How to Make a Personal Fire Pit
For Cheap!

My name is Karen and I haven’t lit anything on fire in 5 months.  I’m sure I deserve some sort of a chip or something for that.

You see … I’m a bit of a pyromaniac.  Technically I’m not a *real* pyromaniac I guess.  I mean, I only light things on fire that should be lit on fire.  Like kindling and hardwood and pretty much anything with Hello Kitty on it.  And of course all of  Rush’s 1980’s albums where they dabbled in “New Wave”.

We light fires in the fireplace every night here in old Casa de Karen from October until March.  6 face cords every year go flying up that chimney.  But as deep and strong as my love of the log runs, I can’t bring myself to get an outdoor firepit. Once the season for fire rolls around I want to be inside laying on the couch with a hot chocolate and a plate full of cinnamon toast on my chest.  Not outside being bitten by the limp stingers of aged mosquitos.

So what’s a pretend pyromaniac girl like me to do in September?  When it’s cool out, but not cool enough to trap myself in the house all night with my cats, convertor and fire tongs?

The Answer … The Personal Fire Pit.  (as designed by my sister … I saw hers and then immediately came home and made my own exactly like the one she made.) It’s easy and inexpensive to make plus it’s wayyyyyyy nicer than any fire pit I’ve seen for sale in actual stores.

Here we gooooooo …

Materials you Need

cheap glass frames – $4

small rocks – $2

any kind of metal mesh – $2

any metal planter with a lip (edge) on it – $8 (on sale)













Step #1 – Making a Glass Box

You need to make a glass box.  To do that just run a bead of silicone around the edges of your glass, and place them together.


Do two sides first and hold them in place somehow until they dry.


Position them so your final side will be easy to silicone.


Run another bead of silicone and place your last piece of glass.


When you’re placing your glass, try to be a bit careful about it. You don’t want to smear the silicone around on the glass because it’s a HUGE pain to get off.  Just take your time.

Run a final bead of silicone all around the bottom edge of your newly created (because you’re kind of great) glass box.


Flip the box over then place siliconed edge on top of metal planter, making sure there’s enough edge near the centre left over for some metal mesh to rest on it.



P.S. This is a really old post and my photography is kind of horrifying.  If you’re still here with THIS crap photography you’ll really like the newer posts.  K.  No more sales job.


Update:  Everyone seems to be in fits over the fact that they glass will EXPLODE from the heat.  It doesn’t. I’m not going to say it never will but 1) only tempered glass EXPLODES.  This isn’t tempered glass.  2) Glass breaks through stress either from dropping it or by extreme, fast temperature changes. Neither of which you should have with this project.  3) Thin glass is less likely to break from stress than thick glass.



Step 2: Making the pit.

now that you have the structure, it’s just a matter of tweeking it a little so you can have fire.

Cut a piece of mesh (I used a cheapo grill grate from Dollar Store) to fit *exactly* inside your glass box. It will rest on the lip of the planter.

Place your opened can of gel fuel in the centre of the planter.


place as much mesh as you need to cover the entire surface of the planter, resting mesh on the small edge of planter you’ve left inside the glass box.

It’ll look something like this.









cover mesh loosely with rocks (you need some space in between the rocks to allow for oxygen so the fire will stay lit). 

Update: since writing this post originally, fire pit rocks have become available.  They’re 100% safe so you don’t need to worry about keeping the rocks away from the flame.


You’re almost done


Firsty … admire what you’ve done for $25.


Step 3 – Light your fire

Clear the rocks away from above the gel fuel can and carefully light the gel fuel. I use an advanced technique. I light the end of a piece of spaghetti. Whole wheat of course.


I would rule on Survivor, provided I’m allowed to bring a piece of spaghetti. Push the rocks away from the flame a bit (even a bit further than I show here) because some rocks can shatter when they get too hot. Or buy the fire pit rocks that are now available.


There you have your fire pit! $25. Plus as an added bonus, depending on what type of fuel you use, you can also use this fire pit *indoors*!!!

What makes this fire pit so amazing is the glass. The flames reflect against it creating dancing flames all over the place! Before I get to the final pictures with the fire pit in it’s rightful home in my back yard I wanted to let you in on a few tips.

