How to make a fake campfire for indoors

Updated April 17, 2017

Build a campfire right in your living room or in the midst of an indoor party area. Make a campfire that looks realistic, including flames and flickering lights. Whether for home enjoyment, entertaining a few friends or for a large party, a fake campfire can look realistic and cosy. With a few easy steps and inexpensive materials, you'll soon have your family or a whole roomful of guests singing around the campfire and asking for the hot dogs and marshmallows.

Place a piece of plywood on the floor where the campfire will be.

Put an aluminium fire ring or old wheel rim in the centre of the plywood. Push a small block of wood under the edge of the ring in one spot to make a space for an extension cord to slip under the ring.

Set a flat desktop-sized fan inside the ring. Situate the fan so it lies flat and will blow air upward from centre of the fake fire. Slip the end of an extension cord under the ring to plug the fan in. Set the fan speed on low.

Form a circle form a wire coat hanger. Tie strips of red, orange and yellow satin fabric around the circular hanger. Alternate colours to provide a realistic fire effect.

Place the circle of fabric strips over the centre of the fan. Use twist ties to attach the wire hanger to the grid of the fan in several places.

Put pieces of real wood in the centre of the fabric-flame ring. Place other pieces of wood outside the flame area. Leave room for air to reach the fabric flames from the fan.

Wind strings of miniature lights, like Christmas lights, around the inside and outside of the ring of cloth flames and around the pieces of wood. Use red, yellow and orange light strings. Try to mix up the colours as you weave the light strings in and out of the flames. Plug the lights into the extension cord.

Add smaller twigs to the top of the campfire to help hide the fan. Leave room for the fabric flames to move around like flickering flames.

Put pieces of wood and some rocks around the outside of the fire ring to help create a more outdoorsy look. Stack some extra pieces of wood a little way from the fake fire to simulate a wood pile, if you wish.


Burn some wood-scented incense in the room to give the odour of a burning campfire. Have some oven-toasted hot dogs in a warming pan to serve with buns and condiments. Make s'mores to add the scent of toasted marshmallows to the room.


Plan to have the fire where it's unlikely that someone will trip over an extension cord.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Aluminium fire ring or tire rim
  • Small block of wood
  • Flat desktop fan
  • Extension cord with two plug-ins
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Satin fabric
  • Twist ties
  • Wood pieces
  • Miniature lights
  • Twigs
  • Rocks
  • Wood-scented incense
  • Hot dogs
  • Warming pan
  • Hot dog buns
  • Condiments
  • S'mores
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Larry Davis has worked in the safety and environmental field since 1975, writing for "Chevron Review" and other professional magazines. He wrote monthly columns for "Heavy Equipment News" and has written safety programs and training materials. He holds two bachelor's degrees, a master's degree in safety and earned his doctorate in safety engineering, studying under professors from the University of Iowa and Texas A&M University.