and very wind-resistant once they have fully ignited. By fully ignited, I mean that the flame has gotten a good start around the top of the candles (as you can see in the picture above). You will have to protect the flame until it gets to that point but it only takes a minute or two. Once they are fully ignited wind and water will both have a difficult time putting it out. In fact, if you aren’t actually starting a fire (like in my demos) it’s a bit challenging to get the candles to completely go out. Fully burying them in snow has been working for me. As you can see in the following picture, they can take a mighty strong gust of wind and not go out (note that the flame in the following picture is almost completely horizontal from the wind).
To make these Fire Starting beauties, follow the following easy steps.
- Gather the following materials: Empty Toilet Paper Roll, Dryer Lint (or cotton balls or other burnable material), Wax from any source
- Melt the wax in a double boiler
- Fill the Toilet Paper roll half way with compressed Dryer Lint
- Pour the wax into one side of the Toilet Paper Roll allowing it to saturate the Dryer Lint as much as possible (this will take a few pours)
- Let it sit for a few minutes so the wax will start to set
- Turn over the Toilet Paper Roll and Repeat Steps 4 & 5
- Fill the rest of the Toilet Paper Roll with Dryer Lint and goto step 4 (You’ll only be able to do it from one side this time)
- Let it stand for several hours until the center is hard when you try to squeeze it (putting it somewhere cold helps)
- Cut the Toilet Paper Roll into about 3/4 inch wafers
Your Wafers are now ready to burn. They light faster if you snap them in half and light the exposed lint. You can also try to peel out some of the Toilet Paper Roll and light that. Protect the growing flame from the wind until it has achieved a full burn. Now you can add kindling directly on top of the Wafer.
This video shows the entire process from start to burning: