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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Samhain Activities - Colored Flames

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Now that the cooler weather has finally come to Florida we can be outside and actually not melt while we have a fire. So if you enjoy a fire as much as I do than this activity should intrigue you. Now let it be known that the preparation for this can be slightly dangerous, especially for children. So I recommend that you 1.) Exercise caution and 2.) keep your children away from it.
There are many options available to you for the coloring of flames:
  • Toss dry colorants onto the flames.
  • Soak logs in an alcohol solution of colorants.
  • Soak logs in an aqueous (water) solution of colorants and allow the logs to dry.
  • Prepare pinecones, sawdust, or cork with colorants.
There is no specific proportion for the adding of dry ingredients with liquid solutions. You basically want to add enough of the dry to completely dissolve into the wet. I recommend adding a little at a time.

Steps for preparing pinecones or sawdust
  1. Pour water into a bucket. Use sufficient water to be able to wet your pinecones, sawdust, or waste cork. Skip to step 3 if you purchased your colorant in liquid form.
  2. Stir in colorant until you can't dissolve any more. For sawdust or waste cork, you may also add some liquid glue, which will allow the pieces to stick together and form larger chunks.
  3. Add the pinecones, sawdust, or cork. Mix to form an even coat.
  4. Let the material soak in the colorant mixture for several hours or overnight.
  5. Spread the pieces out to dry. If desired, pinecones may be placed in a paper or mesh bag. You can spread sawdust or cork out on paper, which will also produce colored flames.
To do logs the steps are pretty much the same. Just remember to not BBQ with the logs and to let them dry completely.
Before I list the materials and their corresponding colors, I must stress to wear eye and hand protection. And to do the preparation outside to avoid suffocating from any fumes.
  • Yellow - Sodium chloride
  • Purple - Potassium chloride
  • Orange - Calcium chloride
  • Green - Copper sulfate
  • Red - Strontium chloride
  • Blue - Copper chloride
  • Carmine - Lithium chloride
The first four chemicals are easiest to find. Sodium chloride is, of course, common table salt. Potassium chloride is the ingredient in "no sodium" salt substitutes. Calcium chloride is the chemical in dehumidifying/moisture-absorbing products such as Damp Rid(tm). It is also found in blossom end rot spray for your tomatoes. Copper sulfate is found at hardware stores in products such as copper sulphate root killer.

Good Luck and Blessed Be!

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