Do you like to play with fire? Feel a bit limited with the color choice? These guys show you how to get some different hues with salted flaming pinecones. Just by soaking pinecones in the right chemicals, you can make them burn in all sorts of colors, like green, blue, and red!
A safety note: Be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby when doing this, and don’t breath the fumes.
Step 1: Find some metal salts
Have some fun using various salts to create different colors in your fire. Change the color by adding different metal salts to a burning object. For this illustration, you’re going to be burning pinecones.
First, make a solution by dissolving metal salt(s) to water. You can research why different combinations put out different colors. For now, just use the conversion chart below as a starting point.
blue = copper chloride (CuCl2)
green = copper sulfate (CuSO4)
red = strontium chloride (SrCl2)
purple = potassium sulfate (K2SO4)
white = magnesium sulfate (MgSO4)
From our experiments, copper chloride works the best by far. It gives off a bright blue flame making your pinecones one heck of a fire show!
It’s gonna take some work to find these salts. MgSO4 is the only one you can find at a drugstore (sold as epsom salt). You’ll want to seek out pyrotechnic and photography suppliers to find the others. You can buy them either in their anhydrous or hydrated forms. It doesn’t really matter since we’ll be dissolving them in water anyways.
Also be aware that these salts are bad for you if ingested. Wash your hands after handling, and definitely don’t mix any of it into drinks. Wear gloves for additional caution.
Step 2: Prepare coloring solutions
Add metal salts to water in a glass jar to create solutions of different colors. It doesn’t matter exactly how much salt you add, just so long as it dissolves completely. Then toss some pinecones in the solution and allow them to soak 2-3 hours. We soaked them overnight because we hate the feeling of waiting.
Step 3: Dry your pinecones
After soaking, remove the pinecones from the solution with a pair of tongs. Do not touch the pinecones or the solution with your bare skin. Set them on a towel out in the sun until dry. Remember, this towel will now be soaked with harmful chemicals, so throw it out afterwards.
Wait until the pinecones are fully dry, then you’re ready for some fun!
Step 4: Set them on fire
Finally, place a pinecone onto a grill or other non-flammable space (the darker the better to help the flames stand out more). Then pull out a blowtorch device and light the pinecone with glorious, colored fire!