St. Augustine's Family Services


We have used the "camp fire" as a focus for a small group. We had prevously used a pile of sticks or nothing at all, but thought that a "real" fire would be more effective.

A real "real" fire was obviously out of the question. Apart from the danger of fire or asphyxiation, we wanted to be able to switch our "real" fire on and off. Some sort of electric light seemed obvious. It must be completely safe, both electrically and thermally.

A simple small bulb would be inadequate, as a larger light was needed to be satisfactorily visible. We did not want to use a high-powered bulb because of the heat generated. We wanted the light to be "fire-coloured" - reds, oranges, yellow - and we wanted some suggestions of sticks or other fuel to make it look like not just a light.

We were able to solve all the problems reasonably well by covering a small ( 60 watt ? ) bulb with an inverted translucent white glass bowl ( from a food mixer ). The whole affair was supported on a tray; the bowl was raised from the tray by four small supports round the circumference, leaving plenty of room for air circulation. The bowl was rigidly attached to the tray by its handles ( not shown on the diagram ).

The bowl was surrounded by pieces of "fire-coloured" cellophane paper, somewhat crumpled. Unsmoothed sticks were arranged round the bowl, lightly tied in place so that they didn't fall over when the "fire" was moved.

If you try to make one -


Click the picture for a separate version.

diagram of the construction.


We used the campfire in several of our services :

2009 December