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.

A happier, healthier hearth: Handmade and DIY fire starter alternatives
Avoiding chemical starter logs and gels but not in the mood to go out and gather pine needles? As fireplace season approaches, consider these fume-free fire sta