Chop up some old candles.
Place the wax in a can and into a pot of boiling water to melt the wax.
Lay out your cotton swabs on some foil. This one was poorly planned as wax spilled on to the table ><
Once melted, use pliers to lift out the can and pour onto the pads.
Don't COMPLETELY saturate them. Try to leave corners that can light easily.
Voila! It should burn for about 10 minutes like a candle, giving you a great fire source to slowly start building your fire around, adding small sticks at a time in a tipi fashion.