Cotton Pad Fire Starter Tutorial

by Rustic Escentuals

These easy-to-make little gems are perfect for camping, bonfires, or simply starting a wood fire at home. They’re inexpensive to make, compact, easy to use, and easily portable. You can choose whether or not to customize them by adding candle dye to the melted wax. Package in cello bags and pair with kindling & firewood for custom gift giving!

finished fire starters

Materials List:
Votive/Pillar Wax (higher melt point candle waxes work best)
Wax Suggestions:
KY 143 Paraffin Pillar Wax (used in this tutorial)
KY 133 Versatile Paraffin Wax
KY Para-Soy Tart & Votive Blend Wax
Round cotton make-up remover pads
Long tweezers, needle nose pliers, or BBQ tongs
Presto Pot or double boiler to melt candle wax
Wax paper
Bags to package finished fire starters
Safety goggles
Apron to protect clothing
Wax paper, old newspapers or aluminum foil


Step 1
Cover counter with wax paper, old newspapers or aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Melt the wax with the chosen method (Presto Pot or double boiler). Make sure to follow the wax manufacturer’s melting & pouring guidelines for correct temperatures. For this tutorial KY 143 Paraffin Wax is being used so it will need to be heated to approx 180° F per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Use the thermometer to correctly monitor the melting temperature.

heat wax in presto pot

Step 2
Once the candle wax is melted, take the tweezers and dip the cotton pad in the melted wax. Let the pad sit in the wax for a few seconds to allow the pad to soak up the wax. When the pad is saturated with wax, remove and place on a piece of wax paper to dry. Continue this process until the number of fire starters is achieved.

dip cotton pads in wax


Step 3
When pads are dry, package in a small bag.

dry pads

To use: Tear the pad in half exposing the cotton fibers and light.


  • Cover counter with wax paper, old newspapers or aluminum foil to make clean up easier.
  • Be sure to wear safety goggles for eye protection. You do not want to be splashed in the eye with hot wax! Remember with wax – safety first.
  • Waxes used in making candles are very similar to cooking oils – they are flammable and they are poured at high temperatures, but with certain precautions, accidents may be avoided. NEVER HEAT WAX ABOVE 210°F.
  • For safety, wax should be melted in a double boiler. Wax should NEVER be heated directly over an open flame or burner. Direct heating can cause wax to explode and result in serious injury.
  • Use of a thermometer is advised to ensure proper wax pouring temperature.
  • Never leave hot wax unattended. Keep children and pets away from the area where wax is being melted and poured.
  • Never pour water in a wax fire. Water will cause the fire to spread. To extinguish a fire in a pan, cover the pan with its lid. Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
  • Never pour melted wax into the sink or other drains.
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