How to Build a Fake Fire

    CRAFTS CLASSES
    TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY
    by Marshal M. Rosenthal

    About the Author

    Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."

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    Fire always attracts attention, but can become dangerous when ignited in a confined space. You can make a fake fire that gives the illusion of flames while preserving the safety of the room and people who are observing it. The fake fire will be well suited for use in stage performances and can be put together in a few hours using parts from a hardware store and a crafts supply store.

    Things You'll Need

    • Newspaper
    • Portable 12-volt electric drill battery
    • Red/orange MR-16 halogen bulb
    • 12-volt computer fan
    • 11-inch by 14-inch white silk fabric
    • Scissors
    • Electric wire
    • Wire cutters
    • Wire strippers
    • Microswitch
    • 8 alligator clips
    • Small trash can
    • Heat-absorbing pad
    • Duct tape
    • 12-inch long wooden rulers (2)

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    Cover your work surface with newspaper and place the halogen bulb, 12-volt drill battery and computer fan on the paper.

    Cut four 1-foot long lengths of electrical wire using the wire cutters. Strip off an inch of insulation from both ends of the wires.

    Wind the end of one of the wires around the contact lug of an alligator clip. Wind the other end of the wire around the contact lug of another alligator clip. Repeat this process for the other three wires.

    Attach the alligator clip from the end of one wire to one of the two contacts on the halogen bulb. Attach the alligator clip from the end of another wire to the other contact on the halogen bulb. The bulb should now have two alligator clip wires coming from it.

    Attach the alligator clip at the other end of one of the wires clipped to the halogen bulb to one of the two contacts on the computer fan.

    Attach the alligator clip from the end of an unused wire to the other contact on the computer fan. Attach the alligator clip at the other end of the wire you just clipped to the computer fan to one of the two contacts of the microswitch. Attach the alligator clip at the end of an unused wire to the other contact of the microswitch.

    Cut four horizontal strips out of the white silk fabric. Use duct tape to tape the fabric strips to the inside four corners of the trash can about 2 to 3 inches down from the top.

    Put the halogen bulb assembly inside of the trash can. Duct tape the heat-absorbing pad to the inside of one side of the trash can about 6 inches down from the top. Use duct tape to tape the halogen bulb to the heat-absorbing pad with the reflector facing upward. Keep the free end of the alligator clip that's attached to the halogen bulb accessible so it can attach to the battery assembly later.

    Place the two wooden rulers inside of the trash can underneath the computer fan, so that the fan is lifted off the bottom.

    Attach the alligator clip at the free end of the wire clipped to the halogen bulb to one of the two battery contacts of the portable 12-volt electric drill battery. Attach the free end of the wire clipped to the microswitch to the other battery contact of the portable 12-volt electric drill battery.

    Press the microswitch to turn on the fan and bulb to create “flames” that flutter and dance as they emerge from the trash can.

    • You can add colored cloth to the trash can to vary the colors of the "fire."
    • Do not handle the halogen bulb until after it has cooled down because it gets very hot.

    Photo Credits