Flaming Torch

Create a whirling fire torch of your own. The flames spin upwards into a vortex from the rising heat and wind. Follow along to safely create a whirling fire torch yourself!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Warning

    This project was performed outdoors by adults! While older kids can watch, we do not recommend them to attempt this project on their own. Take all necessary safety precautions and make sure to have a fire extinguisher at hand.

  • Step 1

    Gather your materials!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Find a safe open area outdoors to perform this project. We found that the project worked best when it wasn't windy.

    Set your wastebasket on the turntable. Center the wastebasket as best as you can and use tape to secure it to the turntable.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Stick tape to the bottom of the beaker to adhere it to the center of the wastebasket.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Carefully pour a little lighter fluid into a second beaker.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Place a crumpled paper towel sheet in the beaker. Use tongs to coat the paper towel in fluid.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Carefully put the wet paper towel into the beaker in the wastebasket. 

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Warning

    Be careful to not drip the lighter fluid. Wash your hands after handling the wet paper towel and lighter fluid to make sure they are clean.

  • Step 7

    Now it's time to create the flames. Take all the necessary safety precautions and make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand.

    Carefully ignite the wet paper towel in the beaker with a match or lighter. As the flame catches, it should grow bigger.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Done!

    Gently spin the turntable. As you spin be careful that the wastebasket or beaker aren't knocked over.

    Stand back and watch your fire form a helix. Experiment with the spinning speeds to see how it affects the shape of the flaming tornado!

    The flame will last a few seconds and willeventually die out as the paper towel burns. Exercise all caution while the flames are live. The beaker may be very hot so use tongs to keep your fingers safe!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

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