10.27.2010

How to make: Pine Cone Fire Starters

Last Christmas I saw a variation of these at one of those pricey but fun to browse stores with my mom.  I loved them, so much that I pulled out my trusty iPhone and snapped a few photos from every angle thinking the entire time "I can totally make these". So here we are a year later doing just that (my procrastination can only deter me so long).

Let's get started, You'll need: 
  • 24 or so Pine Cones 
  • 2lbs Wax (I used soy)
  • Candle twine 
  • A Scent (Optional)
  • A cupcake pan
  • Baking cup liners - A MUST

(Ignore the crisco in the photo I tried greasing instead of the liners the first round and it was a FAIL)


First, I cut 24 - 8 inch strips of my candle twine. Then I wrapped it around the bottom of each pinecone, like so (see image below). Leaving about 2 inches pulled towards the top for "lighting purposes".


Then in a mason jar (or really any vessel you don't mind being covered in wax) heat up your wax.  It took me a 3 'jar and wax' melts to have enough wax for all of my pinecones. I'm sure I could have used a larger container but my wine kept me occupied. Ahem. 


Once the wax is melted, pour yourself another glass of wine and add a scent if you'd like smelly pinecones (I used the recomended dose on the bottle). I made sure it was mixed then I poured the wax into the cupcake liners about half way full placing one pine cone in each slot immediately after.


Now here's the hard part, you have to walk way. 

I know it's hard but trust me, it's better for everyone. Leave them alone for about two hours before poking to prevent the wax from getting all jacked up. After they are completely cooled you can peel them out of their liners, or just bag them up as is. 


With the batch of 24 I had enough to wrap up 5 bags full for gifts and have a dozen or so for Mr. A and I to use here at home. 


And here's Mr. A's proof that they work (ie: light).


Psst: Check out our Wine Cork Fire-Starters as well. 

106 comments:

  1. The whole post I thought to myself "I hope she posts pictures of it lit!"

    Haha! Love this idea.

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  2. Those look awesome! What a great gift idea. :)

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  3. you are a genius -- enough said!

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  4. Absolutely LOVELY!!! I must steal this idea for some extra Xmas time goodies. Nice work!

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  5. Great project!! What a cool idea!

    xox
    Jen

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  6. What an awesome idea! Thanks!

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  7. This is so cool! I love this as a gift, too.

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  8. So practical, yet so fun! I love it, course I love anything with pine cones, but I have been told that I have a problem ;)
    I am your newest follower, feel free to come over and visit me sometime
    Alpinepoppy-Sarah.blogspot.com

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  9. love it! totally going to try. there are pine cones in the canyon where i walk every morning!

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  10. Great idea! I actually made firestarters this weekend, but used a whole different method.
    suzy

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    Replies
    1. and what method did you use...please share?

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    2. what method did you use ? Please share

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    3. The method I use is to stuff dryer lint in an old toilet paper roll tube. Pour melted wax on the dryer lint or stuff a tea light candle (minus the foil holder) into the tp roll. The tea light is a perfect fit and provides an easy wick. Set the tp roll/lint/candle upright and the melted wax will drip down into the lint keeping your fire stick burning longer. To make this pretty, use recycled bits of gift wrap, roll it up around the TP roll and twist at the ends. Looks like a large piece of candy when decorated.

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    4. I use a different method as well. I take recycle an empty toilet paper roll, stuff it with dryer lint, and pour candle wax over the lint. You can then recycle your leftover gift wrap by rolling the stuffed tp roll with the gift wrap and then twisting the wrap at the end. Light the paper and your fire stick will burn for a while. You can also substitute a tea candle (minus the tiny tin cup) for the melted wax. The tea light is a perfect fit for most tp rolls.

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  11. These are amazing. I can't wait to try. They'll be great gifts too. My family is already thanking you, I'm sure!

    -dani

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  12. What a great idea! So cozy for the coming cold months. I wish I had some pine trees around, but instead I think I'll buy some pine cones from www.curiouscountrycreations.com and make up a bunch of these for Christmas :)

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  13. What a perfect Christmas gift! I needed a big sack of these this summer when we went camping!!!

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  14. I think it's brilliant (hmmm, is that pun? Brilliant? Fire?) and if I can think of anyone with a fireplace, this would be the perfect 'hostess' gift. And it's pretty to look at, too!

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  15. That is fantastic! It would make a great addition to my handcrafted gift baskets we give to friends and family!!

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  16. Absolutely marvelous! Just one question ~ where do you get the "scent" (and what kind of scent is it, i.e., liquid, spray? I'm new at this!)

