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Homemade DIY firelighters for free

Photo: Homemade firelighters

Photo: Homemade firelighters

“The wood burner’s gone out again and we’ve run out of firelighters.”
Danny was exasperated. We need the wood burner to be chugging away all evening. The heating is on for a couple of hours from 8-10pm but the stove warms the kitchen and takes the chill off the bedroom above. A snug bolt hole on a chilly winter evening is essential.

Many years ago I dropped in to see my Aunt and found Uncle Peter making firelighters out of rolled and knotted newspaper. I adored my Uncle. Handsome and debonair, he loved horseracing, country pursuits and poured a whisky and soda to die for.

Although he always trained his own gun dogs, which needs patience and skill, he was not known as a practical man. In fact this was the first time that I’d seen him doing anything remotely useful for the house. These firelighters were secretly christened ‘Uncle Peters’ by my family from that historic day.

When he died I was astonished to find a pair of jeans amongst the dapper suits in his wardrobe. I mentioned this discovery to my aunt her response was quick.
“I bought them for him. He wore them just once.”
She could be a bit of a dragon.

We have made ‘Uncle Peters’ in the past. These work reasonably well but are a bit of a fiddle to make, need really dry kindling and are not wildly efficient. Last week, without a trusty firelighter, I suddenly had a brainwave. The coal scuttle was full of loo roll tubes. I scrunched up newspaper really tight and pushed it into a roll leaving a ‘wick’ of newspaper at one end. Danny lit the wick and placed the tube in amongst the damp kindling. It burnt for quite a while and easily lit the temperamental stove.

So don’t throw away your loo roll or kitchen roll tubes. They make terrific firelighters and they’re free.

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  1. Brilliant idea, just tried it now. I’m sitting beside a lovely blazing fire :) Thank you x

  2. Loving all of the hints and tips for making firelighters. We have just had a wood burning stove installed for the living room and I’m having fun trying to source (free!) wood and get the thing going with firelighters. Just asked for an old saucepan on my local Freegle group to melt down wax in. Thanks all.

  3. I stuff my loo roll and kitchen roll tubes with shredded paper from my shredder. Its a great way of destroying personal data. You can really compact down the paper so its almost like a small log and burns like one.

  4. Oh no I’m going to have to go to the loo more often now that I need empty loo rolls as firelighters and plant pots!!!!!!!

  5. John Cox

    Thanks Fiona great idea.
    I’ve tried cones dipped in old burnt out candle wax,ok but a little messy. Cardboard used paper towels dipped in old used cooking oil but the old bogroll tube sounds the best idea for firelighters. What a great use for them

    Cheers Fiona


  6. My method is this……….
    I save all my spent matchsticks, also nut shells. (Yes, everyone laughs at me but I’m used to that).
    First, raid the kitchen compost caddy to find a damp tea bag and/or some damp used kitchen paper. Stuff them in one end of the tube.
    Hold the tube upright, stuffed end on the worktop.
    Then fill the tube with the matchsticks and nut shells, ramming then down with the handle of a wooden spoon. Then put another “stopper” of tea bag/ kitchen paper in the top end.
    Obviously you have to allow the tea bags to dry out. This may be more of a log than a fire lighter.

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Peter

    Thanks for these tips, much appreciated.

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