The ingredients: Beer cans (any beverage cans will do; our canned beverage of choice happens to involve malts and hops); corrugated cardboard; old candle stubs; and an old can for melting wax.
The steps: Cut the bottom off a beer can, leaving about one inch of can (start off a slit with a knife; then use scissors to cut around the can). Cut cardboard into one-inch strips, roll tightly until the diameter of the beer can, and stuff the roll into the beer can base. Add a wick in the middle (tiny cardboard strips work for this, or use old candle wicks). Melt wax by immersing a can with old candles in a pot of boiling water. Pour the wax over the cardboard until near the top of the can base.
Our test starter burned brightly for at least 45 minutes—plenty of time to get a roaring fire going.