DIY Gel Fire

Written by karen miller
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DIY Gel Fire
Fire gel burns for a relatively long time. (fire image by Fotocie from

To start a fire, you can use a lighter or a friction device such as a fire-starter bow and wooden block. But the fire from a match or lighter or more primitive source can burn out quickly. Fire gel, by contrast, burns for a relatively long time. That makes it ideal for camping and in the catering industry to keep chaffing dishes hot. Fire gel can be made with easily obtainable ingredients.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Antacid tablets
  • Hammer
  • Plastic container
  • Drinking glass
  • Glass beaker
  • Vinegar
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Spoon

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  1. 1

    Place five antacid tablets in a plastic container and crush them into a fine powder using a hammer.

  2. 2

    Transfer the crushed powder into a drinking glass or a glass beaker.

  3. 3

    Pour 50 millilitres of clear vinegar into the glass (you’ll need 10ml for each tablet that you crushed in Step 1). Pour the vinegar slowly, as it will fizz when it comes in contact with the antacid tablets.

  4. 4

    Pick up the glass and gently move it side to side until all of the antacid powder is absorbed in the vinegar.

  5. 5

    Allow the mixture to sit until half of it evaporates; this will take about a day. The remaining compound will be a sludgy white substance.

  6. 6

    Take another glass or beaker and pour isopropyl alcohol into it. Use twice as much alcohol as the antacid compound in the other glass.

  7. 7

    Stir the isopropyl alcohol vigorously while adding the antacid compound. Add it slowly and don’t stop stirring. The compound will thicken into a gel.

  8. 8

    Place a spoonful of the compound in a fireproof ceramic or metal dish and light it.

Tips and warnings

  • Only use tablets that contain at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium carbonate per tablet.
  • Wear latex gloves to avoid getting the ingredients on your hands.
  • Wear safety goggles to avoid getting the isopropyl alcohol in your eyes.

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