Color Flame Pine Cone for the Fire Place or Fire Pit
Fun for the entire family to watch those fire cones with an array of colors. Best you can teach your children basic chemistry. Enjoy them at your camping trip, or in front of a cozy fireplace while drinking hot chocolate.
You will need:
- pine cones
- gloves and eye protection
- hot water
- white glue
- large paint buckets with lid (found in the hardware store)
- painters sticks for stirring (mark the salt used on each stick)
- salts depending on the color you like to achieve.
- All salts produce a certain flame when burning. Mix the salts together and all you get is a yellow flame. So do not mix your salts.
- Wear cloves and protective eye gear at all time. Salts in water solution are acidic, and should be handled with caution.
- Fill bucket with 2 gallons of hot water, add 2 cups white glue and 1 cup of salt. Mix until all ingredients have dissolved.
- Submerge dry cones in this solution for at least 6 hours or over night. You may have to put a paver or something heavy on top to keep them submerged.
- Close up the bucket with the lid to assure that no animal gets into it, or drinks it.
- Write the solution name or color on the bucket, so you can use the remainder again. Do not pour into drain, because that would hurt the environment just like road salt does.
- Remove cones and let dry for 3 days. Do not use the oven or microwave to dry them, the fumes are nasty.
Salts to use:
Most are common household compounds and can be found at grocery stores, pet supply store, pharmacies, garden centers, or hardware stores. I will give further detail for each compound:
- Bright Red:
strontium carbonate, aquarium supply isle
- Deep Red:
boric acid, pharmacy isle
lithium carbonate, ceramic supply store
calcium chloride, or calcium sulfate, bleaching powder cleaning supply or check in aquarium supply isle, also garden center under blossom-end rot spray
Table salt (sodium chloride), non-iodized
Borax (sodium tetra borate), laundry supply isle
Epson salt (magnesium sulfate), pharmacy isle
- Bright Green:
alum (thallium), pharmacy isle
alum (copper sulfate), swimming pool supply isle
calcium chloride, moisture absorber like DampRid, hardware store
copper chloride, use to develop photos and can be found in photo supply store.
- Vitriol Blue:
copper sulfate, fungicide in garden center
Plaster of Paris, hardware or craft store
Salt substitute (potassium chloride), grocery store
Saltpeter (potassium nitrate), garden center or your local butcher
- Violet (change the mixing ratios for different violets):
3 parts potassium sulfate and 1 part potassium nitrate (saltpeter)
Chemical names to watch out for:
- chloride: for vivid colors
- chlorate: never use them very dangerous, used in explosives
- barium: green flame but it poison, can get absorbed through the skin
- nitrate: burning fumes are not healthy, use outdoors only!
- percholarate: just donít use it
- watch out for any other warning label on the salt boxes you buy.
Some web site recommend to dip the finished cones in wax to use as a fire starter with colored flames. Not such a good idea. Most waxes contain stearic acid to make them burn longer and at higher temperatures. This additive will make your cone burn with a yellow flame, thus making all your prior work useless.