How To Change The Color Of A Campfire

Sitting in front of a fire or enjoying the dancing flames with family and friends over good conversation is a great way to pass an evening. Adding some flair and color to the fire with everyday items will astound your guests and make them squeal with delight. Several household items change the color of a fire from standard orange and yellow to blues, greens and reds.


Things You'll Need

  • One of several chemicals listed below
  • A fire
  • Personal protective equipment

The most important and first step is read all the warnings for this article. If you do not, very bad things could happen.

Now determine what color you want to change the flame to. The options are red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, and bright white.

Here's the breakdown by color:


Any Strontium salt like Strontium Nitrate

Calcium Chloride

Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Chloride (Table Salt)

Barium salts such as Barium nitrate, Borax

Copper sulphate

Copper (II) Chloride (Campfire Blue)

Potassium Permanganate

Magnesium Sulphate

There are a few different methods you can use, they are listed below.

  • Toss dry colorants onto the flames.
  • Soak logs in an alcohol solution of colorants.
  • Soak logs in an aqueous (water) solution of colorants and allow the logs to dry.
  • Prepare pinecones, sawdust, or cork with colorants.

In general, there is no specific ratio of colorant to mix with the alcohol or water. Add as much powdered colorant as will dissolve in the liquid. Do not attempt to mix colors together – you will probably end up with a normal yellow flame. If you want multicolored fire, try adding a few different pinecones, each soaked with a single colorant, or scatter a mixture of dried colored sawdust across the fire.

How to Prepare Pinecones or Sawdust

Remember to do this procedure separately for each color. You can combine some sawdust, dry pinecones or any other absorbant material with different colorants later.

  1. Pour water into a bucket. Use sufficient water to be able to wet your pinecones, sawdust, or waste cork. (Skip to step 3 if you purchased your colorant in liquid form.)
  2. Stir in colorant until you can not dissolve any more. For sawdust or waste cork, you may also add some liquid glue, which will allow the pieces to stick together and form larger chunks.
  3. Add the pinecones, sawdust, or cork. Mix to form an even coat.
  4. Let the material soak in the colorant mixture for several hours or overnight.
  5. Spread the pieces out to dry. If desired, pinecones may be placed in a paper or mesh bag. You can spread sawdust or cork out on paper, which will also produce colored flames.

How to Prepare Logs

Follow steps 1 and 2 above and either roll a log around in the container (big container, small log) or else pour and spread the mixture onto the logs. Wear appropriate protective gloves to protect yourself. Allow them to dry. You can make your own newspaper logs by smearing colorant onto the newspaper before rolling it.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Always take care and use the appropriate protective equipment when working with chemicals or fire.
  • Keep the colorants away from children and handle them with the care and respect due to potentially hazardous chemicals. Read and adhere to any warnings listed on product labels.
  • The element sodium burns with a yellow flame. The presence of this element can overwhelm any other color. For this reason you should avoid using sodium if you are making a dry mixture.
  • If you are using alcohol-based colorants: Remember that alcohol is flammable. If you do not allow it to evaporate before use, you will get a lighter-fluid effect. Use with care!
  • You should not try to color the color of a barbecue, because although it will produce pretty flames it can also produce toxic fumes that will go into the food.