These fire starters are very light and perfect for backpacking trips. The ones shown here weigh only 1/10 of an ounce. They will burn for about ten minutes - enough to dry out all but the wettest kindling. One very nice feature about these is they can be made using only recycled materials, so material cost is zero. Aside from the time it takes to melt the wax, you can easily make ten of them in five minutes. I have included instructions for a longer burning version which are better when weight is not a factor.
Some corrugated cardboard, scissor, wax scraps, wick scraps or string (non synthetic) , and the usual candle making supplies will be needed.
Since the longest part of making these is melting the wax, start wax heating in a double boiler. If you don't have dedicated candle making equipment use a coffee can place in an old pot. I use scraps from the shop, drippings, half burned candles, failed experiments, etc... for the wax.
Prepare the cardboard by cutting into 2 inch by 7 inch strips. This is easiest with single face cardboard (corrugations are exposed on one side). If all you have is regular double face cardboard (such as from a box), then one side needs to be peeled off.
Roll the strips up and tie with string. Then trim the string.
Drop the cardboard rolls into the hot wax. Allow to soak for a few seconds. Remove with a wooden spoon, fork, tongs, or implement of your choice. Do not stick fingers into the hot wax. As you remove the rolls, allow the excess wax to drain back into the melting pot.
Allow to cool.
Longer Burning Fire Starters
The following additional steps may be used to create a fire starter that burns longer, although they weigh about one ounce each.
Allow the wax to cool to 155 - 160 degrees F.
Insert wires into the ends of the rolls. This will allow you to dip them easily (they float). Dip them, alternating from one to the next, until a nice coat of wax is on each
Allow to cool. Remove the wires.
To use, just light the edge of the cardboard.