Add Color to Fireplace Flames for Christmas

Find out how you can add color to fireplace flames for Christmas, includes a list of chemicals and fire starting materials to use in the fireplace and instructions for creating colored fireplace flames.


| November/December 1977



Learn how to add color to fireplace flames for the holiday season.

Learn how to add color to fireplace flames for the holiday season.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Make Christmas brighter by learning how to add color to fireplace flames using chemicals soaked into fire starting materials.

The warm blaze of a fireplace has always been a special part of the holiday season . . . especially if you have some ocean driftwood (which burns with blue flames) or aged apple wood (which makes a rainbow fire) to mix in with the rest of your logs.

And if you don't happen to have access to an ocean beach or a stack of disjointed apple trees in your back yard? No problem. You can still add lively reds, blues, greens, purples, and oranges to the more usual yellows of this season's fireplace blazes. All you'll need is a little powdered boric acid (bright green), copper sulfate (green), copper chloride (blue), strontium chloride (red), lithium chloride (crimson), potassium chloride (purple), calcium chloride (orange), baking soda (yelloworange), or ordinary table salt (yellow).

Note that — except for the very common boric acid and table salt — all the inexpensive powdered chemicals listed above are either chlorides or sulfates. Do not purchase nitrates or chlorates. Chlorides and sulfates are what you want. Any wellstocked drugstore should be able to furnish you with a pound or so of most of the specified substances. If not, try one of the chemical supply houses listed in the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory.

How to Add Color to Fireplace Flames: Precautions

The chemicals specified here are not at all dangerous to work with or to burn, when they're handled properly. Still, most of us know that even the most common substance on the list-table salt-can "burn" if rubbed into the eyes or on a fresh cut. A few precautions, then, are in order:

Store all your prismatic fireplace chemicals in tightly sealed glass or plastic containers in a dry and well-ventilated place that is out of the reach of both children and pets. Prepare only as much of each coloring agent as you need at one time, wear rubber gloves when you work, and do that work outdoors. Burn all treated wood, paper, etc., only after the blaze in your fireplace has a good start and has developed a healthy draft.





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