First up, as with any fire, you need firelighters and I've had a go at making my own (see pic) - sorry if it looks like someone's had a bad accident in an egg box, but all will become clear!
For these firelighters you need 3 ingredients: empty egg box, scrap wax and fluff from a tumble drier filter (my son offered to donate his belly button fluff, but I think not!).
I realise the use of a tumble drier is not seen as free or even cheap - I don't use my tumble drier except in extreme circumstances so I'm going to run out of fluff, but I have a plan for a substitute* - more of that later. You may want to ask friends and family for fluff donations - from their tumble driers of course!
My wax here is the covering off Baby Bel cheeses (don't use the opening tape - it won't melt) hence the red colour, but I'm also collecting bits of old candle wax from burnt out candles (ask friends and family for these too). As I collect wax, I just pop it in to an empty baked bean can until it's full. Then I make my firelighters as follows:
- Take an egg box and fill each section with fluff, press down firmly.
- Tear off the lid of the egg box and stand your fluff-filled section in it on a heat proof surface.
- Heat the wax in its can in a saucepan of water until it has melted - take care when you lift the can out, using a cloth or glove.
- Pour just enough wax on each section of your egg box to cover the fluff then allow to cool completely. Any spare wax can be left in your can for next time.
- Cut up your firelighters into sections leaving the points you will get from each upstanding piece between the sections - these can be lit when on the fire.
* I realise I will eventually need a substitute material as fluff will eventually be in short supply in my frugal household, so I'm going fir cone hunting near where I live. I usually pick these fir cones up for Christmas decorations, but my plan is to pick up those cones that may have been damaged or squashed, dry them well either around the fire or out in my porch and put those (or pieces of them), in the egg box sections instead of fluff.