You can use rolled up newspapers with a brown grocery bag on the outside for the logs.
Also, the Girl Scouts make an "edible fire" with younger children. It has everything a real fire would need, only edible. You use a small cup of water instead of a bucket of water; a spoon instead of a shovel to clear the area; M&M's for the fire ring instead of rocks; shredded wheat ceral or coconut for the tinder; small pretzels for the kindling; and large pretzles or tootsie rolls for the fuel; and light it with a candy corn stuck on a toothpick instead of a match. It is a fun way to teach the girls to make a real fire.
I have decorated cakes using the small tootsie rolls as logs and red and orange tie-dye fruit roll ups cut into flames.
I'd try to find a small, quiet fan, and tape flames made of red, orange, and even some blue tissue paper in various heights to the screen on the front. When the fan is on, the flames will rise and dance. Use Christmas lights or battery operated votive candles to add light and complete the effect. If you could conceal the mechanism of the fan and lights through a stack of logs (real or made from rolled-up construction paper or cardboard painted to look like wood), it would add to the effect. If you want "rocks" around your campfire, crumple up newspaper into various sized "boulders" and use masking tape to cover the exterior with one smooth sheet of newspaper, then spray paint gray. Once dry, use a wad of paper towel dipped LIGHTLY in black paint to sponge on some texture. This is the method I used to create a faux fireplace in the childrens' room at my old job, and if you keep your "rocks," they're useful for creating faux waterfalls and streams, too.
Pile your log on top of a string of christmas lights. they make it look like they are on fire.
When I made a fake campfire, I lightly crinkled aluminum foil and placed it on the bottom, then covered it with yellow and orange celophane. The light from the room reflected against the foil and it looked like real glowing embers! It looked amazing! I used gray styrofoam to make stones to surround the campfire, and glued it all on a large round piece of cardboard. It was lightweight and easy to move. You can then lay your charred wood pieces on top of the "coals". If you spray paint the bottom of your wood lightly with silver paint, it will also reflect the glowing ember effect. All without using cords or electricity!
You can use real logs, but use a colored saran wrap or florist wrap and wrinkle it real good. then you use Christmas lights underneath the saran wrap. it glows just like a fire.
Have you ever seen those "torches"? They hang from the ceiling, a black bowl with a small fan/light that blows flickering fabric flames up. I remember seeing them on clearance everywhere and at yard sales cheap. Just remove the hanging chain(pliers) and set in "wood" like the other suggestions. Best wishes.
You can also make a base for your campfire out of real wood (or use cardboard tubes. Fabric stores usually have tubes from the decorator fabrics that are larger than other tubes. You could paint them and make them more realistic) and use tissue paper to make "flames." Just use a mixture of mostly reds, yellows, and oranges, with maybe a little blue or other colors mixed in. If you add in a flashlight lighting it from underneath, it will make it more realistic.
A small battery type fan will also make the tissue move slightly, if you can get it hidden in there! I like tissue because it keeps its shape, but it's also not expensive, but since it's not as durable as the cardboard idea, you might have to replenish your "flames" as the week progresses! Good luck with whatever you do...what a fun week you'll be having! ;-)
I think the previous idea is a good one and i would add to that use some glitter in like red orange and yellow on the flames to make them look realistic. You could also get one of those witches cauldrons the black plastic pot and then put a piece of oasis (floral foam) in the bottom and then make the flames and paint them glitter them and add a pick to the bottom and stick into the pot(campfire pot add a few logs to make it look like a fire pit and voi`la there you have it good luck!
I think that I would get a large piece of cardboard possibly unbent that you could form into a circle. Maybe a piece from a refrigerator box would do. Use staples or tape to hold it together. Draw "flames" on the cardboard and paint them in various red/orange colors to appear as fire. Cut the flame portions out of the top but leave the base in a circle so that it will stand. I would then get some real logs to place around the fake flames to make it look more like a campfire.
I hope that you get the idea I am trying to give you. I have this pictured in my head and it is difficult to type it. I'd love to know if you take my advice.
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