One of the most popular activities to do at the campground is having a campfire. The time spent together around a roaring fire is often where the best memories are made. Add some colour and sparkle to your next campfire with these fun DIY activities.
When chemicals burn, they produce different coloured flames. Some camping stores sell pre-packed chemicals and logs to produce a beautiful show, but you can make your own using some easy-to-find household products.
- Green flames – borax, found in the laundry aisle
- Turquoise flames - copper sulfate found in tree root killer most commonly used by plumbers (available at hardware stores)
- Orange flames – sodium chloride, also known as table salt
- Purple flames – potassium chloride which is found in water softener salt
- White flames – magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salts or sodium carbonate found in washing soda
These dry chemicals can be added straight onto a fire but be careful in case of a flare-up. Sprinkle the chemicals around the edges of the fire a little at a time until the flame changes colour. Only work with one chemical at a time in order to avoid dangerous combinations.
When burning chemicals, make sure to take appropriate safety precautions. It is important to make sure that nobody inhales the smoke since it can be more toxic than regular campfire smoke. Do not cook food over a fire that you’ve added chemicals to, either.
DIY Rainbow Fire Additions
These same chemicals can be used to make convenient flammable items that will add a rainbow of colour to your campfire. To make wax pucks, fill small paper cups with a little less than a centimeter of the desired dry chemical. Top with melted wax (you can melt down old candles for this) and stir well. Allow to harden for a few hours. When you are ready to add colour to the fire, simply throw in a prepared paper cup and enjoy.
You can also dissolve the chemicals in water and soak pinecones, cork, sawdust, or rolled paper in it. Let the items dry and then burn when desired.
Sparks and Sparkles
Rainbow flames are spectacular, but you can also add some sparkle to your fire by burning some common household items. Throw a handful of sugar into the fire to create small sparks, and powdered coffee creamer causes sparkly flashes of flames. If you happen to have access to iron fillings, these will great gold sparks while aluminum and magnesium shavings cause silver sparks.
Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the magic of a great campfire!
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