How can you make your fire more festive? Toss on a few colored fire pinecones! Colored fire pinecones are extremely easy to make. All you need are pinecones and one common household chemical.
Colored Fire Pinecone Materials
You can use any of the chemicals used to color flames in this project. However, boric acid is safe and gives the widest range of colors. Borax also works very well. Boric acid is a disinfectant sold in the pharmacy section of stores. Borax is a laundry booster and natural insect repellent.
- Dry pinecones
- Boric acid or borax
- Alcohol (optional)
Alcohol is not necessary for this project, but it is a good accelerant if you are having trouble getting your pinecones to burn, which is possible if they are still a little green. Also, alcohol burns with a blue flame, so it will add another color to the fire yet won’t overpower the other flame colors in your pinecone. Methanol is sold as Heet™ fuel treatment (avoid contact with skin). Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (e.g., from rum or vodka) work well, too.
How to Make Colored Fire Pinecones
You can prepare colored pinecones in advance to give as gifts or to burn throughout the season. If you like, you can scent the pinecones by adding a small amount of cinnamon oil or potpourri fragrance.
Method #1: This is the quick-and-easy method of getting pinecones to burn in colors. Sprinkle a little boric acid or borax powder onto the pinecone. Squirt a small amount of alcohol onto the pinecone. Light the pinecone.
Method #2: Dissolve the boric acid in a small amount of water or alcohol. Soak the pinecones in the colorant solution and allow them to dry.
See This Project in Action
Here’s a video I made when I tested the ingredients and methods for the colored fire pinecone project.
Don’t use colored fire pinecones when cooking food over a fire. The salts used as colored stay in the ashes, but it’s better safe than sorry. Also, pay attention to how the ashes are used. Plants need some boron, so a little borax or boric acid in the ashes won’t hurt your garden. As with any nutrient, too much isn’t good for plants. Copper is a common flame colorant that is present in soil, but too much damages roots. Copper sulfate also kills algae and invertebrates. So, if you use the flame colorants out camping, it’s better for the environment to stick with boric acid or borax.