DIY Fire Starter, Plus 3 Recipes To Cook On The Fire


The days are still warm with plenty of sunshine. The kids are back in school and new routines are falling into place. But the evenings are beginning to cool off. The sunsets are gorgeous. The air has a crisp scent. Fall is on its way!

And Autumn brings along a completely new character of its own. Bonfires and campfires. S’mores and banana boats. Ghost stories and in-the-dark games.

The Trouble with Fire

Fire has a magical presence, with flickering flames and smoldering embers and colors fading from orange to blue. However, you can’t admire the magical fire if you can’t get it started!

How many tries does it take to actually catch the kindling on fire, and then the bigger logs? Maybe you opt for the fire-starting logs. While they do the trick, they contain ingredients that you don’t want to be inhaling. 

What if I told you about a solution that could help you start a fire using ingredients you throw away on a regular basis?

Fire Starter Ingredients

First, we will start with an empty toilet paper tube. Chances are that you throw away (or recycle) at least one or two of these per week in your home. Start collecting them this summer so you will have a stash reserved for the cool Fall nights. Paper towel tubes will also work too!

Next, quit throwing away your dryer lint. This stuff catches fire quickly and easily, so it’s a necessary ingredient for your DIY fire starters. No matter if there’s paper or tissues wrapped up in the lint. All dryer lint will work extremely well for this project. Keep a jar, bag, or small trash can of dryer lint in your laundry room so you can accumulate plenty of fuzz for your fire starter.

Lastly, request paper bags for your groceries when you’re at the grocery store. Brown paper is hardy. It’s the perfect “wrapping paper” for your fire starter tubes. While you can use any kind of paper, paper grocery bags are technically free (even though the cost is surely added to the price of your groceries).

There is one additional option: crayon stubs. Crayons burn like candles. And that means the fire lingers, which is what a fire starter is all about! When you kids color down to the last bit, collect the ends for this project.

Now that you have all of your ingredients gathered, it’s time to craft your DIY fire starter. Grab your kids, because they will have fun stuffing these tubes. There will be an extra dose of enjoyment when they can (safely) light these on fire!

Quick and Easy Fall Fire Starter Directions

Dryer lint
Cardboard toilet paper roll
Brown paper bag (or piece of paper)
Optional: crayon stubs

To make:

  1. Stuff the toilet paper tube with dryer lint until full but not packed (to allow for airflow). If using, place a crayon stub in the middle of the tube, wrapped in dryer lint.
  2. Wrap the tube in a strip of the brown paper bag, folding the extra paper into the ends of the tube.

To use:

  1. Place fire starter tube in a fire-safe area (fire pit, chimney, etc.). Light and immediately add additional kindling and logs.

Bonus: 3 Fire Pit Recipes

Now that your fire is roaring, it’s time to make a few fireside recipes!

Baked Potatoes beside the fire

What’s better than a hearty baked potato? Whether you’re camping or hanging out in the backyard, this recipe will be delicious. 

  1. Wash and dry potatoes. 
  2. Pierce each of them with a fork a few times, then individually wrap in aluminum foil.
  3. Lay beside the fire, touch the hot coals but not directly on top of a flame.
  4. Keep the fire going and the coals hot for 1 hour, until the potatoes are fork tender. (Note: they will be hot so always use grill utensils or hot pads to touch the wrapped potatoes).
  5. Top with your favorite baked potato toppings!


Nothing says campfire better than s’mores! Here are a few fun twists to the traditional fireside dessert:

  • Use Reeses, Crunch bars, Snickers, Thin Mints, or Twix as a sub for the chocolate bar.
  • Try chocolate graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, or peanut butter cookies instead of honey graham crackers.
  • Use fluffy biscuits and fresh strawberries with your toasted marshmallow and chocolate. 
  • Use Nutella, a cookie dough spread, peanut butter, or vanilla icing instead of a piece of chocolate.

Banana Boats

If you haven’t tried Banana Boats yet, you should make them the next time you start a fire. What could be better than bananas and your favorite candy?

  1. Peel one strip off a banana, leaving the banana inside and the remainder of the peel intact. 
  2. Place the banana on a large piece of foil.
  3. Sprinkle your favorite candies on the peeled banana (Reeses, M&Ms, peanut butter chips, etc.).
  4. Replace the open peel, wrap the banana in the foil, and set beside the fire, but not in the flames, for 10-15 minutes, until the candy is melted.
  5. Using a hot pad, grab the foil package and open it up. Using a spoon, scoop out the warm banana and melted candy!

Looking for more Fall fun, backyard tips, or tasty recipes?