Regular readers will know that we are huge Pinterest fans. Every visit, I find something new and different to inspire us; whether it be a craft project, recipe, an amazing up-cycling project or a beautiful holiday destination. It's like the perfect, endless, glossy magazine full of amazing images. I am aware, of course, that some of these glorious images must have teams of designers behind them, and that not everything that we see on there has been thrown together on a kitchen table, in the way you and I might!
There are a few pins that I come across again and again, and each time a little voice in my head says 'I wonder if that really works?' Well, there is only one way to find out! Welcome to our series of Pin-Tested; where Craft Invaders try out crafty pins that inspire us, and find out how easy it is to recreate that pin at home.
Here is the creative pin that inspired our investigation DIY Aromatic Wax Firestarters
And here is what we used and did...
Dried pine needles from a woodland floor, mixed half and half with wood shavings
Half burned and broken candles
Scrap paper (we used Kraft as we have loads, but newspaper would be a good alternative)
An old muffin tin as a mould and double boiler for melting wax
We cut out squares of paper to line our moulds with enough sticking out that we could gather it and tie with string. We wanted to be sure that if our firelighter contents didn't hold together, that the paper would contain it. Please note this is not a tin that we use to cook in! We melted our old ends of candles in a double boiler, you could also do this in a bowl over simmering water. Please ensure you do this safely, bearing in mind that wax ignites easily! Please also remember that it is not safe to melt wax in a microwave or leave melting wax unattended!
We mixed our needles and shavings together. Our shavings are quite coarse. Clumps of very fine powders can act in an explosive manner when ignited, so please bear that in mind when selecting your materials and mixing them. We also threw in the remains of our paper, torn into pieces, and the old wicks from our melted candles.
We dipped lengths of our string in the melted wax to act as wicks when we tied it around our firelighters, then poured the rest of the wax over our mixture and incorporated it well. Remember it will be hot. We aimed to use just enough wax so that the mixture would stick together when compressed, but not so much that we ended up with a puddle in the bottom of our wood-burner.
When the mixture was cool enough to handle we pressed it firmly into our moulds lined with the paper, and tied each bundle up with the waxy string and left to set.
It turns out that these homemade firelighters work incredibly well. As this is a test, we made a video showing one of our firelighters burning. It will, if you are interested in that sort of thing, give you an idea of how effective they are, and for how long they burn. I started filming as soon as I had lit the string, and I stopped filming after 10 minutes because frankly you can only have so much of a good thing, and my arm had started to hurt!