How to Make Colorful Burning Pine Cones

1954

Throw a couple of these on your roaring winter fire and impress the kids.

Steps:

  1. Pour 1/2 gallon of hot water into a deep glass or plastic bowl.
  2. Dissolve 8 ounces of any one of the following chemicals in the water: alum (thallium) for a bright green flame, strontium chloride for a bright red flame, boric acid for a deep red flame, calcium for a reddish-orange flame, calcium chloride for a yellowish-orange flame, table salt for a yellow flame, borax (sodium tetraborate) for a yellow-green flame, blue vitriol (copper sulfate) or barium for a green flame, saltpeter (potassium nitrate) for a violet flame, or Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) for a white flame.
  3. Soak the pine cones in the solution for 6 hours.
  4. Dry them for at least three days in a warm, dry area on newspaper or hang in a mesh bag.

Tips:
To get the pine cones looking their best, heat them in the oven at 225 degrees F on a foil-covered cookie sheet. They will open all the way and look fuller.

Warnings:
Use only one salt or compound for color.
Be very careful handling these chemicals and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Some compounds can be poisonous if mishandled.