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Recycle by Making Logs from Newspaper

written by: Sage Kalmus•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/19/2011

Make logs from newspaper and you recycle, save money and help the environment. Making newspaper fire logs is easy and requires no special tools or machines.

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    Wood Fire When you make logs from newspaper for your wood burning fireplace, wood stove, campfire or bonfire you serve two green purpose in one: you recycle your old newspaper in a useful way and you save on the wood (and the cost of wood) that's needed to make and sustain a fire. Requiring no special tools, materials or machines, making your own newspaper fire logs is incredibly simple and can be just as rewarding.

    After reviewing the precise steps for how to make fire logs from newspaper, we'll go over storage of newspaper fire logs, the differences between this method and using a newspaper fire log rolling machine, and a few of the things you can add to this process to yield some pretty interesting results.

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    To make logs from newspaper you'll need only the following:

    • newspaper
    • bucket
    • water
    • broomstick
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    How to Make Fire Logs from Newspaper: Step-by-Step

    Newspaper Pile 1. Soaking & Preparation

    Fill the bucket with water and stick inside 3 or 4 folded up newspapers (less if you're using smaller than a 5 gallon bucket). Use only actual black and white newspaper, removing all glossy inserts and pages with colored ink. Leave them in there to soak for 24 hours.

    After that time has elapsed bring all the materials out to a space with a flat surface that you don't mind getting wet. A concrete patio or cement driveway would work perfectly.

    2. Laying & Pressing

    Once the newspaper is soaked, pull it out from the bucket and lay each one out flat. Then press heavily on all parts of each newspaper to squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Flip the newspapers over and repeat the process. For best fire log rolling you want your newspapers thoroughly damp but not dripping wet.

    3. Forming the Logs

    Lay the broomstick down across one of the shorter edges of the newspaper, lining up the tip of the broomstick with one of the corners. A stack of newspapers 2" thick will form a fire log about the same size as the artificial fire starter logs you can buy in the store (ie. Duraflame). Roll the newspaper and the broomstick together, wrapping the newspaper tightly around the broomstick and pressing out any excess water as you do so. Use as much pressure as you can, as the tighter the fire logs are rolled, the longer they will burn.

    Once the entire newspaper is rolled and the seam pressed tightly to the log, set the broomstick down with the tip bearing one edge of the log against the ground. Press on the uppermost edge of the log as you carefully pull the broomstick up and out, separating it from the log. Set the broomstick aside and shape the log, pressing down on both ends to neaten them and secure them as best as possible from fraying or separating.

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    4. Setting the logs out to dry

    Once formed, set your newspaper fire logs out to dry in the sun, each one on its end leaning against a wall. How long it takes will depend on how much direct sun and how little moisture the logs are exposed to as they dry. Drying them completely could take anywhere from one day to several weeks.

    Once your newspaper fire logs are completely dry, they are ready to burn.

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    Storing Newspaper Fire Logs

    Log Pile Fire logs made from newspaper don't require any special storage procedures beyond how you would store normal wood logs for fires. Newspaper fire logs will even last just as long as regular wood logs as long as they don't get wet. Wet newspaper fire logs can easily mold and fall to pieces.

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    The Difference Between Rolling Wet Logs & Using A Newspaper Roller

    Rolled Up Newspaper You can find many newspaper log rollers on the market, all of which are simple machines you can use to easily and quickly roll fire logs from dry newspaper. The difference between using a newspaper log rolling machine and making newspaper logs from wet newspaper without a machine is that logs rolled in machines from dry newspaper cannot support a fire on their own and must be burned in conjunction with real wood logs. Logs hand-rolled logs from wet newspaper, on the other hand, are indeed sufficient to maintain a fire on their own, without the need to add any real wood logs.

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    Interesting Things You Can Do with Newspaper Fire Logs

    Now that you know how to make logs from newspaper, here are a few interesting things you can add to the process to yield additional results:

    • Sprinkle coffee grounds over the dampened newspaper before you roll it to make the logs emit more heat.
    • Add pine needles before rolling to make your newspaper logs crackle as they burn.
    • Wrap your newspaper logs in a flattened brown paper bag to make them look less like newspaper and more like real wood fire logs.
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    Newspaper pile: Nandet (stock.xchng)

    Rolled up newspaper: helloyou (stock.xchng)

    Wood fire: aiana (morgueFile)

    Log pile: dan (