RV-living and bonfires go hand in hand. We have one at least once a week depending on where we are. Lately, we have been enjoying them every night. Maybe it’s because it’s summer time or maybe it’s because J.O. has some time off work, so we’ve been relaxing a bit more. Either way, we love bonfires because you can cook, socialize and relax over them.
Last week when we were up in Tahoe, we found some HUGE pinecones that we collected to send back to my mom. Full of sap, heavy and dry; they reminded me about a DIY fire starter project I had been meaning to try. So, you guessed it, I have another DIY project for you!
This one was a little challenging (and messy) for me, for the main reason I don’t own a double boiler or a glass measuring cup, so I had to improvise a little. But in the end, they work so well I didn’t even mind the mess! J.O. on the other hand, was ready for me to be done as he ended up having to fix a wax clog in out kitchen sink…oops. Note: pour your water you used to melt the wax outside! Lesson learned. Even still, I will never need J.O. to chop up kindling for me again!
You will need:
Pinecones How ever many you want! I actually used old rented pinecones from our Christmas decor that we’re going to be thrown out either way.
Paraffin Wax I even added in some old broken candles.
Double boiler (or a sauce pan and glass measuring cup…OR if you’re like me, a glass bowl and a soup ladle)
Various sized bowls for your pinecones to sit in
Cooking Oil or Wax Paper
Dried herbs or essential oils (optional)
Take your twine and wrap it around the base of your pinecone. Wrap it up the pine cone about 1/4 of the way and leave a nice long tail of twine.
Using your double boiler if you have one, start melting your wax. You can also use a glass measuring cup and place it in a saucepan of water (the water should cover 1/4″ of the cup). In my case, I used a glass bowl that fit inside my saucepan. Same idea I also used a wooden spoon across the saucepan to help prevent the water from boiling up too high.
While the wax is melting, prepare your bowls. You can either line your bowls with wax paper or wipe them down with cooking oil. You’re making a barrier between the wax and the bowl so that the finished product will be easier to get out. For the larger pinecones, we added dried lavender to the bowl. You could also use essential oils if your pine cones are not scented already. It add’s a nice scent to your bonfire while the starter is doing its work! Place your pinecones in the bowls and let your twine tail hang over the side.
Once your wax is melted you want to fill your bowls so that the bottom quarter of the pinecone is covered. Depending on the size of your bowl and the size of your pine cone will determine how much wax you need. Remember you can always remelt the extra wax, but plan on using roughly 1/4-1/2 cup of wax per pinecone. Towards the end of my wax supply, when I could scoop anymore into my ladle, I let the wax harden a bit in the glass bowl and then used my hands to mold it into other pinecones.
The wax will take about 10-15 min to harder. When it has, using a twisting motion, pull the pinecones from the bowls and let them dry completely on a sheet of wax paper. If you are using a wax paper lining in your bowl, you can just pull them out of the bowl with the paper and leave the paper on! Trim the twine, your wick, so it’s about one to two inches from the wax base.
You’re ready for your bonfire! To use them, place in the middle of your wood and light the wick.
These store great, smell lovely and work wonderfully! I am still amazed how easy it is for us to start a fire with out having to hang on to newspaper. Plus, unlike newspaper and cardboard, you don’t get the ashes flying around. I’m thinking these would also make a great gift, because they look neat, are functional and smell great when not in use!
Just remember, only you can prevent forest fires.