How to Make Fire Starters From Empty Plastic Cupcake Containers

J5 Tactical Flashlight

How to Make Fire Starters From Empty Plastic Cupcake Containers


There are limitless ways to create and improvise fire-starting options, and all of them can be beneficial to one degree or another.  We recently came across a simple and practical idea that builds on a more-traditional fire-starter, and it allows for a good deal of flexibility and improvisation as you can use various materials that you have on hand at the time.  Let’s look at the general idea below, and you’ll how easy it is to modify it according to your specific needs.

Getting Started


The main ingredient for this project, no mater what kind of material that you end up using to make the fire-starter, is wax.  It can be any kind of wax that you may have laying around, from the remnants of candles to crayons or beeswax.  Expect to use at least 1-2 cups of wax in order to produce enough material to fill an average-sized disposable cupcake container.

As far as the material is concerned, the most popular option is dryer lint.  Why?  Because we all have plenty of it available, and it makes for an excellent form of tinder.  It also absorbs the wax and produces a nice, dense and slow-burning flame that is exactly what you’re looking for to get most fires started.  If you don’t have dryer lint available, the next best option is cotton balls or crumpled up and compressed sheets of tissue or toilet paper. 



You also want to combine some solid and combustible items into the mix as well.  Small wood chips, sawdust, mulch, or even wood pellets that are used in organic cat litter are all examples of common items to consider.  You can also break up small branches, use tree bark or any other type of solid material that is available as well.  Look around and improvise as necessary.  These items will help to extend the life of the fire-starter as it absorbs the wax and provides a secondary burn once the lint is extinguished.

Putting Everything Together

firestarters 008

The first step is to melt the wax, and the easiest way to do this is by making a double boiler.  If you can’t make a double boiler, try to melt the wax in a pot over a low flame.  You may also want to consider holding the pot above the flame in order to keep it from getting too hot.  You don’t want to boil or cook the wax, and doing so can scorch it while causing a lot of the material to evaporate and vaporize.  Instead, get it just hot enough to melt without it reaching temperatures that cause it to bubble.  If you’re preparing these ahead of time, feel free to use the microwave.

As the wax is melting, bunch up some of the lint and other bits of material and compress it in your hand.  You want a nice, dense ball of material that will absorb as much wax as possible and burn as slowly as possible.  Press it into the cupcake containers and add more as needed until they fill the holes as much as possible.  Don’t worry about it being perfect, and it’s perfectly fine to have some of the material sticking above the top. 

Next, carefully pour the hot wax over the material in each hole, and keep pouring until the level of material and wax reaches the top of the molds.  If some of the material remains dry after pouring, use a pen, stick or spoon handle to press it into the liquid before it cools.  All you need to do now is let the wax cool and solidify. 

Wrapping Things Up

Once hardened, flip the mold over, give the bottoms of each cupcake a tap, and they should slide right out.  Place the cupcakes inside a zipper bag and store in a cool, dark place until they’re needed.  You should also add a couple to your bug out bag or backpack as well.

Try this out for yourself, and see how this is a great way to make use of items that we’d normally discard.  You can never have too many fire starters, and using wax and random items from around the house provides a safe, clean and simple option that can pay big dividends in a crisis.