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How to Repurpose Old Christmas Trees into DIY Fire Starters

Don’t toss that Christmas tree or that holiday wreath. Repurposes it a DIY fire starter with these simple instructions.

Let me start this DIY fire starter tutorial by saying this: hell hath no fury like a man whose fire-starting abilities have been questioned.

I might have made a joke about how my former Eagle Scout (and usually very capable) husband has some issues starting fires in our gorgeous fireplace during these chilly days… and an existential crisis immediately ensued.

Real-life situations spur most of my eco-friendly crafting adventures, and this week my two most urgent situations are 1) soothing a sweet man’s ego with blazing, enormous bonfires (like, the kind you can see from space) and 2) getting rid of this stinking Christmas tree.

Fortunately, problem number two is highly flammable.

Do you see a dead garland on my front porch? A homemade potpourri gift that’s collected a noticeable amount of dog hair? A dusty dried orange garland? I see my next sustainable crafting opportunity.

These homemade fire starters were amazingly potent, so fast to make, smelled incredible, and frankly, I wish all my DIYs were this successful. They’re so easy, I’m planning to make them throughout the year with various herbs, expired spices, and egg cartons to have on hand for our nightly winter fire habit.

In the process of making these DIY fire starters, I was able to reuse an old egg carton, a homemade potpourri gift, a dried orange garland, an aluminum can, and pieces from my Christmas tree. And, the bonus? They actually smell amazing when you light them.

Let’s dive into this almost entirely zero waste DIY. Grab that old Christmas tree, your browning holiday wreath, that sad-looking live garland, or your dusty dried orange slices: We’re about to repurpose old Christmas trees into DIY fire starters, y’all.

Make Homemade Fire Starters from Holiday Decor

Note/Disclaimer: DO NOT USE YOUR DRYER LINT for homemade fire starters. I can’t start my DIY fire starter tutorial without stating what I hope would be obvious, but I’m guessing is not based on what I’ve seen on Pinterest.

Unless you somehow have maintained a wardrobe exclusively of cotton, hemp, silk, and other naturally occurring and untreated fibers, dryer lint does not belong in a DIY fire starter. Cheers to you if you do have such a wardrobe, but if not, consider yourself informed.

I’ve kept a strict wardrobe of Spandex since the pandemic started. Synthetic fabrics, and thus the dryer lint they generate, are PLASTIC. Burning chemically-treated fibers and synthetic fibers may release harmful fumes and carcinogens. Don’t take it from me; listen to MIT.

What you’ll need to repurpose an old Christmas tree into DIY fire starters:

Note: I tried this with wicks and without; save yourself the trouble. You don’t need wicks. I also tried this with unbleached, recycled paper baking cups, which failed miserably.

  • Empty cardboard egg carton
  • Block of beeswax (or soy wax, I personally picked beeswax because of my concerns over deforestation, GMOs, and agrochemicals)
  • Pruning shears or heavy-duty scissors
  • Designated crafting pot (hit the thrift store if you don’t have one) or clean, empty aluminum can
  • Stove top or oven
  • Old Christmas tree, fir garland, pine wreath, or rosemary
  • Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, or dried oranges
  • Essential oils (optional)
How to Repurpose Old Christmas Trees into DIY Fire Starters

Instructions for making homemade fire starters from a Christmas tree:

