Colouring campfire flames

Here are some of your options:

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

In general, there is no specific proportion of colourant to mix with the water or alcohol. Add as much powdered colourant as will dissolve in the liquid (roughly a half pound colourant to a gallon of water). Do not attempt to mix colours together - you will probably end up with a normal yellow flame. If you want multicoloured fire, try adding several pinecones, each treated with a single colourant, or scatter a mixture of dried coloured sawdusts across the fire.

How to Prepare Pinecones or Sawdust
It's easy! Remember to do this procedure separately for each colour. You can combine dry pinecones or sawdust with different colourants 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 colourant in liquid form.
2. Stir in colourant until you can't 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 colourant 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 coloured 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 kitchen or other protective gloves to protect your hands.
Allow the logs to dry. If you make your own newspaper logs, you can smear colourant onto the paper before rolling it.

Points to Keep in Mind
· The element sodium burns with the usual yellow flame. The presence of this element can overwhelm any other colour. If you are making a dry mixture of colourants or coloured pinecones/sawdust, you should avoid including any colourant that has sodium in it.
· If you are using alcohol-based colourants: Remember that alcohol is flammable. If you don't allow it to evaporate before use, you will get a lighter-fluid effect. Use with care!
· Don't colour BBQ fire! The colourants may produce pretty flames, but they can also produce toxic food.
· Keep the colourants 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.

Now, here is the list of colourants. Most can be found in a grocery or dry goods store, in the laundry or cleaner section. Copper sulphate can be got from swimming pool suppliers (already in water, which is fine). Others, including strontium chloride, can be obtained from rocketry or firework suppliers.

Flame Colourants

Red : Strontium Chloride
Yellow : Sodium Chloride (table salt)
Yellowish Green : Borax
Green : Copper Sulphate
Blue : Calcium Chloride (a bleaching powder)
Violet : 3 parts Potassium Sulphate1 part Potassium Nitrate (saltpetre)
White : Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom salts)

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