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I am going to be doing a gender reveal for my sister's pregnancy. To do this, we wanted to light a huge fire pit and throw in a chemical to change the fire into the color (red/pink for girl, blue/violet for boy).

From my research, I found that strontium chloride is the best option for red/pink and copper I chloride is the best for blue. I found that Iron Filings make great gold sparkles, as well as magnesium shavings make for a great silver spark.

It is my goal to have my sister and brother in law throw a satchel full of chemical-enriched wax pucks into the fire pit fire and have the fire first glow many different colors, a rainbow of colors until the other colors die down and the pink or blue for the gender remain.

To do this, I was going to create many wax discs with many different colored chemicals and methanol (to create a more vivid color) by first melting wax, adding methanol and the chemical, mixing and setting to dry. The pink or blue one would be the LARGEST wax puck/disc and would, hence, color the longest after the rest of the colors died down.

I was going to add all the discs and the iron filings into a satchel with the largest disc (the gender color in it's own satchel so it remains last), and then when they throw it in, it will create this spectacle.

My question is, does this sound like a viable option and experiment? Is using methanol in the wax an unnecessary step? Is it ok to mix methanol with wax? Will it still harden? How can I insure that the blues, yellows, oranges, greens will die down and the gender color (lets say RED in this case/girl), remains? How long will it take the color to shine through? How can I make sure this is done within the course of a minute or so? How much of a chemical should I use to ensure it is seen in a large fire pit (about 3-4 feet in height)?

Any further advice? Tips? Tricks?

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Colorful flame

To create a colorful flame you could just buy some packages of Colorful flame which is not toxic.

To buy it on amazon click here.


Gender part

For the gender part you could treat some sawdust with aqeous Copper(I)-chloride ($\ce{CuCl}$). Let that sawdust dry and throw it in the fire (after some time passes so they can be amused by the "Colorful fire"). It'll create a blue colour which would be great if its a boy.

However, if its a girl you could do the same thing, but instead of the Copper(I)-chloride you would use Strontium(II)-chloride ($\ce{SrCl_2}$) or Strontium(II)-nitrate ($\ce{Sr(NO_3)_2}$).

I don't know how long it'll last but it depends on how much you put in the fire. (More stuff lasts longer)



Precautions

  • Be careful! You could be burned or something could catch on fire.

  • Definitely don't breathe in the fumes from the fire.

  • Don't use methanol because its a poison if ingested.

  • And the general advice: Wear safety gear!

Sources linked here and here.

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    $\begingroup$ How is there aqueous copper(I) chloride at the needed concentration? That solid is only sparingly soluble. Copper (II) maybe? $\endgroup$ – Oscar Lanzi Apr 6 '18 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ Well I was going for the blue color, but Copper(II)-chloride will burn in a blue-greenish color. $\endgroup$ – Adinex Apr 6 '18 at 10:30

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