Are you looking to have some fun at your next outdoor party by using torches with different colors? You can amaze and delight your guests with a variety of pretty colors flaming from your yard torches. Follow these steps and you can make colored flames and enjoy a chemistry lesson at the same time.
- Take precautions. As with any experiment involving fire and flame, make certain that you try this experiment outdoors in a safe and well ventilated area. Experiment with small amounts of the chemicals before advancing to torches at a party full of people. Have your fire extinguisher handy in case of an emergency or spill.
- Select the color you want. There are several options for getting color to your flames. The key is that different chemicals burn at different heat levels and different colors of flame. Decide what color you want so you can determine what chemical compound you need.
- Blue flame: calcium chloride
- Green flame: boric acid and methanol or copper sulfate
- Purple flame: 3 parts potassium sulfate, 1 part potassium nitrate
- White flame: Epson salts (magnesium sulfate)
- Yellow flame: table salt (sodium chloride)
3. Mix chemical with water. After selecting the color of flame you want, you must make each color one at a time. Starting with the first color, mix one part chemical colorant from above with an equal part of water. For small torches try one part equals one cup. Stir the mixture together.
4. Add sawdust. Add a third part of sawdust to soak in the mixture. Place the sawdust into the bowl with the mixture and let it soak for a few hours.
5. Mix other colors in separate containers. If you want more than one color for your flame torches go ahead and mix the other colors following the instructions in steps two and three. After the sawdust is added to each, place the mixture aside so the sawdust absorbs the mix.
6. Insert the prepared sawdust into the torch. The torch should have a small cavity for the fuel. Place the prepared sawdust into the cavity. Make sure you clean the torch if it was used before with a different fuel source. You want to be careful mixing chemicals.
7. Light the torches. When it is time for the flames go ahead and use a lighter to light the torches. You should see flames in the colors you desired.
Making a torch with colored flames can be fun as long as you take precautions to be safe. Once you have the basic colors down you can try mixing the compounds into the core of a candle or any other fire display.