These easy-to-make fire starters provide an all-in-one solution to starting a blaze: ignition, accelerant, and fuel in a single, handy, cheap package. To use, scrape the wax off the tip and strike against a rock. Each match will burn for five minutes or better.

What You’ll Need

  • Strike-anywhere matches
  • Paraffin wax
  • Cotton yarn or wicking
  • Straight pins
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Tie an overhand knot in the yarn at the base of the match head and wrap the match shaft. Tuck the tag end of the yarn under the last wrap and pull snug. Cut excess yarn.
  2. Melt paraffin wax in a DIY double boiler. Select an old pot that will nest in a larger pot. (A clean coffee can works in a pinch.) Fill the larger pot about half full with water and place on medium heat on the stove. Set the wax in the smaller pot and place it in the larger pot. Pay close attention. Paraffin wax has a low flash point and can burst into flame when overheated. When fully melted, move the setup off the heat.
  3. Insert a straight pin into the non-striking end of a match and dip the entire match in the wax for a few seconds. Set on the foil to harden. Dip every match several times to build up a waterproof coating that also serves as fuel. After the last dip, remove the pin and tamp down the moist wax to seal the pinhole.

This article was adapted from Field & Stream’s Total Camping Manual.