The Old “Paper Plate + Water + Raging Fire” Trick

It’s not so much a trick as it is a mind-blowing phenomenon. It you’ve ever gone camping with me, you’ve probably already seen it. Basically you put water in a paper plate or paper bowl — it has to be the kind made of actual paper — and you put that over a fire, and then you stand there stupefied because this is what you see…

What you just saw was bowling water with little black flakes of burned paper plate jostling around in it. Any paper that is not touched by water burns away, and the remaining paper just sits there, totally intact, right in the middle of the flames, holding its water. The water boils, gradually reducing the amount of water, and that allows the flames to eventually have their way with the whole plate. And then come the flaming marshmallows!


  • sandr1x Posted June 7, 2012 8:49 pm

    Amazing 🙂

  • Keith Posted June 8, 2012 8:10 am

    I’ve seen eggs boiled in paper cups the same way. There’s a protruding ridge around the bottom of the cup that has to be trimmed away first. It was years ago, but I think he set the cup right on the coals.

  • Jude Posted June 9, 2012 5:12 am

    I’m still looking for pins, or did they burn up?

  • Palsport Posted July 16, 2012 10:22 am

    I’ve seen this trick before, only instead of a paper plate they used a cast iron skillet, and for water they used a salmon steak. Yours looks good too though 🙂

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