Awesome homemade fire starter….

I recently discovered an inexpensive and highly effective homemade fire starting creation: wax impregnated cotton disks. I am not overly familiar with women’s make up nor what is used to apply/remove it however these small cotton disks apparently are involved somehow.  I picked some up at a local grocery store for $1.69 for 80 individual disks.


My wife is a candle lover and had several unscented votive candles I “borrowed”.  Using a wax melter I melted one votive at a time. Once completely melted I simply dipped a disk in the max then set it on a plate to cool. I was able to literally stick my fingers in the wax to remove it as the wax was not too hot.

Note: Initially I left the disk for a period of time to soak up the wax. This was a mistake as when I removed the disk it was heavily coated – too heavily coated. More at that in a minute. Dropping the disk in and then removing it right away worked best and allowed more disks to be treated with the same amount of wax.


Lighting the disks was relatively easy. The disks lightly coated lit well and burned with a large flame. The disks that were heavily coated were difficult to light. It was basically like trying to light a candle without the wick on fire. The thinly coated disks lit quickly.


Once the disk was lit the flame traveled across the its face. It grew higher and higher as the flame engulfed it.


The photo above shows the maximum height of the flame. These disks would really work well set below some tinder and small sticks. The disks also burn for several minutes. How long? Depends on the amount of wax.

Note: I had a heck of a time trying to blow the disk out after taking the pictures. Extremely wind resistant once it is going.

Going to do some additional experimentation. I have a large gallon sized Zip-loc full of them.


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13 thoughts on “Awesome homemade fire starter….”

  1. If you break / tear the edge of the disk, it will be much easier to light. Breaking / tearing exposes some of the cotton fibers which ignite very quickly – even with a cheapo ferro rod from HFT. I was even able to light one with the piezoelectric spark from an empty propane lighter.

  2. We use the same, but leave about 1/8 of the disc uncoated, to facilitate tearing, or shredding the edge with a knife point to produce lots of hair like fibers to catch a spark. We carry six or so in a skoal can, wrapped with electrical tape. Pocket sized and waterproof.

  3. Very good idea and worth considering as part of wilderness survival planning. Its’
    very important to keep firemaking materials dry, especially in wet conditions like
    the rainforest where its’difficult to start fire. I use vaseline impregnated cotton
    gauze with my metal match.

  4. You can also completely dip the disc in the wax then put a portion of a cotton ball in the middle then fold over the disc like a won-ton before the wax hardens. When wanting to light just pry it open in an “L” shape and you have all the fiber you need from the non-saturated cotton ball to be used as your wick. The “L” shape allows the cotton ball to ignite the wax quite thoroughly. The wax keeps everything dry until needed. Works great. I’ve found it makes a great flame for about 5-7 minutes. Easily enough time to start a good fire.

  5. A good place to buy these are the dollar stores. At Dollar Tree the price is $1.00 for a package containing 80. Every penny helps. LOL

  6. I went with cotton balls rolled in petroleum jelly, and i dint even have to steel my wifes candles… Lol, check it out, its very cheep and ive yet to find any conditions they dont easily light fast and burn strong… Over 15 mins, you can literly boil water without any other fuel sorce… Its the secret the box store types never hope you will learn!

  7. We recently tried this because we were curious if it really worked and wow is it effective. For us, it lasted up to 30 minutes. I think this is a great resource for getting a fire going if you’re having a difficult time. As Doug mentioned, tearing it a bit definitely helps get it started easier. But yeah, we love these. 🙂

  8. Here’s another idea: buy your eggs is the cardboard containers. After you’re done with the eggs, fill each with lint from the dryer. Pour a small amount of wax over the lint. After the wax sets, tear or cut to separate. Light either the egg carton or the lint. Sure beats spending extra on the discs.


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