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  17. OMGoodness, I'm loving this post! I may use it with our classroom for gifties for Christmas!
    Great idea, and wonderful pics too! Thanks for sharing! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

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  18. super idea! so thrifty. Too bad my fireplace is a non-working fp.

    thanks for sharing!
    gail

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  19. LOVE this!! Great idea! I am gonna have to try it! Add gather pine cones to list of things I can delegate to my kids! :)
    Thank you!!!
    I'm your newest follower...lucky me! :)

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  20. What a great and simple idea! I'm going to make some right away!

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  21. Okay, with all the pinecones laying around our yard, this would make some great gifts. Thanks of the idea!

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  22. Excellent idea! Nearly free, and a pretty, practical gift. Thanks for sharing! I'm a new follower from "Life as Lor" :)

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  23. I am def going to make some of these! There would be a total lifesaver when me and the hubs go camping! Oh, I'm so happy I found this.
    Amie @ http://kittycatsandairplanes.blogspot.com

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  24. Um, I am speechless. That's an ingenious idea!

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  25. The PERFECT gift for my dad as he THINKS he is the ONLY one at his house that can build a fire. He'll LOVE it!

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  26. That's such a cool idea! I love that you figured out how to make one on your own too.

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  27. Wow, what a great idea! Makes me wish I had a fireplace :)

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  28. This is such a brilliant idea!! They would make such a great gift!

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  29. I just wanted to let you know that I featured your project! :) http://www.polishthestars.com/2010/12/christmas-party-features.html

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  30. Love this! I think I will need to make some!

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  31. Fabulous! We are big on using our fireplace and just ordered half a cord of wood. I'm going to make these for US.
    :)

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  32. I love this idea - what a great gift! Thanks for sharing

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  33. I love these! I think I will definitely have to try them out for my Mother In Law. She will think they are awesome! Thanks for this tutorial!

    Visiting from TT&J!

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  34. I love this!! Being an artistic, vegan, nerdy girl, I have a hard time finding things for my computer/gadget-geek, hunting, meat-loving uncle! haha This is perfect!

    Does the wax make a mess? Do you have any tips for preventing the wax from getting all in the fire place?

    Thank you for a great tutorial!

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    Replies
    1. Katherine - So far I have used at least a dozen or so of these. I haven't noticed any left over wax residue at all in our fire place. I am guessing that it falls on the logs and gets burned up.

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  35. This is great idea! I can't wait til it's cool again so I can try this!

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  36. Anonymous10/15/2011

    um..only red wine??..Cab franc??

    Im gunna try this ..what happens to the wax in the fire place?..are they OK to burn in a wood insert and wood stove...Cheers..Robin

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  37. Anonymous10/30/2011

    I'm am going to have to try this out! They will make excellent hostess gifts :).

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  38. Anonymous11/06/2011

    I saw somewhere online a list of ingredients, like salt, borax etc, that make colors when aflame. Wish I could remember the site but there's always Google.

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    1. Anonymous1/13/2013

      Just seen on pinterst. Thought I would share. Enjoy!
      ■Yellow – Table Salt
      ■Yellow-Green – Borax
      ■White – Epsom Salts
      ■Green – Boric Acid
      ■Red – Strontium Chloride (found with aquarium supplies in pet stores)

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  39. Anonymous11/07/2011

    a scent? where do I find this?

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    1. You can find 'scents' at places like Hobby Lobby or Michaels in the candle making section!

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  40. I love this idea, and it's so simple and approachable. You're right, it makes a really sweet gift! Does the wax all burn up, or does it melt to the bottom of the fireplace?

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  41. Do you know what species of pine your cones came from?

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  42. Anonymous11/28/2011

    what happens to the wax when it's all burned up. does it maake a mess?

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    Replies
    1. Thats what I was wondering!

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    2. Thats what I was wondering... I would try it at camping first before my fireplace.

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  43. Made a bunch of these with my son and grand-kids to give as Christmas gifts. Don't have a fireplace myself, but they make me wish I did. One of our recipients will be using these in an outdoor fire pit which should work just as well. We used old crayons for color and candle scent cubes to make them smell pretty. Awesome instructions in this post. Thanks.

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  44. I have millions of pinecones in my front yard...I know what I am making tonight!

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  45. Anonymous1/06/2012

    Nice idea, but impossible where I live without buying the cones. I have only have enormous pine cones and they'd NEVER fit into a cupcake pan. I wonder if I could drizzle it on them or something. Any ideas? jjcuadra@embarqmail.com

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    1. Anonymous12/06/2012

      I've drizzled wax from candles over wood to help the wood burn in my woodstove and never noticed any melted wax residue.

