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7 DIY Hot Tips for Kindling a Fireplace or Campfire

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 1 Month Realty 49855-090

7 DIY Hot Tips for Kindling a Fireplace or Campfire

Burning Fireplace

Being able to start a fire indoors (or outdoors) is often part of the experience and, in emergency situations, can be a vital component of survival.

Here are a variety of ways to kindle your fire at home or use on-the-fly when a situation arises where you need a fire.  Some of the best fire starters (kindling) are made from simple items that you can find at home or in nature, so you do not have to buy fire starters.

1.  Cotton balls take a spark easily and burn well, but don't burn for long. Add some petroleum jelly and it will burn hotter and longer, allowing time to add whatever tinder bundle and kindling you have waiting.

2.  Dryer Lint usually contains a lot of cotton, is light and plentiful, and takes a spark well. You can also dip this in petroleum jelly or another type of fuel to make the flame last longer or stuff it into a used-up toilet paper roll. Fluff up one end to catch a spark or flame, cover in kindling and light for instant fire.

3.  Dryer Lint and Egg Cartons.  The classic homemade fire starter is a wad of dryer lint placed in each empty storage department of a cardboard egg carton, with melted wax, or better yet, melted paraffin wax poured over the top. It's an easy project and brings back days of making crafts in  public school.

4.  Steel Wool burns hot, fast, and makes a great ember to add to a tinder bundle. Light with any sort of flame, ferro rod, or flint and steel.  You can even light it with a dead lighter: repeatedly scrape the lighting end against a flat rock with steel wood fibers in between.

5.  Hand Sanitizer containing alcohol burns well, but be very careful!  The flame can be hard to see.  It doesn't burn hot and once the alcohol is burned off, it simply makes things wet. Still, it can be used in a pinch to produce a flame to light tinder with.

6.  Wood Shavings - this may sound obvious, but if you have a knife and dry wood, you can make fine shavings that catch fire easily with a flame or, with luck, a ferro rod, and burn hot and long.  Even pencil shavings works

7.  Snacks - be sure to check your cupboard. There are certain snacks that make for good fire starters.  Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, Hickory Sticks, think potato chips, rice cakes and veggie straws.  But popcorn is probably one of the best fire-starting foods. 

Lighter Side DIY Fire Tips

These are just some of the many household and DIY items you can use to start a roaring fire, whether in the backcountry or in your backyard, or wood-burning stove.

Remember to always follow safe fire practices. Enjoy these fine tips and feel free to share others that you have found to be valuable!


Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing great tips to use as fire starters, I could have never imagined that.

Many household and DIY items you can use to start a roaring fire, whether in the backcountry or in your backyard, or wood-burning stove. Remember to always follow safe fire practices. Enjoy these fine tips and feel free to share others that you have found to be valuable!

Nov 18, 2023 10:17 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Appreciate you taking the time to read my blog post today Sham Reddy CRS ... Hope you stay cozy warm this fall and winter!  Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 18, 2023 10:58 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Diana Dahlberg these are very valuable list of DIY tips for kindling a fire place or camping.

Nov 18, 2023 10:59 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Thank you John Pusa ... you probably don't have to light many fireplaces in California, however, there is always the campfire right?  We are leaning more things every day since installing our woodburning stove in March of 2023.

Nov 18, 2023 11:05 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

That is very clever and very easy to store as well., especially when going on a camping trip.

Nov 18, 2023 12:47 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Absolutely Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754 ... Glad you gained some ideas from this blog.  We are learning as we go along with our newly installed woodburner ... we have not had to turn on the heat to keep the house warm so far this season.  Will be nice to see what we save compared to year's past.

Nov 18, 2023 01:53 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Diana- I don't remember any of this from my Girl Scout days so I'm glad you shared this. Our fireplace operates on gas but it's good to know this just in case!!!! You never know. 

Nov 18, 2023 05:08 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Thanks for your kind comments as always Kathy Streib ... We are learning so much more about cutting down trees, chopping the wood, and maintenance of a woodburning stove (which we installed pre-spring of 2023.  We are having fun!

Nov 18, 2023 08:18 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Nov 18, 2023 06:52 PM
Diana Dahlberg

What a pleasant surprise @Kathy Streib 

Thank you for featuring my post!  Very cool!

Nov 18, 2023 08:19 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Loved your post, now just to be clear we do not use our fireplace and it is now strictly decorative:)Endre

Nov 18, 2023 10:10 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Endre Barath, Jr. Do you put candles in your decorative fireplace for ambiance?  Just curious.  

