How to Make Green Fire

Spark a Colored Flame with This Cool Chemistry Project

Green fire
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It's easy to make brilliant green fire. This cool chemistry project requires only two household chemicals.

Green Fire Materials

  • Boric acid: You can find medical-grade boric acid in the pharmacy sections of some stores for use as a disinfectant. It is a white powder. It's not the same chemical as borax. You might try Enoz Roach Away, which is 99 percent boric acid and is sold with household insecticides.
  • Heet Gas-Line Antifreeze and Water Remover: Heet is sold with automotive chemicals or through many online retailers.
  • A metal or stoneware container
  • A lighter

Instructions for Making Green Fire

  1. Pour some Heet into the container. How much you use will determine how long your fire will burn; 1/2 cup of Heet will provide about 10 minutes of fire.
  2. Sprinkle some boric acid—about 1 to 2 teaspoons—into the liquid and swirl it around to mix it up. It won't all dissolve, so don't worry if some powder remains at the bottom of the container.
  3. Set the container on a heat-safe surface and ignite it with a lighter. 

Tips and Warnings

  • Boric acid is a relatively safe household chemical. You can rinse the residue remaining in the container down the drain.
  • This is an outdoor project. There isn't a lot of smoke produced, nor is it particularly toxic, but the heat is intense. It will set off your smoke alarm.
  • Set your container on a heat-safe surface. Do not set it on a glass patio table, and don't use any container that might shatter. Use metal or possibly stoneware, not glass, wood, or plastic.
  • Heet is primarily methanol (methyl alcohol). Try this project with other types of alcohol, such as ethanol, vodka, Everclear grain alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). You might also try other common household metal salts for different flame colors. For example, try substituting rubbing alcohol for the Heet. The result will likely be a fire that alternates from orange to blue to green. It may not be as spectacular as the Heet fire, but it will still be pretty cool.
  • The green fire could be used as a stunning Halloween decoration in a cauldron or possibly inside a jack-o'-lantern.
  • Keep the chemicals for this project out of reach of children or pets, since methanol is harmful if swallowed. Read and follow any safety precautions listed on the labels of the specific products you use.

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