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    2. Yes, I tried drizzle and dipping the whole pinecone in red colored wax. It works great with Truckee, Ca pine cones. There are some called Sugar Pine Cones that are very big and I would love to try them. The wick is not necessary. I melted my wax in an old metal bowl on an old coal and wood cook stove. When the wax is just warm enough to be liquid it only took one dipping of wax. Candle wax burns and turns to gas. Be careful not to get wax to hot or spill it as it is very flamible. I wonder if an old crockpot dish would also keep it a good temperature for dipping. Red wax is very pretty. I thought it might melt next to fireplace but I have not had any trouble with that but I recommend string in tin and keeping out of sunshine to keep from melting. My only trouble was that they were so pretty that I hate to burn them! They work so well I want to use them myself and forgot to give them away:)

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  46. Roberta1/09/2012

    To jjcuadra,
    You can cut pine cones, in fact, if you use the bottoms ( turn them over) they look like little pine trees:)

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  47. M Biggs1/11/2012

    You can also use the same idea but instead of pinecones use the shavings from your pencil sharpener. This works great in the fireplace or campfire.

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  48. Anonymous1/28/2012

    Thank you for posting that you used cupcake tins... I tried it without and it didn't work out so well.. I'm using them for our wedding favors

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  49. Anonymous2/11/2012

    I have also mixed sawdust in.,. Filled the cupcake line about half full poured the wax then added the pine cone.

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  50. Martha5/10/2012

    How clever is this, so now when picking up pine cones to clean under the tree a wonderful project to do as well and who doesn't need a starter cone for the camp fires

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  51. Allie Nelson5/21/2012

    I just did this project, except I gathered up all my old half melted taper candles from church events or candles that are too short to be used in candle holders for decor. I chopped up the wax, and extracted the wicks. So it was a completely free project :) I highly recommend as a way to use all those old candles.

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  52. Having just returned from our place in the country that we heat with wood, and spending way too much time looking for things we could use to start a fire, I am definitely making these! Thanks for the tutorial! We have plenty of pine cones out there, too, since we have a few huge pine trees. I'll only have to buy some wax and cupcake liners. Woot!

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  53. Anonymous6/20/2012

    a gift for our camping friends!

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  54. Anonymous8/04/2012

    You can also use the large size ketchup/condiment cups...and I added cinnamon stick scraps to the wax...and added a nice scent when burning...

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  55. I'm sure the wine help it go way better ! ; o)

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  56. I'm sure the wine made it go way faster and where I live I have tons of pine cones! ; o)

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  57. Anonymous9/19/2012

    I have been making firestarters for years the way you have posted. All that recieve them love them . The one thing I must add to this is if you want color when they burn, spread glue on the tips of the pinecone then roll in Borax for green, Salt for yellow, Salt sub.for violet , epsom salt for white . Also if you soak the pinecones in bleach water they will lighten up.

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  58. Anonymous9/30/2012

    We used to tie the candlewick onto a gumball from the sweetgum tree instead of a pinecone and dip them in the wax a couple of times like a candle. They don't hold quite as much wax as your version, but they still work quite well. This way may take a little more time to make though while waiting in between coats.

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  59. Anonymous10/02/2012

    And here I dunked the whole pine cone in wax. This way is Sooooo much easier... You can also add color to the wax if you wanted to. I used green and red when I dipped the whole pine cone.

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  60. Did anyone get the answer to whether or not you could use these in a fireplace insert? Does it make a mess?

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    1. I haven't tried it with an insert but I can tell you that we haven't seen any residue in our fireplace when using soy wax :o) - They burn pretty hot and we always place them on or between the logs.

      Good luck & Enjoy!

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    2. Anonymous1/25/2013

      I have been making these for years!! We have a fireplace insert with doors that we close because we actually heat our house with the fireplace. I used leftover candles stubs or pieces that my friends and family gives me and pick pinecones from our pasture. I have never used the wicks. We just light the pinecone and away it goes!!

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  61. Anonymous10/07/2012

    Amazing! This is so smart and I will sooo be using it.

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  62. Anonymous10/09/2012

    GIRL YOUR ARE THE BOMB. AND MY KIND OF LADY WITH THE RED WINE. YOU ROCK!!

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  63. Awesome instructions and so easy to follow. We've shared this blog post on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UWriteSanta and the readers are raving about it (plus also sharing the blog link)! Thank you so much for including the easy to follow pictures. Wishing you and yours an early Christmas greeting. Have a jolly kind of day!

