How to Upcycle Toilet Paper Rolls Into Fire Starters
Reusing and repurposing items that would otherwise be thrown away is an excellent way to reduce waste and get creative. One easy DIY project is transforming humble toilet paper rolls into handy fire starters for your fireplace, campfire or outdoor grill.
Why Make Fire Starters Out of Toilet Paper Rolls?
There are several benefits to upcycling toilet paper rolls into fire starters:
It reduces waste – Toilet paper rolls are something most households have in abundance. Reusing them keeps these cardboard tubes out of the landfill.
It’s inexpensive – Materials like old newspaper, dryer lint and candle wax for coating the rolls are free or very low cost.
It’s customizable – You can add different materials to create unique fire starter combinations.
It makes great gifts – Handmade fire starters are appreciated by family and friends who camp, hike or have a fireplace.
What You’ll Need
Gather these supplies before starting your project:
- Toilet paper rolls
- Wax for coating rolls (old candle stubs, crayons)
- Dry tinder (sawdust, dryer lint, cotton balls)
- Fire starter materials (newspaper, cardboard, dry leaves)
- Cookie sheet or aluminum foil
- Wax paper (optional)
- Mason jar or container for storage
Follow these simple steps to turn toilet paper rolls into fire starters:
1. Collect and Prepare Materials
Toilet paper rolls – Make sure rolls are empty cardboard tubes. Accumulate a supply from home or ask friends, family or workplaces to save their rolls.
Wax for coating – Grated candle wax or old crayon stubs work well. Crayons can be broken into pieces.
Tinder – Dryer lint is an ideal tinder. Avoid lint with chemicals from dryer sheets. Or use cotton balls, sawdust or dry shredded newspaper.
Fire starter material – Tear newspaper, cardboard or dry leaves/grass into small strips. Avoid glossy paper with heavy inks.
2. Make the Fire Starters
Take a toilet paper roll and begin stuffing tinder material inside one end of the tube. Pack it down tightly as you work your way along the roll.
Once full, start adding your fire starter material on top, continuing to pack everything down tightly.
(Optional) For a smoother exterior, wrap a small piece of wax paper around the outside of the roll while you stuff it. Remove before coating in next step.
3. Coat the Filled Tubes in Wax
Place your stuffed toilet paper rolls upright on a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil.
Create a double boiler by placing a heat-safe bowl with wax over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, carefully drizzle wax over the rolls, coating all surfaces.
Alternatively, simply place rolls in a low oven until wax melts over them.
Allow rolls to fully cool before handling. The wax will soak into the cardboard and tinder while sealing and waterproofing the exterior.
4. Store and Use Your Fire Starters
Once cooled and hardened, store your fire starters in a sealed jar or container to keep dry.
To use, simply place one under your kindling and light the end of the roll. The wax-coated cardboard will catch easily even when slightly wet.
The tightly packed tinder lights quickly and the added materials help sustain the flame.
With just a few household items, it’s easy to make custom fire starters. Give them a try and reduce waste while making a functional item to enjoy for yourself or give as crafty gifts.