Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dryer Lint and Old Candles=?

Most people might answer that lint and old candles are trash, and they're right, to a point. But they can have a second life, offering themselves up as a sacrificial victim to fire.

Well, that's dramatic, isn't it?

Here's what I mean, really: old candles and your dryer lint can be used to make firestarters. Our state parks in West Virginia have something similar available to people who rent cabins: a cake of wax with what looks like sawdust mixed in, waiting in a basket on the mantel for quick and easy fire starting. I found out how to make a slightly different version on Facebook, and it really does work--and uses two things I would otherwise toss in the trash.

The process is simple. First, plan ahead by saving dryer lint and your old candles, or find used candles at thrift stores and yard sales. I got a bundle of about 20 candles for $1.00 last summer. Most of them weren't nice enough for using in the house, but they were perfect for this project.

1. Melt the candles in a double boiler or other pan. Remove the wicks and toss--or you can use them as I did, cutting them into short lengths to use as lighting wicks for the firestarters.

2. Use cupcake liners in a muffin tin, or use cardboard egg boxes to hold your starters. Fill the liners or the egg box compartments with dryer lint, packing it down firmly. If you want to use the wicks, place the short pieces you cut into the lint with the tip sticking up, just like a candle.

3. Carefully pour the melted wax over the lint until the liner or egg box compartment is full.

4. Let the wax firm up, then remove the cupcake liners from the muffin tin or cut apart the egg box so that each compartment becomes a single firestarter.

5. Clean up your mess! Wax is tricky to clean off utensils and pans, but try putting them in the freezer until the wax is hard, then take out and let them sit for a bit. The wax will usually peel right off.

It's that simple. I  made 24 the other day in about 15 minutes, using the egg box method. Before Christmas I made them for gifts using the small tart-size cupcake liners and putting the cakes into old blue quart jars with zinc lids.

Now I'm on the hunt for more old candles. I have plenty of starters made for the fireplace, but it will soon be firepit season, you know!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

7 comments:

Malinda Tamlyn said...

I've seen this done a few times and I think this is a great idea! But I have often wondered does the wax get used up in the fireplace or do you get wax drips on the bottom of your fire box?

Granny Sue said...

We have not had that problem, Malinda. I think it's because the lint absorbs the wax enough that it burns before it drips.

Quinn said...

I suppose this works best with cotton lint? Which would be readily available here! Thanks for the idea, Sue :)

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

When I was little I could have eaten several of those before realising they were not cupcakes!

Granny Sue said...

John, Larry thought I was making candy. I think he'd have been surprised if he had bitten into one!

Angel said...

I learned to make these a long time ago in Girl Scouts. :) They work great and last long enough to get your fire going good.

Nance said...

I have put some candles back and started saving dryer lint but I didn't have the 'recipe' until now. Thanks! I and some granddaughters will give this a whirl.

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