How to DIY a Fake Campfire for Indoor Camping

How to Build a (Fake) Campfire

With summer winding down and cooler autumn months ahead, our Camping Series now moves indoors. That’s right! Why stop enjoying all those fun camping activities as a family? In our upcoming posts on Indoor Camping ideas, we’ll show you how you can make some clever adjustments in camping essentials, campfire grub, even camping attire (yay, PJs!) for the fall and winter season.

For now, let’s start with a pre-camping craft that the kids will have a blast making: a DIY "pretend campfire"! These 7 examples we discovered have basic similarities, but each one has a creative twist that just might work for your family.

Tips for Building an Indoor Pretend Campfire

Materials you have on hand or can find in your yard. The ages of your children. Available space for your indoor "campsite." Keep these in mind as you check out these tips.

Crafting ideas for Building an Indoor Pretend Campfire

Tip A: Use sheets of crafting felt.
Cutting flame shapes, log bark, and even stones out of felt (1) then gluing them together will give your campfire project a fun crafty spin. Great for family time!

Tip B: Use tissue paper.
Super easy to find and work with (and cheap too!), tissue paper is the most common material for a DIY campfire (2 to 7). Take yellow, orange, brown, and black sheets. Then, tear them into pieces, cut them in strips, or scrunch them up to simulate flames, sticks, or rocks.

Tip C: Use a cup or bowl as a form.
A neat idea is to use an overturned plastic cup or bowl (5) to glue the tissue scraps to. So your campfire stays in place as your happy campers gather round.

Tip D: Use real sticks, twigs, and rocks.
Nothing like natural elements (3) to add even a bit of the outdoors to your indoor campfire.

Tip E: Use cylinder shapes and paper to create "logs."
No actual twigs or sticks to gather where you live? Simulate campfire logs using pool noodles covered with wood grain contact paper (4) or brown construction paper drawn on with markers (5, 6)

Tip F: Use upcycled items as a base.
Look around at home for something to assemble your campfire on. An old CD (3) maybe? A box lid (4), a twig wreath (6) from your holiday decor, or even a small mat (7) for a larger area.

Tip G: Use flameless tea lights.
Now, for that spark of magic! Make your pretend campfire actually glow by hiding an LED tea light or two (2, 6) in among the fake flames. The kids will be thrilled!

Stay tuned for more of our Indoor Camping posts for your fall and winter family time!


1 – Felt Campfire from Joann /  2 – Rainy Day Campfire Pretend Play from One Time Through  / 3 – Campfire Craft from Mom Always Finds Out / 4 – Pretend Campfire from Pre-K Pages / 5 – Glowing Campfire Craft from Buggy and Buddy / 6 – Indoor Campfire Craft  from Making Life Blissful / 7 – Classroom Campfire via Pinterest

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