How To Build A Bonfire

Summer is synonymous with late nights spent in front of a perfectly lit fire! Whether you’re building a fire at camp, in a fire pit, or on the beach, there are a few simple tips you can keep in mind to make sure it burns perfectly every time. Learning how to build a bonfire is all about having the right elements and the right construction – and in this DIY GUY post, we’re going to show you how it’s done!




Here’s what you’ll need…

  • A safe place to build your fire, or a good manufactured fire pit. A ring of rocks, handmade steel pit, or re-purposed grill all work great. Make sure you don’t have any dry grass, tree branches, or other flammables in the area of your fire.
  • Tinder: think small, dry, and flammable. Dryer lint, little twigs, wood shavings, newspaper, bark, or dry pine needles all work great.
  • Kindling: stick of very dry wood ranging from 2″-5″ in length with a small circumference. These need to catch fire quickly and easily, but don’t need to burn long.
  • Fuel: logs, wood sections, and larger wood pieces that keep the fire going all night long. Grab cords cut from sustainable forests, or collect pieces from naturally fallen trees to lessen your impact on the environment.
  • Matches

Now you’re ready!

Arrange your 3 types of wood in separate piles nearby so that you can easily grab them when needed.

Here’s how to get the fire roaring…

  • Grab a handful of tinder and place it in the center of your designated fire pit. Carefully ignite it with the match. You’ll want to be ready to add more tinder pretty much immediately.
  • Keep adding tinder in small palm-fulls until you have really built up some strong flames.
  • Add a few pieces of smaller kindling. Fire needs air to burn, so put the kindling on close together but not too close. Slowly increase the size of kindling until you have a good pile that is burning very steadily.
how to build a bonfire

Kindling underneath fuel. Check out the recycled toilet tissue roll stuffed with dryer lint as a tinder source!

  • As the kindling really gets going, you can add one piece of your large fuel. Set it down gently using tongs. Once it catches, add a second, then a third, as needed depending on how large you want your fire to be. Remember that your fire needs air to burn, so don’t stack things too close together.
  • As your bonfire burns, add fuel pieces in a crisscross design to create pockets of air and lots of surface area for the fire to build on. Your fire will settle as the logs burn down, so don’t sit too close. Use a metal fire shield if your fire pit has one.

how to build a campfire

At the end of the night, make sure that your fire is completely out. Use sand or water to smother the fire, then wait for 15-20 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t re-ignite.


When you know how to build a bonfire, you’ll be the hottest person at the party! Enjoy this amazing weather, and spend as much time as you can in the great outdoors this season!



One Comment
  1. Great Article..and sorely needed.!

    I would just like to add one piece of information:

    If you decide to put out your Bonfire using Dirt or sand, please be aware that the coals from a sizable fire when buried in sand or dirt can stay hot for several days!
    ( You could restart the fire from the still smoldering coals alone.)

    Stir the Ashes thoroughly as you are covering them and if possible, douse with water as well.


    As “Smokey The Bear” says: Make sure your fire is DEAD OUT !

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