How To Make Flaming Gel - Recipe

Make a Flammable Gel or Jelly

Flammable gel is the basis for a simple gel candle.
Flammable gel is the basis for a simple gel candle. Thomas Vogel, Getty Images

Use three common household ingredients to prepare a gel or jelly that you can set on fire. This is an easy fire chemistry project that you can do at home.

Flaming Gel Ingredients

  • antacid tablets - must contain at least 1000 mg calcium carbonate per tablet
  • vinegar (weak acetic acid)
  • isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) - 90% or higher is recommended*

70% isopropyl alcohol will work, but you will need to allow let the mixture from step 3 evaporate until it is a little more concentrated to make up for the extra water in the alcohol.

Prepare the Flaming Gel

  1. Crush 5 antacid tablets into a powder.
  2. Stir 50 ml (~10 tsp) of vinegar into the powder (10 ml per tablet) to make a slurry.
  3. Allow the slurry to evaporate until it is less than half its original volume. This could take about a day. If you accidentally evaporate all of the water, you can reconstitute the slurry by stirring in a small amount of water.
  4. Fill a container with about 2x the volume of however much antacid slurry you have at this point.
  5. While stirring, slowly add slurry to the alcohol to form a thickened gel. Do this slowly: If you add too much slurry, the mixture will liquefy and you won't get a gel. So, once you have a gel, don't add any more of the calcium tablet slurry mixture.
  6. Scoop up a ball of the gel and ignite it.