How to Make a Gel Table Top Fire Bowl

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There are few things more cozy on a cold winter night than a warm fire in the fireplace. Humans have been huddling around campfires since before history began, both for warmth and for the sheer beauty and mystery of the flames. If you're not lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, create the same ambiance with a gel table top bowl. This fire system uses a special chemical to create a container of flames flickering from stones to give your living space a cozy feeling. Use it on a coffee table or on the patio; a gel table top fire bowl is safe on any surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceramic bowl
  • River rocks
  • Fire gel fuel
  • Ceramic plate
  • Place a ceramic bowl in the middle of a coffee table or on a patio table or mantel. Choose a spot away from plants and anything flammable. Put it where no one will brush against the bowl. The size of the bowl depends on your room design. You can use a bowl from dessert size to mixing bowl size; it's up to you and your design sense.

  • Fill up the bowl with smooth river rocks. Use commercial rocks that have been thoroughly dried. Rocks you pick up from outside can have pockets of moisture inside, and they can crack and break when the moisture turns to steam in a fire.

  • Pour fire gel fuel into the bowl over the rocks. The more fuel you add, the longer your fire will last. One liter of fuel gel usually lasts about 4 to 6 hours.

  • Light the fire with a long barbecue lighter or a fireplace match. Do not use a regular match, as you can't always see where all the gel seeps below the surface and flames can come up under your hand and burn you.

  • Put out the fire at the end of the evening by smothering it with a ceramic bowl or plate. Leave the plate on for 10 minutes to ensure all the flames are out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean out the bowl about every four times you use it by emptying the rocks and washing the bowl with regular dish soap.
  • You may want to place the fire bowl on top of a heat proof plate to keep the surface underneath the bowl from getting warm.
  • Don't drop matches into the bowl. They will cause the gel to smoke.
  • Use basic fire safety rules when using a fire gel bowl. Keep it away from drapes, paper, small children, pets and other combustible items.
  • Handle a hot bowl with care.

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