Here’s a fun idea for the whole family! Create a festive fire pit with pinecones and change the color of your outdoor fire. This can be done on any special occasion. For an everyday basic fire, most are happy with the traditional cheery orange and yellow glow of a flame. But, why not make a spectacle out of it? Pinecones are the simplest way to achieve the look you’re going for. This is only to be used outdoors and on wood burning fires, but it is a great way to add a festive aura to your evening outside. To learn how to make fire color changing pinecones, read on!
Please remember to exercise the utmost caution and care when working with open fire, fire pits and chemicals. Always use and wear protective gear and follow all government issued fire bans and warnings before lighting a fire.
Pick ‘n’ Prep Your Cones
Start the process by going on an adventure. Hunt your nearest wooded area for the prettiest pinecones. If you’re not in an area where there are pinecones readily available, have no fear. They are also sold at your local craft or hobby store.
Treat Your Cones!
Set the temperature of your oven to a low 150 – 200°F. Place the pinecones that you picked from the woods onto a tray lined with tinfoil. Bake on low heat for 60 minutes, checking periodically. This dries up the bugs and sap, opening the pinecones so that they will hold your flame colorants. You do not need to do this to the ones that you bought from a store.
While the cones are baking, gather these items:
- 1 large bucket
- Rubber Gloves
- Your flame colorant
Please use caution while preparing these, some may be harmful to skin, or when ingested.
- Table salt – for yellow flames
- Borax – for yellow-green flames
- Epsom Salt – for white flames
- Boric Acid – for green flames, this can be found in the first aid isle at most drug stores (even Wal-Mart) but you may need to ask.
- Strontium chloride – for red flames, this can be found at aquarium supply stores, ask for Marine Buffer or Calcium Reactor.
- Potassium Chloride – for purple flames, available where you get water softener products.
The Final Step
With all your supplies handy, pour ½ gallon (1.9 liters, or 2 quarts) of hot water into your bucket. Add 1 cup of the colorant of your choice, and stir. Add the cones to the mix, and make sure they’re covered by the solution. Soak these for 8 hours or overnight in a safe place where people and pets can’t get to them. When done, use the tongs to place the cones on a sheet of newspaper and place them outside to dry (it’s faster). It’s best to do this right after they’re done soaking. You can do other colors for your fires too, but make sure to use a different bucket, or completely wash and dry the bucket between colors.
Now they’re ready! Place them in the fire (one at a time) and watch the pretty flames change before your eyes.
- These are intended for outdoor wood burning fireplaces and pits, not for gas or propane operated devices of any kind. Please do this outdoors and in a well-ventilated area.
- Please be very careful when handling ANY household chemicals. Although they aren’t industrial strength, they still can be harmful to children and pets.
- DO NOT mix the colors in a single batch, or while burning. Always use caution when near an open flame; chemicals can react! Place the cones on the fire yourself, do not allow children to do this.
- This is for fun and recreation ONLY. Please cook marshmallows, hot dogs or any other food on a REGULAR wood burning fire.
- Remember this is meant for an outdoor wood burning fire only – a great addition while celebrating.