Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Faux Fire

It is getting closer and closer to Christmas.  Only 3 days left. Today we are having a much needed rain storm.  I could do without the high winds.  Sure to be plenty of damage in the garden when this clears.

I remember the days when we had a crackling fire in the fireplace during rainy days like today.  The smell of the fire brought back memories of past Christmases.

But, nowadays, in this part of California there aren't many days of the year that you can actually use the fireplace.  

 So I decided to make a "faux fire" screen.  I have a ceramic gel burner in front of the "fire"  if we want a flame.  Otherwise, I put a battery operated candle, in front of the faux flames, that has a timer that comes on every night.  It make my faux flame appear to be dancing like actual flames.

To make my screen I made a cardboard template of the fireplace opening  and then traced that onto a piece of MDF and cut it out with a jigsaw.

Next I painted the entire piece flat black so it would look like the sooty fireplace walls. Then I got out my acrylic craft paints and painted my faux flames.

I began by imaging the semi circle of flames and started with the outer edges of the flames using a deep dusty pinkish red.  Next I used a very bright orange towards the center.

candle with timer

Then a darker orange between the two colors. Lastly I blended the colors in various areas to simulate the dancing flames and went back with some of the black paint to darken a few areas.

When everything was dry I edged my piece with insulating foam tape that has a sticky edge, placed that edge against the board.  I bought  the roll at the local hardware big box store.  It came in black which was perfect and about the width of the MDF board.  It is the type of foam tape that is used for door edges to keep drafts out and seal around the door.

Then I just wedged the piece into the fireplace opening.  Not only does it look like we have a fire going but it also keeps the room warmer by blocking out the cold draft of air that always seems to come from the fireplace opening no matter how tightly the damper is in place.

close up of flames
You can see in the background I dry brushed some of the orange very lightly to make it appear there are distant flames farther back in the fireplace.  Have fun with your flames using very loose strokes with your brush.  Flames are very jagged and uneven.

Hope everyone is keeping warm and dry this Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas!

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