My dad is kind of a pyro. He is an expert fire builder, and my parent's house always has a fire going. In the summer we do bonfires in the fire pit he dug himself and lined with rock, and the amazing chiminea they rescued from a dump is being used more often than not.
He is also not the easiest person to shop for - he pretty much buys anything he likes, and he can be picky. He was the lone panic attack I experienced when trying to figure out what I could make for him. I literally googled "crafts for men" and one of the hits I got was for pinecone fire starters. Woot!
To start with, gather as many pinecones as you will need.
Also gather a double boiler, or a cheap saucepan that will fit over another saucepan, waxed wick or twine (I used hemp garden twine for mine), a disposable muffin tin (you will recycle it, right?) and any nubs of candles you can find around your house. I went to the super-cheapy secondhand store near my parent's house and walked away with a shoebox of candles for $2. You can also use certain chemicals to produce a colored flame - salt substitute will make a violet flame, Borax makes a yellowy-green flame, and Epsom salts make a white flame. There are other chemicals that will make more colors, but I stuck to these as they seemed the least likely to make me grow a third nipple.
Set up your muffin tins with a pinecone standing up in each one. Wind the wick so it settles in between the scales and close to the center. The website that I originally looked at suggested rolling the pinecones in glue before rolling them in the additives, but I said meh and just sprinkled the additives over the pinecones. It still worked. Now in your double-boiler melt the wax. I used an old paint stirrer to make sure it came out somewhat non-lumpy. I also did my colored wax in layers - I melted red first and drizzled it over the cones, then green over that - then did a few just solid colors. Get creative. It kind of felt like getting to be a big kid playing with things I wasn't supposed to. Then just leave them to set - about an hour or so. I got a big basket from Goodwill for $1, lined it with some funky paper, piled all the cones inside and tied it up with ribbon.
They kind of came out like this, though not nearly so professional-looking (still haven't put batteries in my camera)
Wait - actually that IS my basket. Yup. And that's my fireplace, with no dog hair or beheaded Barbies on it. And if the camera was turned slightly more to the left you would have seen my spotless living room as well. That's right bitches- be intimidated!