Whether your aim is to be the flame of the party, or you’re looking for new ways to stay warm, eating fire could be what you’re looking to try next (though you wouldn’t dare try without finding a professional to teach you, or at least read “The Professional’s Guide to Fire Eating” – by Brian Brushwood, would you?). Of course, you can’t eat fire without fire torches; sure you can buy them online, but they’re so easy and cheap to make- and you probably already have everything you need with you at home!
What you will need:
- 2 wire coat hangers (preferably without a rubber coating, you’ll have to strip most of it off otherwise so it won’t melt all over you during performances)
- 100% cotton material for the wick (cotton batting for sewing, a tshirt but 100% cotton; polyester and other synthetics melt under heat and a melting fireball in your mouth is no fun for anyone)
- scissors (to cut the material)
- pliers (to bend the coat hangers… obviously)
- wire cutters (if you can’t seperate the hanger sides without them)
1. Separate the ends of the coat hangers (with your hands, the pliers, the wire cutters if you need them)
2. Shape a handle on one end of each hanger. The handle shouldn’t be too long; you only really need it to know where the unlit end is so you don’t accidentally drop the thing.
3. On the other end make a loop with the pliers. One big enough to push your wicking material through.
4. Cut out two strips of material of equal lengths. These will be our wicks. The strips should be about a foot long, it’s okay if it’s longer as you can always cut it short if you need to later.
5. Tie one end of a strip of material and tie it through the loop on the hanger and wrap the wick around until you get a desired length and thickness of the wick head, tie off the end at the base of the wick, and trim if needed. If you’re just beginning I’d advise to not make the wick longer than 3/4″, as anything flaming coming towards your face looks pretty large. You may have to re wrap the wick a few times to get a good wrap. Don’t forget to cover the whole of the metal loop, as hot metal in your mouth is pretty painful- and also the tightness of the wrap in a way dictates how large the flame will be (if it’s very tight it won’t hold too much fuel, but if it’s too loose it could also come apart under the weight of the fuel).
You’re training as a fire eating god (or goddess) can now begin! I once again must ask that you don’t attempt something like this without professional training, and also read “The Professional’s Guide to Fire Eating” by Brian Brushwood as it is probably the most comprehensive guide you can find on the subject in one place, going over how to eat fire, and also listing the health hazards that you face when attempting this feat, both from actually eating the fire, and also from getting the fuel in your mouth (which is something I bet you didn’t even think of until now).
Fire eating is a very visually entertaining way to pass the time, but do be careful. And if you find you don’t enjoy the thinness of the coat hanger wire, try BBQ skewers (the metal kind you’d roast marshmallows on). Be as creative, be smart. Be safe.