How to Make "Flames of the Phoenix" Colorful Pinecone Firestarters
Just like the brilliantly colored phoenix going up in flames, bright spots of color will make your fire—either in a fireplace or a campfire—even more beautiful. There are a number of ways to introduce additional colors to a fire, many that use household ingredients or other items that are inexpensive and relatively easy to obtain. Here are two very basic and easy ways that yield great results.
Rubbing Alcohol and/or Paraffin
Dissolve the boric acid in a small amount of alcohol. Soak the pinecones in the solution until well saturated, then remove to a rack or newspaper and allow to dry.
Melt paraffin over low heat and the dissolve the boric acid in it. Add the pinecones, one at a time and turn to coat. Remove to a rack or newspaper and allow to cool/harden.
Hints and Tips
Whichever method you choose, you can make large quantities at once and use them throughout the season, or perhaps give bags of treated pinecones as gifts.
When you are ready to burn them, you will get even better results (and some additional colors) if you have a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol handy and spray each pine cone before adding it to the fire.
This is a lot of fun—maybe even a little addictive… Obviously, you'll need to exercise caution if you have children (or adults who act like children) in the vicinity.
Just add a festive bag, and these make great holiday gifts!
Want More Colors? Here's How
GREEN - Boric acid, used in the methods described above, is probably your best source of green, but copper sulfate is another metal salt that produces green fire. You can usually find copper sulfate, diluted in liquid form, in products used to control algae in pools or ponds.
PURPLE - Purple flames may be produced by adding potassium chloride to the fire. Potassium chloride is sold as lite salt or salt substitute in the spice section of the grocery store.
RED - Strontium salts can be used to produce red colored fire. The quickest and easiest way to get strontium is to break open a red emergency flare, found in the automotive section of stores. These flares contain their own fuel and oxidizer, so will burn vigorously and very brightly.
WHITE - Magnesium compounds can lighten a flame color to white. You can add Epsom salts, which are used for a variety of household purposes. Epsom salts are often used as a bath soak so can usually be found in the pharmacy section of stores.
For "one stop shopping" for these chemicals, a fireworks supply company is your best bet. Skylighter.com is one option.
With all of these, it's a good idea to practice first outdoors with a campfire so you'll have an idea of how each reacts and the optimum quantities to use.