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  64. OK, I sort of got to thinking...why couldn't you put the wax in the cupcake cups & melt it in the oven instead of messing with melting the wax in a mason jar or double boiler? If it's in the bead form then that should be easy enough. If you're reusing old candles, then you could just use a cheese grater & grate the wax & put it in the cups.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous11/03/2012

      wax is combustible, you will want to melt it as she did in the picture, like a double boiler. You will need to grease or use cooking spray(pam) in your muffin tins for the wax to release from your tin. I wouldn't reccomend cooking with that tin again, there will be a residue from the wax.

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    2. Anonymous1/25/2013

      I melt the old candles in a low oven in an old bread pan. I watch it carefully and and pour the melted wax over the pinecones in cupcake liners in old muffin pans, using newspaper under my nuffin tin as it can get messy. Maybe it's just me!!The pans are used only for this project....

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  65. Anonymous10/25/2012

    I love the idea!! Question..... does the wax make a mess or does it just disappear? We have a wood burner and was just wondering if these would work, they are so cute! Thanks

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    Replies
    1. I've never noticed any residue when using them with real logs.

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  66. Anonymous11/07/2012

    Where can you find wax in bulk and wicks?

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    Replies
    1. I bought the wax & wicks at Hobby Lobby but I'm sure you can find them cheaper online :o)

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  67. What a great idea!! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely make this for xmas this year. I have been experimenting with making essential oils and this would be a great way to use them.

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  68. Genious! Brilliant idea :)

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  69. Where did you get the bags?

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    Replies
    1. I've found them in the wedding / baking section at Walmart and at Hobby Lobby :o)

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  70. Making these tonight for a Thanksgiving hostess gift! Round 2 will be gifts for the neighbors. Thanks for the great post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update and comment I'm glad you've enjoyed them as much as we do!

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  71. Ihave just been out on a frosty blue day and collected my third bag of cones. We have been leaving them on the radiators to dry and open. I can't wait to wax them and wrap for Xmas. I was given a pack last year as a gift and loved it.

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  72. Anonymous12/02/2012

    Great Host/Hostess gift! Thanks for the idea. I'm going to try recycling some wax from some already used candles. I always save the bits - I know they would come in handy!

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  73. Those are cool! But... What was the crisco for? LOL or was that the wine adding extra ingredients to the picture again? :)

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    Replies
    1. The crisco was from an earlier failed attempt, please disregard - use muffin liners instead :o)

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  74. Anonymous12/04/2012

    Why bother taking off the cupcake liners, can't you just leave them on? Just wondering.

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    Replies
    1. I took them off because I thought they appeared more 'finished' for gifts, but you are right you could totally leave them on (given that the liners were paper not foil). Happy Crafting!

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  75. I use old candle ends and cardboard egg cartons, mine are just for campfires and dont have to look "pretty". just tear off a couple and start your campfire.

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  76. Love it! Can we toss in some cedar shavings? Bautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Oh I'm sure you could, I'd place them in prior to pouring over the wax :o)

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  77. Anonymous1/17/2013

    You can add glitter to the muffin cups before pouring the wax. Any color looks great but silver has the most sparkle. Old crayons broken up and put in the muffin cup is fun too. That color then floats with a white candle melt as used in the demo above. Small crayon pieces look like confetti when added. For those folks that don't have access to the gifts from pine trees, check your produce departments. and Michaels for bags of scented cones-- usually cinnamon and clove.

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  78. Anonymous2/17/2013

    I live in the country and use pine cones to start fired all the time. You don't actually need wicks at all!

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  79. Anonymous3/09/2013

    Do you think you could use these in decorative lanterns in the home or outside or do you think they will leave a mess on the bottom of the lantern? I wanted to do scented and colored ones for gifts but not all my friends have fireplaces or go camping. I know many that might use them in lanterns or big candle holders. Do you think they will work just the same in them or possibly be a safety issue? How fast do the pine cones burn? Thanks for the great idea.

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  80. You could also use Scentsy wax...you can discard the wax into mason jar and remelt when you have enough to make these...there will be some scent still in the wax.

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  81. Think I will try adding citronella scent to the wax and use in the campfire as bug repellent. ...

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    Replies
    1. What a great idea! Thanks Shana :o)

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  82. Debra Anderson1/16/2014

    These would be great to keep in an emergency kit for the vehicle, especially in the winter. I always have blankets, extra gloves & coat, and snacks & bottled water in a duffle bag in my truck. These would make it complete, besides a lighter or matches.

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