How to make gel fuel fire-bowls

Updated April 17, 2017

Gel fuel fire-bowls burn clean without smoke or fumes, making them a great choice for apartments where you don't want to shoot your smoke up to the neighbours above you. Gel fuel cans are a smaller fuel source than most other options allowing you to construct a much smaller structure for your fire pit. This design takes advantage of the small size and allows you to make multiple table-top fire pits to enjoy throughout your space for added decoration.

Use a ruler to measure the height of your decorative ceramic bowl from the outside. Subtract this number from the 30 cm (12 inch) measurement of your planter, the total will be referred to as the difference.

Fill the planter with small polished rocks to the height of the difference you came up with from step 1.

Set the decorative bowl on top of the polished rocks in the centre of the planter and fill in the surrounding areas of the bowl with more polished rocks.

Pour sand over the rocks, stop when you notice sand accumulating on the top and give the planter a gentle shake so the sand makes its way down to the bottom of the planter. The sand will fill in the gaps between the rocks to hold the decorative bowl in place. Continue to fill with sand until it has reached just below the top layer of polished rocks. The polished rocks add nice decoration, so don't cover the visible top layer. The sand will also add weight to the fire bowl making it more difficult for it to be accidentally tipped over.

Add the gel fuel to your fire-bowl. Thoroughly mix the gel fuel in the canister by shaking it. Remove the label of the gel fuel canister, then remove the lid. Place the gel fuel canister in the centre of the fire bowl and light it with a long barbecue lighter.


The planter and ceramic bowl need to be decorative to add to the visual display of the fire bowl. The bowl needs to be ceramic because ceramic has a high heat tolerance. Make many of these fire bowls and use them on table tops inside or outside.


Don't leave children or animals unattended around these fire bowls.

Things You'll Need

  • 30 cm (12 inch) planter (decorative or visually appealing)
  • Ruler
  • Ceramic bowl (decorative or visually appealing)
  • Polished rocks
  • Sand
  • Gel fuel
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About the Author

Jason Cooley began writing in 2005 as the owner of a personal-training business, authoring advertising copy and business contracts. He has since served as a writer with Oral B and On Top of My Diabetes.