How to Upcycle Used Tea Bags into Fire Starters

How to Upcycle Used Tea Bags into Fire Starters

How to Upcycle Used Tea Bags into Fire Starters


Reusing old tea bags is a great way to reduce waste and make useful fire starters for your fireplace, wood stove, or campfire. Tea bags are inexpensive, abundant, and contain natural waxes that help them ignite easily. With just a few simple steps, those soggy used tea bags can be upcycled into convenient, homemade fire starters.

What You’ll Need

To make DIY fire starters from used tea bags, you’ll need:

  • Used tea bags – The more the better! Collect used tea bags over time. Any type of tea bag will work.

  • Wax – Old candle stubs, crayons, or soy wax pellets. Beeswax also works well.

  • Dried pine needles, wood shavings, lint – Anything flammable that will help the fire starter ignite easily.

  • Muffin tin – To mold the fire starters into shape.

  • Scissors – For cutting the tea bags open.

How to Make the Fire Starters

Step 1: Cut Open Tea Bags

Use scissors to cut open the used tea bags and empty out the damp tea leaves into a bowl. Try to keep the tea bag intact so you can refill it. Compost the old tea leaves.

Step 2: Prepare Wax and Dry Tinder

Grate old candle stubs or crayons into a bowl to make small wax pieces. Or use soy wax pellets.

In a separate bowl, put some dry, fluffy pine needles, lint, or wood shavings. This will help the fire starters ignite quickly.

Step 3: Fill Tea Bags

Refill the empty tea bags with alternating layers of wax pieces and tinder. Fill them up about halfway, keeping the top open.

Step 4: Mold Fire Starters

Place the filled tea bags in the wells of a muffin tin. Gently press down to flatten them into the shape of the wells. The wax will act as a binder to hold their shape.

Step 5: Let Cool and Solidify

Allow the fire starters to fully cool and solidify in the muffin tin, at least 1-2 hours. Once hardened, remove them from the tin.

Step 6: Store for Later Use

Keep your finished fire starters together in a ziplock bag or watertight container until needed. Make sure they are completely dry and store them somewhere dry.

Using Your Upcycled Fire Starters

To use your DIY tea bag fire starters:

  • Place one under kindling when starting a campfire or fire in your fireplace or wood stove.

  • Light the corner of the fire starter using a match or lighter. The wax and tinder will catch easily and help ignite the larger logs.

  • The fire starter burns slowly, giving the kindling time to ignite before it burns up completely.

  • Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area.

Tips and Ideas

  • Customize your fire starters by adding essential oils for scent, or saw dust for texture.

  • Used dryer lint makes excellent tinder to help fire starters ignite quickly.

  • Leftover candle stubs work great as the wax component. Or use old crayons or soy wax pellets.

  • Allowing the fire starters to fully dry and harden makes them easier to ignite later on. Store in a dry spot.

Upcycling used tea bags into fire starters gives those soggy tea bags new life! It reduces waste while making useful fire-starting tools with items you already have at home.