DIY

Making Colored Fire

A campfire is magical. How the coals glow and the flames flicker and the sparks pop and shower, its mesmerizing. But, you can make it even more magical with these simple tricks. It will get old if you use these all the time, but an occasional surprise makes a campfire at that special place or time something to be remembered.

Chemicals

Adding a small amount of chemicals to a hot burning fire can have an ‘Ooooh-aaaah’ effect. It’s important to do these only after all cooking has been done on the fire and when there is little wind so the smoke can rise up rather than into campers’ faces.

You may acquire these chemicals in a grocery or dry goods store, in the laundry or cleaner section. Find copper sulfate in swimming pool supplies. Epsom salts, borax, and calcium chloride may be found with laundry/cleaning supplies.

Copper Chloride, Strontium Chloride, and others my be best found at fireworks supply companies. Practice before using them at a campfire so you know how much to use and how to best apply for maximum effect.

Creating Colors and Special Effects:

  • Copper Chloride ~ BLUE flame
  • Borax (laundry) ~ LIGHT GREEN flame
  • Copper Sulfate (tree root killer for plumbers) ~ GREEN flame
  • Strontium Chloride ~ RED flame
  • Potassium Chloride (water softener salt) ~ PURPLE flame
  • Calcium Chloride ~ BLUE flame
  • Lithium Chloride ~ PINK flame
  • Alum ~ GREEN flame
  • Sodium Chloride (table salt) ~ ORANGE flame
  • Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salts) ~ WHITE flame
  • Sugar ~ sprinkle into fire for TINY SPARKS
  • Powdered Coffee Creamer ~ throw a handful into the flames above the fire for small SPARKLY FLASHES
  • Flour ~ toss a small amount into flame to make a FLASH FLAME
  • Iron filings ~ toss a small bit into flame to make GOLD SPARKS
  • Powdered aluminum ~ toss a small bit into flame to make SILVER SPARKS
  • Magnesium shavings ~ toss a small bit into flame to make very bright SILVER SPARKS
  • VIOLET ~ 3 parts Potassium sulfate, 1 part Potassium nitrate (saltpeter)

So, then how do you get the chemicals into the fire? Well, throwing the powder in gives a burst of color, but then quickly dies out. You might want to do this for special effect when telling a story. But, to make the colors last longer, you can create wax patties. Don’t use these patties if you want sparks, just toss the dry chemical on.

How To Create Wax Patties

  • Melt old candle wax in a double boiler.
  • Get a bunch of small paper dixie cups.
  • Pour about 1/4 inch of chemical into each cup.
  • Pour melted wax into the cup to just cover the chemical and quickly stir it with an unfolded paperclip or other small stir rod. This is to thoroughly coat all the chemical.

Let thoroughly cool and then peel or cut off the sides of the paper cup. I leave the paper bottom on. Toss one of these patties into the hottest part of the fire and it will melt and the show begins!

Mixing different chemicals will not make a new color. Just add one single type at a time or put different kinds in different places.

From: Camp Fire Dude

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