How to Make a Fire Change Colors

Changing the colors of a fire, or causing the fire to suddenly send out sparks of gold or silver is an old trick. This trick has been used to scare people, emphasis a point, or just for fun. The secret is, that fire can easily change colors, depending on the material you add to it. We see this every year when we go to fireworks shows. This is  best performed outside the house with a bonfire, and obviously, this should not be attempted with an inside gas fireplace.

Many of the ingredients that you can use to create various colors are actually substances that you have around the house or that are easy to find at the grocery store. Others, however, are a little more difficult to get, and may require actually ordering them from a fireworks retailer.

If you want an instant effect in your fire, such as sparks, sugar, flour, and plain old coffee creamer will work. Sugar produces sparks, when tossed into the fire, as does the coffee creamer. A little flour thrown onto the fire makes a flash.

Iron filings, powdered aluminum shavings, and magnesium shavings also produce a flash or sparks. The iron makes gold sparks, and the aluminum and magnesium make silver sparks.

Borax, as in the clothes washer additive, makes a green flame. Epsom salts, which is magnesium sulfate, and almost everyone has around the house, will produce a white flame, and ordinary table salt, or sodium chloride will make turn the fire orange. Water softener salt, potassium chloride, will make it purple. And, for a green flame you can use alum, which was once an important kitchen ingredient when everyone make their own pickles.

While you can simply throw these ingredients into your campfire, the colored flames will last longer if you incorporate them into some other burnable substances, such as wood, wax, or pine cones. These chemicals should never be mixed, but individually you can add them to a little melted wax and produce color pellets that can be thrown into the fire. You can use some of this wax to coat pine cones. As you throw each one into the fire, you will have the surprise of finding out what color they produce. You can actually soak wood with chemical laced water, for use later.

Obviously, this is a job for the adults in the family, but the kids will love it, and it makes an ordinary campfire, extraordinary.