You can add color and sparkle to your fire with festive pine cone fire starters. The pine cones look like miniature Christmas trees and you can use them to get a campfire or wood fireplace going. This is an easy, inexpensive, environmentally-friendly craft project. The pine cone firestarters can be a gift for anyone with a fireplace.
This is a project that can be done by children of age 8 and up, but it requires adult supervision and assistance with melting the wax. The project will take two to three days as the pine cones must soak for 24 hours and then dry before they are dipped in wax and finished.
Materials and Equipment Needed
- Pine cones
- 1 pound Epsom salt
- Ice chest or bucket
- Coffee can
- Medium saucepan
- Paraffin wax (Gulf wax for canning)
- Fragrance oil
- Cooking spray
- Muffin Pans
- Candle Wicks
Instructions for Pine Cone Fire Starters
- Add 1 pound of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water. Select a bucket or ice chest to use that is large enough to cover the pine cones with this solution.
- Soak the pine cones in the Epsom salt solution for 24 hours.
- After soaking, lay the pine cones out on a towel and let them dry completely.
- Select a coffee can and saucepan of a size where the coffee can will fit on top of the saucepan.
- Add 1 to 2 cups of water to the saucepan, enough to fill about a quarter of the saucepan.
- Heat the water to boiling.
- Place the paraffin wax in the coffee can.
- Wearing oven mitts or using potholders, set the coffee can over the pan of boiling water. This step requires care to prevent scalds from the steam or water or burning on the hot can. It may be more appropriate for an adult to do this step.
- Add crayons of the desired color to the can to melt with the wax. Add a little fragrance oil to the wax mixture, if desired. Once the wax and crayons are completely melted, remove the coffee can and saucepan from the heat.
- Use tongs to dip pine cones in the wax mixture. Dip pine cones several times to coat them thoroughly with wax. Be careful not to coat them too thick.
- If desired, add glitter to pine cones before wax completely dries, or wrap yarn around them.
- Coat your muffin pan with cooking spray. Insert a candle wick in each muffin pan cup. Pour leftover wax into the muffin pan cups, about one-third full.
- Place pine cones in muffin pan cups to create a bottom for the pine cone to stand up.
- Place the entire pan of pine cones in the refrigerator to harden. Or, if the weather is cold, place them outside to harden.
- When the wax has completely cooled, remove the pine cones from the pan and your pine cone fire starters are ready to use and give as gifts.
Tips for Pine Cone Fire Starters
To give as a gift, decorate a gift basket with basket fill or tissue paper and nestle the pine cone fire starters in the basket. You can embellish the basket with flowers, berries, and ribbon.
This is a good project to reuse or recycle items. Collect your own pine cones from your yard or while walking or exploring local parks. It's a good use of broken or unwanted crayons. Save your old coffee cans to use for melting the wax, then recycle them.
For easier clean-up, lay down newspaper or packing paper on all of the work surfaces. For safety, be very careful when melting or handling the wax.