diy fire starters

DIY Fire Starters: Charming Homemade Gifts & Printable Tags

The Outdoor Apothecary is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Winter is coming, which means the mornings and evenings are getting chilly. To help you stay warm in those colder months, I’m going to show you how to create DIY fire starters from beeswax, soy wax, paraffin, or leftover candles that will make campfires or fireplaces even more enjoyable.

Living in New England, it’s usually during the month of November that our fireplace starts to get some serious action. We love to use it to take the chill off while adding a layer of coziness to our home, and these DIY fire starters are sure to help!

I love spending time at home by a fire. I love the way it makes me feel—warm and cozy, safe and secure. The dancing flames are mesmerizing and calming to me, similar to how I feel when watching waves at the ocean. The sound of the wood burning as it changes form fills my ears with a rhythmic crackling.  I like to sip on a foraged herbal tea blend such as blue vervain tea while breathing in the aroma of burning woods. This kind of setting brings me closer to a place of peace and contentment in my mind.

diy fire starters

Here's How I make DIY Fire Starters

I save up old candle wax and use it to make these DIY fire starters to give as gifts for friends and family who have fireplaces, outdoor fire pits or who like to go camping.

The process for making them is simple. I lay a long wick on the bottom of the cupcake liner, add the “ugly” ingredients on the bottom such as dryer lint, shredded paper, sawdust (not from chemically treated wood), and wood shavings, then cover it with melted wax.  Let it harden a bit. 

Then on top of the “ugly” layer I add the “pretty” elements like pine cones, rosemary sprigs, star anise, and cinnamon sticks with more melted wax poured on.  

These burn great, with some of these continuing to burn for up to 45 minutes on the floor of my wood burning fireplace. These are also wonderful for outdoor fire pits and camping trips!

diy fire starters
diy fire starters

Possible Additives for DIY Fire Starters

  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Orange Peels
  • Whole cloves
  • Star Anise
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Cedar or evergreen leaves
  • Lavender sprigs or buds
  • Pine resin
  • Sage or other aromatic herbs
  • Pine cones
  • Wood shavings
  • Sawdust
  • Dryer lint
  • Shredded paper
  • Twigs
diy fire starters

Other Supplies

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1) Place cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.

Step 2) Add the wick

Cut a piece of wick about 3 inches long anf place it in the center of the cupcake liner. 

diy fire starters

Step 3) Fill the liners with herbs and other ingredients

Start placing the herbs and other additives around the wick in the center of the liner. Fill the liners 1/4 to 1/2 full. 

I place things like herbal powders, wood shavings, sawdust and dryer lint on the bottom where it will be completely enclosed by the wax and reserve the prettiest herbs for the topping.  This will be things like the star anise, pretty little pine cones, and cinnamon sticks.

diy fire starters

Step 4) Melt the wax

Begin heating the wax in a double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, you can fill a pot with a few inches of water and nestle a heat-safe bowl inside it. You want it to fit snugly without touching the water (if it dips into the water, it will get too hot). There you go! A double boiler at your service. I use a milk pan with a long handle that I hold just above the water. I can stir with the other hand as I do this. 
diy fire starters

Step 5) Begin pouring the wax

Begin pouring the melted wax over the herbs and additives in the cupcake liners until it just covers the material (about 2-3 tablespoons each). As you pour, be sure that the wick stays centered in the cupcake liner.  You can use a chopstick or other tool to help with this. 

diy fire starters

Step 6) Add the decorative herbs on the top

Add your more decorative ingredients on the top, then pouring on any additional wax until the liners are full to a 1/4 inch from the top, then allow to fully cool.

diy fire starters

Step 7) Snip your wicks

Snip your wicks so that they only stick out about a 1/2 inch above the wax. 

diy fire starters


NOTE: Only burn these in a wood burning fireplace or in an outdoor fire pit. Do not use in a gas burning fireplace or wood stove. Fire starters can cause flare-ups in a fire or heat it to temperatures that are unsafe for a wood stove. Fire starters can also damage the stove and create a fire hazard. 


Some types of fire starters to avoid using in a wood stove include: 

  • Paraffin-based waxes: Can leave a residue that goes up the chimney
  • Liquid fire starters: Can condense on pipes that aren’t yet heated, potentially lowering the ignition point of the fire
  • Lighter fluid: Its vapor can ignite with explosive force and spread rapidly

Some types of fire starters that are safer to use include: 

  • Beeswax
  • Wax made from soy
  • Wax from leftover candle

Packaging DIY Fire Starters for Gift Giving

In my journey of crafting and gifting, I always lean towards using recycled and repurposed materials. My absolute favorite method for packaging these DIY fire starters is by neatly arranging a few of them in a mason jar, ensuring they look aesthetically pleasing from the outside. To add that personal touch, I often use ribbon, raffia, or jute twine – really, whatever I have around – to tie around the jar’s lid. Then, I attach a charming gift tag (like the free ones I’ve mentioned below) to it. This simple yet thoughtful packaging turns these fire starters into delightful gifts, especially for friends who share our love for cozy fireplace moments.

diy fire starters
diy fire starters

Free Gift tag download

DIY Fire Starters printable tags


That’s it—now you know how easy it is to make your own DIY fire starters to warm you up this winter! As you can see, they’re really easy to make and require only a few materials. If you’re looking for a new winter project, give this one a try!

Interested in other DIY projects that are suitable for gift giving? Here are a few ideas that the receiver of these gifts will surely love:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

5 thoughts on “DIY Fire Starters: Charming Homemade Gifts & Printable Tags”

  1. Hi Barbi. I’ve been making these for many years and yours are lovely.
    Curious as to what the little red berries are as I couldn’t see where you mentioned them?

    1. They’re holly berries from the bush in my yard. FYI Pink peppercorns look pretty too if you don’t have access to holly berries.

    1. Great question! From what I have read, fire starters can cause flare-ups in a fire or heat it to temperatures that are unsafe for a wood stove. Fire starters can also damage the stove and create a fire hazard. This is especially true of paraffin-based waxes which can leave a residue that goes up the chimney.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *