In talking with Keith's parents late in the fall, they mentioned that they were enjoying using their fireplace on chilly evenings. While kicking around ideas for their Christmas gift, we settled on a bucket of items to enjoy a fire on winter evenings: a new lighter, a chimney-cleaning log, some snacks and hot cider K-cups, and pinecone fire starters. Keith was pretty excited about making the fire starters, and gathered pinecones from a nearby tree almost immediately. Then all we needed was some wax and a free afternoon.
We followed these directions and were thrilled with how they came out.
You will need pinecones, string or yarn, wax (we used beeswax but paraffin is even more flammable), and crayons if you want to add some color, and we used an old metal coffee can as a double boiler.
Keith chopped the wax up for quicker melting...
...while I tied yarn around each pinecone for dipping and lighting.
I would suggest adding your wax a little at a time or you get a big glob that takes awhile to melt. We'll know for next time...
We had an old pot around that we used for this so we didn't have to worry about dripping wax on it.
A paint stirrer came in handy to use in the melting wax.
Let the dipping begin! We dipped each pinecone a couple times, lifting it out and letting it harden a bit between dips, before setting it in a pan lined with waxed paper.
After we did the first round of dipping about 30 pinecones, we went back and re-dipped them. We dipped them each a few additional times, but this time around, we hooked up a little fan to harden them even more between dips. This helped us to get a really good coat on each pinecone.
Before gifting them, we trimmed down the strings to about a little better than an inch to use as a wick. We weren't sure how many we would need to fill out the bucket for Keith's parents, but we ended up have enough leftover to share with our next-door neighbors and some friends. I hope they are actually coming in handy for starting fires, or at least giving off the lovely scent of warm beeswax!
Oh, and a certain someone enjoyed the pinecones and yarn when he got up from his nap...
He told me he was building bridges. I don't see it, but I'm just glad his imagination is going full throttle!