How to Build a Fake Campfire

Updated February 21, 2017

You can't build a real campfire indoors, but you can create a fake one that looks just as nice, warm and inviting. With a few common household materials and access to an electric outlet, you can simulate a real outdoor campfire that can be used for pretend campouts in the living room or as a prop in theatre productions. The only thing this campfire won't be able to help you with: toasting marshmallows.

Remove the top and bottom of the can with the can opener, and peel off the label if still attached.

Cut the square of silk into four large triangles, each with a 12-inch base from the four sides of the square of fabric, with scissors.

Tape the base of the four silk triangles to the inside walls of the coffee can to completely fill the can's interior. These will act as the flames.

Attach a string of red LED Christmas lights with tape to the inside of the coffee can just below the silk, and extend the plug end of the lights out the base of the coffee can. This will re-create firelight.

Set a small electric fan, such as a computer cooling fan or portable human cooling fan, to blow upward on a surface with at least 2 to 3 inches of space on the back of the fan to allow for airflow.

Arrange the coffee can on top of the fan, and plug in the fan and the lights.

Lay the empty paper towel rolls around the coffee can to resemble logs.

Unplug the fan and the lights when finished with the campfire.


Only use LED lights for this, as they burn cooler and pose less of a fire hazard than traditional incandescent Christmas lights.

Things You'll Need

  • 2.27kg. metal coffee can
  • Can opener
  • 1-foot-square piece of orange or red silk
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Red LED Christmas lights
  • Small electric fan
  • 4 to 5 empty paper towel rolls
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author