Posts tagged ‘how to make firelighters’

November 12, 2012

Come on baby, light your fire…

by Ciaran Burke

Now that the winter is here, hardly a day goes by when we don’t light the fire. It is almost the first thing I do when I get up in the morning. I push the red embers from the previous evening’s fire in the grate and add a layer of new peat briquettes. To get the fire started quickly I usually add a firelighter. I hate them, they are smelly and messy, and not very good for the environment. For the most part, they are made of paraffin wax. Some manufactures add small amounts of kersosene or other light fuel to the wax in order to make the product more flammable, yuck!

There are a couple of brands which are Eco-friendly versions, they smell much better and work well, but they are not easily found in supermarkets in the west of Ireland. So it was with great interest that I viewed the pictures on a Finnish blog that Hanna showed me. Home made firelighters that used old egg cartons and old candles, that when made looked like roses. Made completely from recycled materials, stuff that is otherwise waste. Too good to be true? Or maybe they actually work. Well, we decided to give it  a try…

Possibly the prettiest firelighters ever….

Rose Firelighters “Recipe”


  • Old egg cartons
  • Cardboard centres from toilet rolls (optional)
  • Old stearin candles
  • Water

Egg cartons transformed into firelighters, next dip them into the melted styrene


  1. In an old sauce pan heat up some water. Meanwhile cut an old egg carton into pieces but retain the individual compartments that hold the eggs. Separate the compartments and fill the shredded cardboard into each piece, placing them vertically. When finished they look like cardboard roses. (Note: not all egg carton compartments have a wall all around. In this case, take a centimeter of toilet roll cardboard and insert the egg carton into it to hold it.
  2. Take a strip from the egg carton about 10cm long and roll it into a spiral to make the centre of the rose. Then rip small pieces of the cardboard and insert them vertically between the spiral and the outer wall. Pack them so that they hold together and resemble a rose flower. We got four from a 6 pack.
  3. When the water is boiling add in pieces of old candle wax, candle wax is usually made from stearin and not actual wax. The stearin will start to melt and form a layer on top of the water.

    Dipping the cardboard “rose’ into the pot of melted styrene

  4. Use a tongs and carefully dip the cardboard rose into the liquid.  You dont want it to get too soggy and fall apart.
  5. Remove from the liquid and allow the excess to drip back into the pan.
  6. Set aside on a piece of paper and repeat the process for each cardboard rose.
  7. Dip each rose into the styrene liquid three or four times each to ensure a enough has soaked into the cardboard. Allow them to dry on some paper.
  8. When the styrene has dried onto the cardboard they are ready to use ( a few hours).

The prettiest firelighters I have ever seen…

So this morning as I wandered to the fireside I was greeted by the sight of four of the prettiest firelighter I have ever seen, looking much more like ornaments than pyrotechnical materials. So I prepared the fire with peat briquettes in the normal manner and inserted one of the firelighter roses into the middle. Lit it with a match and waited to see, flames took hold of the rose and ravenously licked the dark peat briquettes, smoke lazily rose toward the chimney, it was looking good. I went and put the kettle on, checked my various social media and then returned to the fire place. Yes, we had smoke and flame, we had fire. They work!

The fire is going well after being lit with our home made rose firelighters

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