Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Personal Fire Pit

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I love coming across unique and crafty blogs... this one falls in that category! Not only are there amazing crafts like the one I am about to share with you, but instructions and tips for doing things around the house - such as fixing leaking pipes! There are even some delicious recipes too   :)  

So read on, and also check out The Art of Doing Stuff

How to Make a Personal Fire Pit
For Cheap!

by Karen on September 6, 2010
My name is Karen and I haven’t lit anything on fire in 5 months.  I’m sure I deserve some sort of a chip or something for that.
You see … I’m a bit of a pyromaniac.  Technically I’m not a *real* pyromaniac I guess.  I mean, I only light things on fire that should be lit on fire.  Like kindling and hardwood and pretty much anything with Hello Kitty on it.  And of course all of  Rush’s 1980′s albums where they dabbled in “New Wave”.
We light fires in the fireplace every night here in old Casa de Karen from October until March.  6 face cords every year go flying up that chimney.  But as deep and strong as my love of the log runs, I can’t bring myself to get an outdoor firepit. Once the season for fire rolls around I want to be inside laying on the couch with a hot chocolate and a plate full of cinnamon toast on my chest.  Not outside being bitten by the limp stingers of aged mosquitos.
So what’s a pretend pyromaniac girl like me to do in September?  When it’s cool out, but not cool enough to trap myself in the house all night with my cats, convertor and fire tongs?
The Answer … The Personal Fire Pit.  (as designed by my sister … I saw hers and then immediately came home and made my own exactly like the one she made.) It’s easy and inexpensive to make plus it’s wayyyyyyy nicer than any fire pit I’ve seen for sale in actual stores.
Here we gooooooo …

Materials You Need

marine silicone - $5

cheap glass frames - $4

small rocks - $2

any kind of metal mesh - $2

gel fuel - $4

any metal planter with a lip (edge) on it - $8 (on sale)
Step #1

once you buy your planter, you need to find cheap frames with glass that will fit around the edges of your planter. i used glass document holders from the dollar store for $1 each.
Step #2 – Making a Glass Box

you need to make a glass box. so ... run a thin bead of silicone along the edge of one glass panel.

place another piece of glass over the siliconed edge

press edge into silicone and hold for a few minutes

silicone the 2nd edge, propping both sides up with anything to keep them straight until they dry.

once the silicone on the 2 sides has dried flip the box over so it looks like this.

run a thin bead of silicone along both exposed edges of glass.

gently place the final piece of glass between the 2 siliconed edges being careful *not* to smear the silicone.

now you have a box. a glass box. wasn't that easy? let the silicone dry for 15 minutes or so. go have a cookie.

don't be alarmed if your silicone squeezes out like this. clean it up with a razor once it's dried.

run a final bead of silicone around the entire edge of the glass box.

flip the box over then place siliconed edge on top of metal planter, making sure there's enough edge near the centre left over for some metal mesh to rest on it.
** DISCLAIMER!  I have used my picture frame glass over and over in this firepit WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS AT ALL!
It is sudden temperature changes that causes glass to break, not necessarily heat.    So if you were to take your  hot, hot fire pit and throw it in the freezer, chances are it would break.  Uneven heating and cooling of the glass is the secondary cause of breakage because it puts stress on the glass.  Thin glass is LESS likely to be susceptible to uneven heating and therefore less likely than thick glass to break.  This is not my opinion, it is scientific fact.
However, if you’re still frightened by this then go to a glass cutting facility and have tempered glass cut to size for your fire pit.
Also, I have purposely made this fire pit large to keep the glass away from any direct flame.  Remember to do the same.**
Step #2 – Making the Pit

now that you have the structure, it's just a matter of tweeking it a little so you can have fire.

cut a piece of mesh (i used a cheapo grill grate from dollar store) to fit *exactly* inside your glass box. it will rest on the lip of the planter.

place your opened can of gel fuel in the centre of the planter.

place as much mesh as you need to cover the entire surface of the planter, resting mesh on the small edge of planter you've left inside the glass box.

it'll look something like this.

cover mesh loosely with rocks (you need some space in between the rocks to allow for oxygen so the fire will stay lit).

you're almost done

firsty ... admire what you've done for $25.
Step #3 – Light your fire

clear the rocks away from above the gel fuel can and carefully light the gel fuel. i use an advanced technique. i light the end of a piece of spaghetti. whole wheat of course.

i would rule on survivor, provided i'm allowed to bring a piece of spaghetti.

there you have your fire pit! $25. plus as an added bonus, depending on what type of fuel you use, you can also use this fire pit *indoors*!!!
What makes this fire pit so amazing is the glass. The flames reflect against it creating dancing flames all over the place! Before I get to the final pictures with the fire pit in it’s rightful home in my back yard I wanted to let you in on a few tips.
1.  Make sure you buy gel fuel that’s meant for gel fireplaces.  Gel cooking fuel will not work because it usually only creates heat, not an actual flame.
2. Like I said, if you use a proper gel fuel (Real Flame for example) you can actually use this fire pit indoors. Be careful to place it on heat resistant fabric so it doesn’t scorch your furniture. The metal conducts the flame heat a lot!
3. Make sure your rocks are heavy for their size. Rocks that are light are full of air and may explode!
4. You can use any metal planter for this. This was on sale, so this is the one I got for this little fire pit experiment. Black metal square planters that are probably on sale at garden centres right now would look fantastic with white rocks.
5.  The gel cans last for about 3 hours, if you’d like to stop the flame earlier, just place something non flammable over the glass box to snuff out the flame.  Cans can be relit at a later date or time.


That’s it! That’s all it takes to make your own personal fire pit. $25, about an hour, and a piece of spaghetti. Oh … and a beautiful, golden, flaming match. Heh heh.

Are you going to give it a try?
Go check out the other amazing articles at The Art of Doing Stuff!



sweetybird09 said...

Very nice, I like that!

Nohemi said...

This fire pit looks amazing! And you are correct; the reflection of the flame on the glass creates a wonderful lighting effect on the place! Aside from its aesthetics value, it can also serve as a lighting fixture. Very creative and functional!

Nohemi Tutterrow

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