Bluebonnet Village Craft Network

Pine Cone Fire Starter

Pine cone fire starters can be made as scented or non-scented and may or may not be colored depending on the wax used. You can use candle wax from the craft store, old candle stubs or paraffin blocks from the canning department of your local grocery. For color use candle coloring from the craft store. The scent MUST be essential oils, the type used in potpourri or candle making available at your local craft store or candle supply store. As an added note color and scents are not required for the pine cone to become an effective fire starter.

Wax must be melted in a double boiler. This can be achieved by using a metal can large enough for your largest pine cone to set into with at least two inches head room above the pine cone. Place a mark on the can at the top of your largest pine cone (a coffee can usually works well).

Place the can in a pan of water on the stove. Add broken pieces of wax or candle stubs to the can and allow to melt on medium to low heat until the liquid wax reaches your mark.

Tie a string around a few of the scales. Holding the string dip the pine cone slowly into the liquid wax. Remove and allow to drip over the can until it stops. Place on wax paper and allow to completely harden.

Pine cones can be arranged in a basket or other container and if used as a gift you might add a fancy box of fireplace matches. To use as a fire starter place the pine cone on top of the kindling and light the edge of one of the scales.

CAUTION: Because of the properties in the essential oil, potpourri and scented light rings should not be placed on finished wood furniture without glass protector as the essential oil will damage the finish.

For colored flames you can soak the pine cones in water to which one of the chemicals listed has been added. After the cones have soaked up all the liquid spread them out to dry. When dry you can add the cone to the fire and watch the colored flames dance.

It is best to use only one color per cone or break the cones apart before soaking and then when dry, mix the different chemical soaked scales together when adding to the flames to provide an aray of colors.

Mix as much of the powdered chemical into water as will disolve. The exception is sodium chloride (table salt) which is mixed one half ounce salt to one pint of water to produce yellow flames.

Strontium chloride produces red flames, magnesium sulphate (Epson Salts) gives white flames and calcium chloride for blue flames. Mix the dryed pine scales and have a patriotic fire. Other chemicals give you different colors to enjoy.

Copper sulphate (blue vitrol) has a green flame while baronsalts (borax) has a yellowish-green flame and potassium sulphate mixed 3 to 1 with potassium nitrate will show off a violet flame.

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