Pine Cones Make for Great Fire Starters

pine cone fire starters
••• Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If you live in the mountains or plan to visit a mountainous area soon, go on a pine cone-collecting mission. Then, make up a big batch of pine cone fire starters for your own use and to give as gifts. The process is easy and takes 30 minutes or less (not counting the pine cone-collecting time, which doesn't count, since it's quite fun). Read on to learn how to make fire starters from the pine cones you've collected.

What You Need

To make your pinecone fire starters, you'll need to gather a few supplies before getting started, including:

  • Dry pine cones
  • Wax, such as candle or crayons stubs, paraffin, or beeswax
  • A double boiler
  • Tongs
  • Foil or wax paper

If you like, you can also use essential oils and spices to add a bit of aroma and candle dye or crayons to add some color to your project.

Making the Fire Starters

To make your pine cone fire starters, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Melt wax in a double boiler (do not leave unattended).
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil to the wax if desired.
  3. Add candle dye or a few broken crayon pieces to the wax for color if desired.
  4. Dip the first pine cone into the wax using tongs. Coat the pine cone thoroughly.
  5. Hold the cone over the melted wax until it stops dripping. Then, place it on a piece of foil or wax paper to dry.
  6. Repeat with the remaining pine cones.

Once the wax has hardened, your pine cone fire starters are ready for use. Just stick one in the fireplace with some kindling and light.

Tips and Hints

To dry freshly gathered pine cones, place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in an oven set to 150 F for one to two hours (watching them closely). Once the pine cones open up, they're done.

For even more fragrance, sprinkle your favorite spice onto the pine cones before the wax has had a chance to dry. Try cinnamon, thyme, or rosemary for a fragrant scent that will fill your whole house. You can also make up several different colors of fire starters, and display them on your fireplace in a big basket.

Pine cone fire starters make a great gift. Make them in bulk now, and you'll have plenty on hand for holiday gift giving.

Pine Cone Projects

If you have a batch of pine cones left over after making fire starters, consider making some fun pine cone projects. You can easily make an angel or snowman, a bird feeder, and even a mini Christmas tree. But, don't stop there: Gather supplies to create some fun pine cone crafts for your kids, including a:

  • Pompom
  • Cute Squirrel
  • Pinecone fox
  • Pinecone ninja 

You can even make crafts, such as a pine cone air freshener, to sell at fundraisers, church bazaars, and other places. The only thing that can stop you from making fun—and free or inexpensive—pine cone projects is the limit of your imagination.