Add Rainbow Colored Flames to Your Photography Using Everyday Household Items

What is it about photographers? It's no secret that a lot of us like to play with fire, fire and more fire. So to help you get more from your pyromaniac proclivities the Backyard Scientist has provided us with this DIY video teaching how to easily make different colored flames out of everyday household items. Lithium from batteries burns red, calcium chloride in Damp-Rid burns orange, sodium in table salt burns yellow, boron in roach killer burns green, methanol burns blue all by itself, and potassium in No-salt burns purple.

Today I am going to show you how to make rainbow colored flames out of household materials. What's your favorite color??? -Backyard Scientist

This was just too cool not to share and I hope some of you end up using (or have already used) these simple mixtures to produce colored flames for more creative images. If so, we would love to see them. Link your works in the comments below.

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via [IFLScience]

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Federico Polese's picture

Looks a bit dangerous...

Warren Aitken's picture

That looks like it will add an awesome background effect to my night shots. Can someone telk me, with the "flamethrower" is it just a case of spraying the mixture through a standing flame?

Jennifer Kelley's picture

The flame thrower is a spray bottle spraying over a flame from a blow torch. You can do this safely with plain methanol or even vodka. That's how fire breathing works, they just spray it from their mouths instead of a bottle. Please don't try this with most of the chemicals mentioned, it would be a Darwin Award in the making.

Warren Aitken's picture

Thanks jennifer, im keen to try something like this as a backdrop for a truck shoot, i liked the colored flame idea. However the darwin comment scares me off now. Plus its actually difficult to get hold of methanol.

B C's picture

Or you could avoid the dangers and labor of gathering and mixing chemicals and just use luminosity masks and curves/selective color adjustment layers in Photoshop. Given that most of these images would be taken with stark contrast, I'm assuming it would only take about a minute (using actions) to get the color you wanted in post (putting any argument regarding "get it right in camera" aside).

Jennifer Kelley's picture

Uh, burning lithium is incrediby bad for your respiratory system. The fumes are toxic. I can't imagine we are better off burning damp rid and roach poison either. Not to mention the whole risk of explosion. I really hope my neighbors aren't burning random chemicals because it looks cool.

Peter Timmer's picture

Ok so lets all start burning toxic shit and pollute our environment even more.. :P I prefer to use photoshop, not that i would use colored flames anyway...