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I'm looking for something to visually represent non-combat fire magic. It needs to be small enough to carry discretely, short range (to reduce the risk of setting people on fire), cool- flames and reasonably cheap.

I don't want anything that could be remotely unsafe, even with regards to shocking people or distracting them into being unsafe, whilst still having realistic flames. I've seen flash paper but I don't know how safe that would be.

Is such a thing possible?

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"Where did the lighter fluid come from?" Local magic shops could have relevant advice. – StuperUser Jul 5 '12 at 14:16

Any sort of fire is very dangerous and should not be used. Read up on fire twirling for using fire if absolutely necessary.

You could use LED lightning to represent fire; LED lights are cheap and come in many colours. If you stick to reds, yellows, and orange, you could get good fire effects.

You could also use electroluminescent sheets (known as EL sheets) or wire. These are sheets like paper that glow when an electrical current is applied, and are quite safe. To get fire, you could cut fire shapes from a red EL sheet.

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It can be dangerous, yes, but I'm looking for save devices. Pyrotechnics don't need to be flame throwers or flares. I'm thinking about flashpaper and stuff like that. Is that stuff still too dangerous? – Pureferret Jan 9 '12 at 2:29
@Pureferret: If the device contains/uses flame and/or fuel it has the potential to set anything flammable on fire. Plan accordingly. – Daenyth Jan 9 '12 at 17:21
Agreed. 'Safe' and 'Pyrotechnics' do not belong in the same sentence. "Does not blow your hand off." is not the same thing as 'safe'. – Wesley Obenshain Jan 10 '12 at 17:46
@WesleyObenshain pyrotechnics is probably not the word I'm looking for then..... – Pureferret Jan 15 '12 at 16:47

In the past we've used small tubes packed with flour. Blowing through them gives a cloud of what looks like smoke. Lights with red and yellow gels over them make the whole scene look fire-ish.

It's not a great simulation, but you can blast people with them and they don't get burnt.

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Excellent suggestion! – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 18 '13 at 3:09
Do not combine with a significant heat source (hot stage lights) or open flame. Fine powders, including flour, can be surprisingly flammable. – gomad Feb 18 '13 at 7:35
Flour sounds like it would be pretty messy and a pain in the butt to clean up. Maybe a fog machine with the lighting scheme you mentioned would be a better idea? – Joe Bedurndurn Feb 18 '13 at 13:19
True, flour is an outdoor solution. – Derek Tomes Feb 18 '13 at 19:32

If you want a flame like look you can use moving LED flame candles, these are mobile candles powered by batteries that have quasi-realistic flames in them; like these.

Or you can cut pieces of red/orange silk into flame shapes and put a small fan under them to make them flap around; there's a guide to that here.

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I know movie sets make very realistic fire using a special, thin cloth, a lightbulb and a fan; I saw a prop like this at the big prop exhibit after the first LotR movie came out. I'm not sure how hard it would be to build something like this, but it gives you another option if you wanted to make a brazier type thing. – Canageek Feb 24 '14 at 7:14

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