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 19, 2023 11:38 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Diana Dahlberg - WOW! This was a very educational post! Those are great tips. I recently had my fireplace inspected by a Chimney Sweep and my local Fire Department. The Chimney Sweep guy had me excited about using my wood fire place. But the Fire Department warned me not to because it is really just decoratve and not intended to be used to make an indoor fire. I did not know that!

I really wish I had the type of fireplace you illustrated in your photograph. I also wish I knew about how much easier it is to start a camp fire. I always did it the hard way!  The examples you provided would have been a lot quicker than shivering in the cold or damp nights trying to get a fire in the great outdoors started!

Thank you, so much!!!

Nov 19, 2023 03:06 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP Why would your fireplace be only used as a decorative item?  And why would the Fire Dept and the Chimney Sweep differ in opinions?  Confusing, to say the least.

The woodburning stove in the picture is the one we put in last March/April (2023) --  it keeps us cozy warm and it's romantic!

Nov 19, 2023 11:46 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP

Diana Dahlberg - It is the way my house and chimney were built. It is a fire hazard. My fireplace looks nothing like you could imagine.

Nov 20, 2023 05:21 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are great ideas! I wouldn't thought of the toilet paper roll with lint. I have to share this idea with hubby.

Nov 19, 2023 05:09 AM
Diana Dahlberg

There are so many other ideas I have seen on-line and have not tried, but thought since I've been learning about this I would share it.  Glad you got value from these tips Kat Palmiotti 

Nov 19, 2023 11:47 AM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Hi Diana Dahlberg! 🔥 Your blog post "7 DIY Hot Tips for Kindling a Fireplace or Campfire" is absolutely enlightening! It's amazing how everyday items like dryer lint and snacks can turn into crucial fire-starting materials. Your creativity and practical knowledge shine through, making this a must-read for anyone looking to master the art of fire-making. Keep igniting our spirits with your insightful posts! #StayMotivated #DIYFireMagic ✨🌟

Nov 19, 2023 05:23 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Wow!  Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC you have an exceptional talent for expression!  You blessed me!  And I absolutely loved your hashtag #DIYFireMagic .... now why didn't I think of that?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 19, 2023 11:51 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Loved all these tips, Diana... even if I never do light a fire. I have a gas log fireplace in my home that is rarely used. In fact, I've never had a wood burning fireplace.

Nov 19, 2023 05:42 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Diana Dahlberg it's been so warm here that I've had the AC on and off through yesterday!

Nov 19, 2023 12:04 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Well, although you don't have a natural wood burning fireplace or stove, you are getting the warmth and ambience of your gas-ignited fireplace! We had one at the house we lived in before this one, and we loved sitting in our living room and just relaxing, reading a book or enjoying a romantic evening with my hubby.

Happy Thanksgiving Nina Hollander, Broker  

Nov 19, 2023 11:54 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Diana Dahlberg hi Diana... putting our fireplace on makes everything way too hot. I save it for when power might go out in winter. I love the ambience when it's lit, but hate the heat. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Nov 19, 2023 11:55 AM
Diana Dahlberg

Nina Hollander, Broker - actually that was the reason we bought and installed the wood burning stove -- in case of power outages!  And then the more we researched, we realized it could actually save us money by not having to pay for the gas to heat our home since we have been chopping down trees for the past few years and have an abundance of firewood.  So we are good to go!  Have not even turned on the heat yet and the weather has been cool since mid-October in our area.

Nov 19, 2023 11:59 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Interesting tips. My husband likes to use actual wood kindling. As a former chimney sweep, he burns a very "hot" fire. We love our wood burning stove that does help to heat our 700 sq.ft. great room along with our kitchen and hallway bath.

Nov 19, 2023 06:00 AM
Diana Dahlberg

My husband is not a Chimney Sweep however he loves a "hot" fire as seen in the picture ... LOL 

Thank you for sharing Leanne Smith - it's good to know great minds think alike!

Nov 19, 2023 11:55 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Your blog post takes me back to my years as a Boy Scout. I learned a lot about starting fires in the rain and cold 🙂

Nov 19, 2023 01:29 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Well, when you are dealing with the more difficult atmospheric issues, these tips come in real handy!  Thanks for sharing your Boy Scout days Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 19, 2023 02:20 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Diana,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post as I missed it. really useful tips. Especially the toilet paper roll along with the dryer lint is genius!! 

Nov 19, 2023 04:56 PM
Diana Dahlberg

So glad you were able to read the blog post because of @Kathy Streib!  Such a blessing to see the multiplication results of getting featured and shared amongst us here in the Rain.  I appreciate that you found the tips useful Dorie Dillard Austin TX 

Nov 19, 2023 08:15 PM