Happy time-to-throw-a-bunch-of-wood-and-wadded-up-balls-of-newspaper-into-that-sooty-box-under-the-mantlepiece season! Whether using a wood-burning fireplace for heating purposes or strictly for the cozy ambiance, everyone has their own special technique when it comes to nurturing that tiny spark into a roaring blaze. Pinecones, palmetto leaves, and dried moss are always a highly flammable — and also free — way to go, but why hunt and gather for tinder when you're at home? Save it for camping!


Below are a few effective, chemical-free tinder and kindling options of the non-survival nature (so yes, you'll need fireplace matches). All are made in the U.S., most from recycled and non-toxic materials, and are appropriate for indoor wood-burning fireplaces. All are far easier to manage and less dangerous than using last week's Wall Street Journal. And if you happen to have a stockpile of sawdust and candle wax at home (because who doesn't?), check out the DIY fire starters tutorials at the bottom of the page


F-Bomb Firestarter by Shift Studios @ Etsy ($2/each)















Qwicklite @ KIOSK ($12/5 oz bag)
















Fortune Fire Starters by FireStylers @ Etsy ($7/set of 3)












Dad's Firestarter Eggs @ Dad's Firestarters ($9.95/carton of 12)















TerraCycle Fire Starters @ DwellSmart ($8.99)















Light My Fire Mayan TinderSticks @ Amazon.com ($7.19 - 1 oz)















Fatwood Kindlin' — 13 pound box @ Fatwood Kindlin' ($19.49)












Little Bucket Firestarters Small Lobster Crate @ Little Bucket Firestarters ($49.99 - 35 pieces)











Here's a few recycling-minded do-it-yourself fire starter ideas that don't involve last week's USA Today. And if possible, swap out paraffin for soy whenever wax is called for.



Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire Starter — Instructables

Pine Cone Fire Starters  Design*Sponge

DIY Fire-Starting Wafers Lifehacker

Herbal Fire Starter — Whole Living

Cupcake Fire Starters Notes from A Cottage Industry

Wine Cork Fire Starters Real Simple






Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.