Campfires are a beloved part of the camping experience – providing warmth, light, and a cozy gathering place for friends and family. Oh, and did we mention campfire cooking that gives us those mouth-watering, grilled treats?
A splash of color to the flames can add even more fun and magic to your campsite.
Whether you’re looking to impress your friends, create a mesmerizing ambiance, or add some whimsy to your camping trip, there are several ways to enjoy colorful campfires.
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind fire color changers, natural materials you can use to create colored flames, top picks for fire color changers, and essential safety tips to keep in mind while experimenting with colors.
So gather around the fire, and let’s get glowing!
- The science behind colorful campfires
- How to color fire
- Ready-made fire color changers
- Top picks for ready-made fire color changers
- DIY fire color changers
- Safety first: Tips for using fire color changers responsibly
- Wrapping it up
The science behind colorful campfires
Usually, campfires produce yellow and orange flames because firewood includes salts. Special chemicals work as fire color changers – if you add them to a campfire, its flames will change color.
How? These chemicals react with the heat of the fire and create colors like blue, red, or purple. Or any other you prefer.
Here’s a table of chemicals, colors they produce, and places where you can get them:
|Chemical||Where to get||Color|
|Copper chloride or calcium chloride||Road de-icer, desiccant (drying agent)||Blue flames|
|Copper sulfate||Solid root killer or liquid algae control||Turquoise flames|
|Sodium chloride or sodium carbonate||Table salt or laundry detergent substitute||Yellow flames|
|Magnesium sulfate (epsom salts)||Bath salts, soil treatment, general pharmacy||White flames|
|Strontium chloride or strontium nitrate||Emergency flare or pyrotechnics store online||Red flames|
|Lithium chloride||Lithium batteries (not recommended!) or online||Pink flames|
|Copper sulfate or boric acid||Pharmacy disinfectant||Green flames|
|Potassium chloride||Salt substitute||Purple flames|
Good news – some chemicals can easily be found in your household items. Here are some examples:
|Material||Color (or effect)|
|Powdered coffee creamer||Small sparkly flashes|
|Iron fillings||Gold sparks|
|Powdered aluminum||Silver sparks|
|Magnesium shavings||Very bright silver sparks|
How to color fire
Some fire colorants come as powders that you can sprinkle over the flames; others are liquid, so you can simply drip them onto the fire. Some, however, might need special fuel, like alcohol or paraffin, to work.
Once you have a fire colorant at hand, you can use it in these ways (depending if it’s liquid or solid):
- Sprinkle on flames.
- Dissolve in alcohol and soak logs in the liquid.
- Dissolve a colorant in water. Soak pine cones, newspapers, or cork in a liquid. When fuel dries, toss it into a burning fire.
If you’re wondering how much colorant you should add – there’s no one particular answer. How much will dissolve depends on the liquid temperature and the solubility of the chemical. The best option is to add as much solid as will dissolve in the liquid.
Keep in mind mixing different chemicals won’t give you rainbows. Use one solution at a time or toss them in different parts of the fire.
Ready-made fire color changers
Another way to add color to your campfire is to use ready-made fire color changers. A fire color changer is a packet you can throw into a campfire and enjoy colorful flames as they burn. Easy as that.
You can buy fire color changers online or at stores that sell outdoor and camping gear. They come in different colors and are very quick and easy to use.
How long fire color changers last depends on the size of the packet or tablet and the size and intensity of the fire. Smaller packets or tablets and fires will use them up faster. On average, a fire color changer packet or tablet will last about 15-30 minutes, but it can vary depending on circumstances.
They’re safe as long as they’re used as per instructions. Though keep in mind they contain chemicals that can cause severe damage to children and adults if mistaken for candies or food.
Top picks for ready-made fire color changers
If you’re up to getting store-bought fire color changers, here are our three favorite options that’ll surely be a joy:
These fire color-changing packets can give you up to one hour of colorful flames, and if you’re up for a longer color party – just toss extra one or two pockets and enjoy. The Magical Flames changers can be used in a fire pit, fireplace, or campfire.
They’re a blend of safe, non-toxic chemicals and are intended to use for smaller fires.
It’s another fantastic option for fireplaces and outdoor fires. They’ll give you long-lasting rainbow colors with any wood – all you need to do is throw 3-5 pockets to the fire. Deep orange with striking green, blue, yellow, and purple hues are just some of the colors these pockets will throw at you.
These larger, oversized packets will give you more vivid colors and long-lasting effects. 1-3 pouches will be enough to create a range of colors that’ll keep going all night long.
DIY fire color changers
If you’re feeling creative, you can make your own fire colorant home using household materials. This can be a fun and easy way to add a quick splash of color to your campfire. Here are a few DIY fire colorant ideas to get you started:
- Food coloring: A few drops can add a burst of color to your campfire. Simply add the coloring to a small amount of alcohol or other fuel, and use a pipette to drip the solution onto the flames carefully.
- Crayons: You can use crayons to add color to your campfire by melting them in a metal container and drizzling the melted wax onto the flames. Be cautious when melting crayons, as they can ignite and produce noxious fumes.
- Wax cakes: Melt some old candle wax in a double boiler and add a chemical into it. Cool the mixture and pour it into the paper cups. When it’s set, toss it into the middle of the fire. As the wax melts, you should get colorful flames.
Remember that these DIY methods may not produce as vibrant or long-lasting results as natural or chemical methods, but still can be a fun way to add some whimsy to your campfire.
Safety first: Tips for using fire color changers responsibly
Using fire color changers is in a way playing with fire. And when you play with fire – camping safety should be on the very top of your head. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Read and follow the instructions: Make sure you know what you’re doing and follow the instructions carefully. Some materials or chemicals can be dangerous if you don’t use them correctly and might produce bad smells or other harmful effects.
- Be careful when handling and applying the fire colorants: Use caution when handling and applying fire colorants, and follow all safety precautions. Use a pipette or other appropriate tool to add chemicals or solutions to the fire, and stay at a safe distance away from the flames.
- Have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby: It’s always a good idea to have a way to put out the fire quickly in case of an emergency. If you’re using natural materials or chemicals, this is especially important.
- Dispose of materials responsibly: When you’re done using the fire colorants, dispose of any leftover materials properly. Follow the instructions for safe disposal, and never leave chemicals or other dangerous materials where they can be hazardous. Most importantly, keep the leave no trace principles in mind.
It’s generally not a good idea to use fire color changers indoors, as open flames and chemicals can be dangerous in an enclosed space.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy colorful campfires without accidents. Just be careful and use common sense, and you’ll be able to create a beautiful, safe campfire.
Wrapping it up
Colorful campfires are a fun and unique way to add magic and whimsy to your camping experience. Whether you use natural materials, chemicals, or ready-made fire color changers, there are plenty of options for getting a colored fire.
Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines and use caution when handling and using any type of fire colorant. With a bit of creativity and careful planning, you can create a beautiful and memorable campfire experience that will impress your friends and family.
So head outdoors, start a campfire, and let the colors of the flame light up your campsite!