Pine Cone Firestarter Place Card Holders

Thanksgiving feels very rustic to me and I love to adorn the dining table with organic elements.   I’ve always loved repurposing things, DIY’ing and this has long been one of my favorite projects.  This organic place card holder will designate your guest’s spot and then play a second role as a firestarter for your fireplace, wood burning stove or outdoor fire pit.

This project can be as detailed as you want to make it from taking a family outing to gather pine cones (easy in my area) to purchasing most of the supplies and printing out place card names.  The pine cones are lightly dipped in paraffin and set in a base of paraffin which allows them to stand easily and be placed on top of logs in lieu of kindling and paper to effortlessly start a fire.  The firestarters can be lit directly and as the wax melts onto logs, the fire spreads.  They make a great holiday gift packed in a basket or a home warming gift.


I suggest visiting a thrift store to purchase a dedicated muffin tin and old saucepan for this project (tongs too).  It will only cost a few dollars and I would not use pans for wax and food interchangeably.  Paraffin comes in set quantities, usually a large block or grated in a tub.  You will most likely not need more than one container unless you plan to make a very large quantity.  Each firestarter requires a base that is ¾ inches deep in a muffin tin.


  • Pine cones (gather, buy in craft store or online)
  • Muffin Tin
  • Old saucepan
  • Paraffin wax (available at hobby stores)
  • Wax color, if desired (available at hobby stores)
  • Wax paper
  • Tongs
  • Cardstock
  • Method to Print name on card and decorate: Stamps, stickers, printer, embossing glitter
  • Pinking sheers

  1.  Melt a portion of paraffin wax in sauce pan.  If you desire to color the wax, add coloring and stir with a chopstick or skewer to combine.  Pour wax into muffin tin to fill ¾ inches deep.  Set aside to begin to harden.
  2. Set out wax paper adequate for the amount of pine cones you wish to dip to have room to dry without overlapping.  Dip pine cones separately in the melted wax, covering all sides.   Using tongs lift pine cones out of wax, allowing extra wax to drip into pan before setting them on the wax paper to dry.
  3. Wax base in the muffin tins will harden from the outside in.  As the wax is beginning to set but top is still liquid, place a pine cone base into the muffin tin of wax so it will attach to the base.   Allow to sit several hours or overnight to fully harden.   Once fully hardened pine cones will lift easily out of muffin tin and are ready for use.
  4. Making Placecards:  Print, stamp or hand-write names onto a piece of cardstock.   Cut out with pinking shears, adorn with stickers or stamps and place on top of firestarter.
  5. To Use the Firestarter:  The flammable paraffin on the firestarter replaces the need for newspaper or kindling to start a wood fire.  Assemble logs as normal and place the firestarter on top of the wood or intermixed with the wood.  Once lit, the paraffin beings in melt, keeping the fireburning as it spreads over the wood.  The wood will begin to burn and the fire starts!  The paraffin base of the firestarter makes it easy to place on the wood and stay steady.

Great Gift Idea:  When visiting friends or relatives  for the holidays, if your host has a wood burning fireplace, make a batch of firestarters wrapped in a beautiful basket as a hostess gift.  Also a great housewarming gift for cozy nights by the fire!


    • Toni | Boulder Locavore says

      They are so fun to make and sit perfectly to hold a place card. Always fun to have a little favor to take home and I love something I’ll really use, don’t you?

  1. says

    Those are wonderful. I like a more rustic table as well, which is good since we don’t have much in the way of finery. 🙂 I love this idea. It’s especially good if it’s a family gathering with all the dysfunctions involved. When you get home you have good therapy in burning up the memories of any unhappy happenings and then just holding on to the good stuff. 🙂

    • Toni | Boulder Locavore says

      OR you can just cut to the chase and light your own house on fire to thwart the dinner! Just kidding of course. Why is it that family neuroses always seems to come out on holidays?!

  2. says

    Toni, these adorable pine cone place settings are so perfect for the holidays…unfortunately, we would not be able to even get close to getting one of these in S. Florida; for sure it would have to be a ‘tropical’ type of place card settings…maybe out of coconut?…nah, bad idea! Love your creativity:)

  3. Kelly says

    I love this idea. It is the perfect time to bump into this DIY project.I am really excited to try it. I have been collecting pine cones for another project, but I am thinking I will do this instead. 🙂


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