Fire can be an exciting element for a variety of purposes, but in situations where real fire is not appropriate or safe, fake fire can be the perfect solution. During scouting trips or at-home camping trips, or on outdoor expeditions where fire is too dangerous for the environment, you can use fake fire to accomplish traditional campfire coziness without risking the dangers of real flames.
Fan the Flames
For an elaborate set-up, find a small fan that can be aimed to blow upwards--a computer fan or a small room fan works well. Anchor the fan to a base and secure a row of red and orange blinking lights a few inches above the fan. You might attach the lights to every other bar of a grill that's propped up above the fan with wooden blocks, to increase the area the light covers. To increase the amount of reflection, wrap the grill prongs in aluminium foil or cover the wooden blocks in foil before attaching the lights. On the bars without lights, attach material that will act like flames; fire-coloured silk is the best option. Experiment with the shapes that will most closely resemble fire when the fan is turned on. To create the impression of fire, turn the fan and the lights on; the blowing "flames" will glow dramatically with the light shining upward, particularly in a dark room. For convenience, mount the entire setting in a shallow fire pan and run the light cord out the back.
Tissue Paper Fire
For a less-complex fake campfire, find several small fans, then cut out strips of red, orange and yellow tissue paper and tape them to the outside of the fans. To create a glow, use flashlights or standing lamps placed behind the fans. This type of fake fire may require some manoeuvring to make the fans blow upward, and you may need to use a pile of campfire logs to disguise the set-up.
To give the effect of the tail end of the fire, when the embers are glowing, use real logs and cellophane. Find a stack of campfire wood, logs and sticks to make a real fire set-up, and place crinkled-up red and orange cellophane under it, letting the edges peek out. You might also wrap some of the smaller sticks in cellophane and allow them to lay underneath the set-up. To create a glow, curl up some red, orange, yellow or even white Christmas lights, lay them underneath your fire set-up and plug them in. The light will reflect off the cellophane, creating "embers."