Easy Steel Wool Emergency Fire Starter

Paul Pinkerton

With only a battery and some fine steel wool, you can make a fire anytime. It’s an old trick but works really well for starting fires in an emergency.

The way this work is passing some voltage through the fine, steel wool makes it spark and set alight. The steel wool smolders at a very high heat and can be easily kept going by blowing on it. All you then need is some dry leaves or grass and your away. I’ve made many a fire with this technique and haven’t ever not been able to light one.

To make this emergency fire starter as small as possible, I used a miniature 12v battery which are usually used in car and burglar alarms. These are about 1/2 the size of a AAA battery so are perfect for this project.


I also used a waterproof container to keep the battery and steel wool dry.

This is an easy project but definitely one that has come in handy a couple of times.

Step 1: Things You’ll Need


1. 0000 fine steel wool – eBay or try your local hardware store

2. 12v 3LR50 or MN21 battery – eBay

3. Waterproof Container – eBay


4. Electrical tape

Step 2: Practice Making Fire

The first thing I would do is to practice igniting the steel wool. To do this, you need to do the following:

1. Grab the steel wool and pull the threads, so it opens up a little.

2. Next, place one end of the battery on the wool and touch the steel wool to the other end of the battery.

3. You should instantly see sparks and the steel wool start to light. If not, touch the battery terminals again.

4. Once the wool starts to ignite it should just continue to smolder and burn. If not, just blow on it a little, and it will blaze up.

Step 3: Prepare the Steel Wool


1. Grab the steel wool and carefully unwind a piece.

2. If it seems a little thick, you can just pull it apart.

3. You should end up with a small rectangle piece of steel wool.

Step 4: Prepare the Battery


1. So the steel wool doesn’t ignite the wool inside the container, you need to wrap it in some electrical tape.

2. Take a piece of tape and wrap it around the ends of the terminals a couple of times.

Step 5: Wrap the Steel Wool around the Battery


1. Next, wrap the steel wool around the battery. Try and get this as tight as possible

2. Trim off the ends so it fits into the container. It should be as tight as fit as you can make it – the more steel wool, the better!

3. Screw on the lid tightly


You can see the original article from lonesoulsurfer HERE

Remember that you’re responsible for being safe while making this and then using it.

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jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival