Colored Fire

Campfire Magic

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.


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.   I've purchased from and been happy with them.   Practice before using them at a campfire so you know how much to use and how to best apply for maximum effect.

ChemicalFlame Change
Copper ChlorideBLUE flame
Copper Sulfate
(tree root killer for plumbers)
GREEN flame
Strontium ChlorideRED flame
Potassium Chloride
(water softener salt)
PURPLE flame
Calcium ChlorideBLUE flame
Lithium ChloridePINK flame
AlumGREEN flame
Sodium Chloride
(table salt)
ORANGE flame
Magnesium Sulfate
(Epsom salts)
WHITE flame
Sugarsprinkle into fire for tiny sparks
Powder Coffee Creamerthrow a handful into the flames above the fire for small sparkly flashes
Flourtoss a small amount into flame to make a flash flame
Iron filingstoss a small bit into flame to make gold sparks
Powdered aluminumtoss a small bit into flame to make silver sparks
Magnesium shavingstoss a small bit into flame to make very bright silver sparks

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, I've created wax patties which are made just like the Wax and Woodchips fire starters on the Firestarters page.
Don't use these patties if you want sparks, just toss the dry chemical 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.

You can always use the old way of sliding a length of garden hose inside a piece of copper tubing and tossing that in the fire.

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