  1. Decide your scent profile. I’m reusing a homemade holiday potpourri that’s lost its fragrance, dried oranges, and an old Christmas tree, so that’s sort of predetermined for me. You could also use lemon and rosemary, sage and lavender, or any number of herbs and spices. Your fire starters will release the aroma of your ingredients while burning!
  2. Remove the top from your cardboard egg carton and recycle.
  3. Using your pruning shears, remove branches from your Christmas tree, garland, or wreath. Trim your pieces to approximately a half-inch.
  4. Cut your dried orange slices into small segments. Do the same with your cinnamon sticks.
  5. Pack your greenery, oranges, cloves, and cinnamon into your empty egg cartons.
  6. Break your block of beeswax into small chunks. I used a screwdriver and hammer for this; my block was hard.
  7. Melt your beeswax, keeping in mind that low and slow is the name of the game and that beeswax has a flashpoint of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I melted mine in an aluminum can inside the oven, but you can do this more quickly on the stovetop if you have a sacrificial pot. Do NOT use your favorite cooking pots and pans; you will never get them clean again.
  8. Gently pour your beeswax into each well in your egg carton, taking care not to spill over the dividers.
  9. Let your wax harden. (It won’t take long!)
  10. Separate your homemade fire starters with scissors. Light from the cardboard edges, and enjoy! These babies light up immediately, and they send up gloriously high flames. You’ll also love the sweet smell of the burning pine and oranges, and the cinnamon adds a beautiful crackle and pop to these DIY firestarters.

Finally, if you know me at all, you know I always try to end my DIYs by thinking of “what’s next” for what we’ve created. It’s part of closing the loop on a sustainable lifestyle. Did you know that the wood ashes in your fireplace can have benefits in your garden? Learn more about using wood ash in your garden.

Are you looking for other ways to repurpose old Christmas trees? Try this quick and easy DIY Christmas Tree Vinegar Cleaner, or upcycle your Christmas tree into a table runner!

Have you repurposed your Christmas tree? Tell us about it in the comments below!

All photos from Reese Moore Photography.

About the Author

Reese Moore

Reese Moore is a photographer, content creator, and pickle connoisseur who divides time between Charleston and Lake Lure. When she’s not behind the lens shooting stunning images for Reese Moore Photography, Reese loves to spend her time wandering the woods with her dog Gatsby or adventuring with her husband Logan in their Airstream Basecamp.

How to Repurpose Old Christmas Trees into DIY Fire Starters

How to Repurpose Old Christmas Trees into DIY Fire Starters

Don't toss that Christmas tree or that holiday wreath. Repurposes it a DIY fire starter with these simple instructions.

Materials

  • Empty cardboard egg carton
  • Block of beeswax (or soy wax, I personally picked beeswax because of my concerns over deforestation, GMOs, and agrochemicals)
  • Old Christmas tree, fir garland, pine wreath, or rosemary
  • Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, or dried oranges
  • Essential oils (optional)

Tools

  • Pruning shears or heavy-duty scissors
  • Designated crafting pot (hit the thrift store if you don’t have one) or clean, empty aluminum can
  • Stove top or oven

Instructions

  1. Decide your scent profile. I’m reusing a homemade holiday potpourri that’s lost its fragrance, dried oranges, and an old Christmas tree, so that’s sort of predetermined for me. You could also use lemon and rosemary, sage and lavender, or any number of herbs and spices. Your fire starters will release the aroma of your ingredients while burning!
  2. Remove the top from your cardboard egg carton and recycle. 
  3. Using your pruning shears, remove branches from your Christmas tree, garland, or wreath. Trim your pieces to approximately a half-inch. 
  4. Cut your dried orange slices into small segments. Do the same with your cinnamon sticks. 
  5. Pack your greenery, oranges, cloves, and cinnamon into your empty egg cartons.
  6. Break your block of beeswax into small chunks. I used a screwdriver and hammer for this; my block was hard.
  7. Melt your beeswax, keeping in mind that low and slow is the name of the game and that beeswax has a flashpoint of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I melted mine in an aluminum can inside the oven, but you can do this more quickly on the stovetop if you have a sacrificial pot. Do NOT use your favorite cooking pots and pans; you will never get them clean again.
  8. Gently pour your beeswax into each well in your egg carton, taking care not to spill over the dividers. 
  9. Let your wax harden. (It won’t take long!)
  10. Separate your homemade fire starters with scissors. Light from the cardboard edges, and enjoy! These babies light up immediately, and they send up gloriously high flames. You’ll also love the sweet smell of the burning pine and oranges, and the cinnamon adds a beautiful crackle and pop to these DIY firestarters.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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