How to Make a Fake Campfire Centerpiece

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Rock edging is a classic safety feature for any campfire.
Rock edging is a classic safety feature for any campfire. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Bring the wilderness indoors at your next party with a fake campfire centerpiece. The versatile table decoration fits with a camping party theme, as well as a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Halloween or caveman theme. The basic centerpiece materials, such as twigs and logs, tend to be easy to find outdoors. This means the decorative project is low-cost and relatively earth-friendly, just like a campfire should be.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Plywood
  • Handsaw
  • Craft glue
  • Rocks, medium and large
  • Tissue paper, large
  • String
  • Sticks

Measure and mark a 16-inch-wide circle on a piece of plywood. Cut out the plywood circle with the handsaw to create a base for the campfire centerpiece.

Gather one large rock, at least 10 inches wide, and set it aside to serve as the fire center. Gather several rounded rocks from the outdoors, generally about the size of an adult fist, to create the pit. Arrange the rocks around the edge of the plywood like a ring around a fire pit. Glue the rocks to the edge of the plywood and let dry.

Layer at least 18 total pieces of assorted red, orange and yellow tissue paper. Stack the layer unevenly, so that the corners point out in random directions. Place the reserved large rock in the center of the tissue paper stack. Pull the tissue paper up and around the rock, pinching the paper together at the top of the rock. Tie a piece of string around the pinched tissue paper tightly and secure in a knot.

Gather several thick sticks and small logs from the outdoors. Place the tissue-paper rock in the center of the “fire pit.” Lean the sticks and logs inward against the large rock to create a tepee shape. Wedge the bottom of the wood against the rock edging to secure.

Pull the tissue paper “flames” up between the sticks and logs, leaving a large amount of the paper sticking up from the top of the wood “tepee.” Arrange and rearrange the tissue paper flames among the wood until you create a realistic-looking fire.

Secure any loose sticks or logs with glue and let dry before you try to move the creation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a fan in the corner of the room and direct the gentle breeze toward the table to make the tissue paper move around like flickering flames.
  • Do not set the centerpiece directly on a nice tabletop, as the rough plywood may scratch the table. If you’re not using a tablecloth, place the centerpiece on sturdy brown fabric so that it looks like the campfire is sitting on dirt.

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