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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What do ramekins and cupcake pan liners have to do with starting a fire? Here's a DIY recipe for fire starters.

I'm a typical mom, wife, and fellow crafter.  I love my house to smell wonderful and freshly mopped, however, that doesn't always happen.  So what do I do?  I fake it!  Yes, that clean breeze isn't coming from across the floor; it is coming from my wax warmer. 

I change them out a lot.  Usually a few times a week, which leads to a lot of wax being thrown away.  This made me feel wasteful.  So, the first thing I did to attempt to reuse this wax was to grab a jar and make an emergency candle.  

First, I took some candle wick from a roll and cut it the height of my jar.  Then I took some regular sewing thread and tied it to the top of the wick to hold it up and keep it in the center of the jar.  I taped the thread ends to the outside of the jar using clear tape.

The easy part is to just pour the used, melted wax into the jar instead of the trash.  Be careful as the wax is warm, even though Scentsy warmers never seem to get the wax hot enough to burn.  The bottom of the dish is really hot though.  Just don't touch it!  

Pouring the wax into the jar each time I change my warmer scent out causes the wax to layer in the jar.  You can tell I get stuck on certain scents for a while and other times I change the scents out frequently.  

When the jar is as full as you want it, you just clip the thread and trim the wick to about 1/4" from the top of the wax and you have an emergency candle.  

However, you only need so many emergency candles, so now what?
Layered emergency candle

You make fire starters!  Tada!

Look close and you can see leaves, little twigs, chips of charcoal, and pine cones.

We have a wood insert for our fireplace.  It puts out some heat, if you can get the logs to light. :)  That seems to be the hard part.  I have gathered kindling until I am tired of it.  Do you know when you need it the most?  When the fire goes out at 2 o'clock in the morning and it is 30 degrees out.  I had to find a better way (besides buying fire starters).

Here's my disclaimer: I am not a chimney professional and I do not know if the wax in the fireplace will "gunk" your chimney up.  All I know is, I started using these last year and we have not had any problems.  We do have our chimney cleaned regularly.

Grab a ramekin and put a PAPER (not foil) cupcake pan liner in it.  Then, just take a quick trip outside and gather a few supplies.  I use little twigs, crispy leaves, a few pieces of charcoal (my son's puppy got into our charcoal for the grill and chewed a brick, so I used little pieces of it), pine cones that the squirrels have chewed, little pieces of bark, etc.  Anything that will burn will do.  I've even used shredded paper and pine straw.  I'm sure you can get creative and use dried flowers on the top if you want to display them or give them as a gift.

Fill up the liner that is in the ramekin and you'll get something that looks like the picture below, depending on what materials you use.  I use normal size cupcake liners.  The pine cone end that I have in it is tiny and makes my dish look big.  I really like the squirrel chewed ones because they light easily.

This is what it looks like before the liner is full of wax.

Once you fill up your liner, you just pour the warm, melted wax over the contents, being careful not to cause the wax to overflow to the outside of the paper liner.  Depending on how many cubes of wax you use in your warmer at the time and how often you change it will determine how long it takes for you to finish your fire starter.

I keep filling it up until the wax gets to the top of the paper liner.

When you get the paper liner full of wax, just pop it out of the ramekin and store it until you get ready to use it.  I have all mine in a basket next to our firewood holder so they are handy.

To use it, you just stack your wood like you would if you were to start a fire using kindling, but use your wax cake instead of the kindling.  Then, just light it, paper and all!  I usually just strike a match and set the lit match on top of the wax cake.  All the pieces sticking up catch fire and it burns for about 15 minutes or longer, depending on the wax and other stuff you have added.

As the wax melts and all the little goodies you put in there burn, some of the wax will melt out and run onto the wood and even into the bottom of the fireplace (note this if your fireplace is open because you don't want it to run on the floor).  It seems to get caught in ashes in my fireplace and usually doesn't go far.  When I scoop the ashes out, I never see any of the wax, so I just assume it burns up.  The wax that runs onto the wood helps the wood catch on fire too. 

If you are worried about putting this in your fireplace inside your home, you can always use them for camp fires outside.

Let me know what you think and your experiences or ideas.  I love to hear from you!

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