How To: Ghastly Green Fire, at Home! (And Why It Burns Green...)

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Introduction: How To: Ghastly Green Fire, at Home! (And Why It Burns Green...)

About: I am just a person who loves doing crazy and fun things... I always love to try to innovate when I can, and share any new discoveries I find... That is why I have recently started recording my shenanigans ...

Remember to read any precautions on the Borax and Methanol labels carefully before starting this experiment.

Hello, today I am going to demonstrate how to make some awesome, vividly Green colored flames, using some ingredients you can find at your local Super-Mart.

The only thing(s) you should need to buy is: (Possibly not if you already have them)

-Methanol (Methyl Alcohol) Can be found sold under the name of "Heet", it is used as a Gasline Antifreeze. It should be able to be found in any store that sells auto parts. (Comes in a yellow container.)

Note: "Iso-Heet" is not the same thing as "Heet." As it is instead Isopropanol (Isopropyl Alcohol), and this should not be used. Aside from clearly saying "Iso-Heet" on the bottle, it instead comes in a Red container so it should be easy to distinguish between the two.

-The second ingredient is simple Sodium Borate, better know as Borax. This is used as a laundry booster, and as cleaning agent. As such, it should be able to be found anywhere those items are sold.

Note: If by chance you have Boric Acid instead of Borax, you can use it instead in the same way.


Other things you'll need, but probably have already laying around:
-Scooping/Mixing Utensil (Spoon, Popsicle stick, Ect.)
-Matches/Lighter/Fire Source
-Fireproof Bowl, Preferably Metal

If you have all of these, we can move onto the next step.

Step 1: Mix the Ingredients

This step is simple, just take some of the Methyl Alcohol or "Heet" (I'm using about half a cup) and add it too your Fire-Safe bowl.

Next take some of your Borax (Also known as Sodium Borate, Sodium Tetraborate or Disodium Tetraborate) and also add it to your bowl (You could also instead use Boric acid if you have it.) I'm using a couple of spoonfuls, you should note that it doesn't take that much. You should then stir it for around for about 30 seconds.

By mixing the Disodium Borate (Borax) with the Methanol ("Heet") what we are doing is synthesizing Trimethyl Borate, which burns distinctively Green due to the presence of the Element Boron.


So after you have thoroughly mixed it up, all you have to do is light it with a Match or such. Remember, keep your hands away from where the flames will be to avoid accidentally burning yourself. If all is right, you should have some really cool green flames to look at.

After awhile though you'll more than likely start getting some Golden Yellow highlights to the flames, and then eventually they'll turn yellow all together. This is simply from the flame burning down enough that it reaches the Sodium Borate. The Sodium Borate burns distinctively yellow due to the presence of the Element Sodium. This overpowers the Green color of the Boron fairly easily.

This is why using only a little Borax is better than using a whole bunch. If you use Boric acid however, this shouldn't happen seeing as it contains no Sodium.

Welp that's it, just remember to have fun and be safe, this is playing with fire after all!

On one last note, this doesn't produce any particularly harmful fumes while burning but it will produce CO2, and large amounts of this can be bad. So just to be safe, please do this in a well ventilated area or even outside. This can also cause certain fire alarms to trigger (Ionization Fire-Alarms in particular) so unless you want a sudden scare, it's best to once again do this in a well ventilated area or outside away from any of said alarms.

Thanks again, and if you like this please show you support by Liking the video, Following/Subscribing, and commenting. It means a lot!!

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66 Discussions

Is it okay if I mix borax and 69% isopropyl alcohol together? Will it be green too?

I was trying to search for the crystals that we used to buy to sprinkle in the fireplace & campfires for Colors.
Thank You
I Love this! <3

How long do the flames last for?

I did my first instructable on green fire! I used the methanol/boric acid combination. The white stuff that looks like smoke coming off the fire is B2O3, also called boric anhydride. I got all kinds of ridiculous comments about the danger of burning methanol and boric acid. I was threatened with blindness and sterility. I like your write-up and photos! Nice job!

3 replies

Actually I just read two of your Instrutables yesterday on the lamps you made, and had read read those same comments. I think you dealt with them very well, you had nice examples and points to back yourself up. Actually If you read down a little in these comments, you'll find one of those same people trying to say the same things here.

Anyways I think it was a very cool concept you had done. And a very good Instructable, thanks for commenting!

you can use common denatured alcohol as well, probably cheaper as well.. also try soaking flammable things such as pine cones in the solution and allow to dry, then, the next time you have a campfire rolling you can toss a few in for a light show

11 replies

This stuff will not burn Green when dried, it'll burn yellow due to sodium contamination. Unless you are referring to the Trimetyl Borate itself.

And have you must be referring to Triethyl Borate, which I have not tested out before. But it's possible the stuff thy use to denature it, might be toxic to burn.

Denatured alcohol is safe to burn. Both it and heet are commonly used in the DIY alcohol camp stoves because they burn clean. Google the RUCAS.

It's my understanding is that denatured alcohol (ethanol) would give off too bright of an orange flame to see any other colors very well.

it is from my experience that denatured alcohol burns blueish and the addition of Boric acid makes it burn green, and soaking a pine cone in the solution will cause a pine cone to burn green..

one could use Isoalocohol to the same purpose, I just feel that hardware store alcohol is cheaper at the end of the day

Not necessarily, Denatured alcohol is different based on where you get it from. When you buy it from some place like a Pharmacy Store it is made as an antiseptic, if you buy it from a place that sells it as a fuel then that is what it is made for...

Based on that, it's possible for them to use different chemicals to denature the alcohol. For the antiseptic (Which is not made to be burnt) it is possible that they could add a chemical that denatures the alcohol but is not safe to burn and be inhaled, as it might be cheaper than the one that is meant to be burnt.