1.  Make sure you buy gel fuel that’s meant for gel fireplaces.  Gel cooking fuel will not work because it usually only creates heat, not an actual flame.

2. Like I said, if you use a proper gel fuel (Real Flame for example) you can actually use this fire pit indoors. Be careful to place it on heat resistant fabric so it doesn’t scorch your furniture. The metal conducts the flame heat a lot!

3. Make sure your rocks are heavy for their size. Rocks that are light are full of air and may explode!

4. You can use any metal planter for this. This was on sale, so this is the one I got for this little fire pit experiment. Black metal square planters that are probably on sale at garden centres right now would look fantastic with white rocks.

5.  The gel cans last for about 3 hours, if you’d like to stop the flame earlier, just place something non flammable over the glass box to snuff out the flame.  Cans can be relit at a later date or time.







That’s it! That’s all it takes to make your own personal fire pit. $25, about an hour, and a piece of spaghetti. Oh … and a beautiful, golden, flaming match.

Update: A lot of people are having trouble finding a metal planter similar to mine. Remember you can also use terra cotta or ceramic.


  1. Connor says:

    I LOVE this. LOVE. Fire gooooooood. Love.

    Aaanyway, why marine silicone? More heat resistant, orrr? Cause I have some clear shower caulk lying around that I’d like to use up…

    • Karen says:

      Hey Connor. I say to use marine silicone because it was cheap and is perfect for something you might be leaving out in the rain. It also comes in a small tube, so it’s easy to just squeeze it out by hand. You don’t have to use a big caulking gun which would be messy. And messy is bad. Punishable in fact. If you’re shower caulking is in a small tube, go for it. Otherwise, for the $5 or so, get the marine silicone. – karen!

    • KD says:

      Any reason a glass aquarium tank couldn’t be used? With, say, a gel candle holder intended for these? I’m thinking of one of these holders which is made of something like wood and has holes for 3 candles. Something to keep the candles’ heat from conducting to the glass. Seems easier than having to build your own glass box.

  2. Jenn A says:

    Annnd… my girl crush continues.

    Will you move in with me?

    • Karen says:

      Sure thing, but you might have to fight Connor for me. Oh … and my fella. And I’m pretty sure Betty would be upset if I up and left. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. You know what … I’ve been feeling a little unsure about us lately. I … I think we need to break up.

    • donna says:

      I was thinking the same thing! I have found a new source of entertainment when things get crazy around here, every 20 minutes actually….she cooks, is handy, funny as hell and I thank all that I have found her site!!

  3. Amie says:

    Genius! Do you think you could use a ceramic planter box instead of the metal one? xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amie. I think it depends on the ceramic planter. Something that won’t explode from the heat would be fine, like terra cotta or something made of clay. Personally, I’d buy whatever was on sale! – karen

      • Suzanne Phillips says:

        wow love this and would like to leave comments. How do I do that without replying to someone else comment. Thank you

  4. Kerry says:

    Wowzers…that’s pure genius! Just my luck it’s spring here now and not much call for fire pits. Hope I can remember this in six months time 🙂

  5. Every time you post, it’s like God has spoken to me and I must run out and purchase materials to make your wonderful projects.
    Hubby wants to know where I’m putting the glowing orbs, considering we don’t have a porch, or flowerbeds, or an extension cord, or even an electric outlet in the front of the house….
    I just tell him “Be patient young one… if you build it, they will come” and he gives me a strange look and backs away slowly. I think it has something to do with the bloodshot eyes and 14 cups of tea…

  6. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for having Kare Kare! I won’t make you move away from the guy and mom, but I’d like to hang out with you. I’ll bring the chips. You inspire me every day! You’re extraordinary!

  7. Beth says:

    Hey Karen – another fabulous post!! Love the idea, love the spagetti hint!!

    Just a question – any worries about the glas exploding from the heat. Should one use tempered glass? Of course, it’s not likely to be lying around in the rright size…..

    • Karen says:

      Heck yeah, that worries me. 🙂 But not so much that I’d go out and get tempered glass which would be incredibly expensive. As long as the planter is big enough so the canned flame set in the centre has a fair amount of space around it you should be fine. But I wouldn’t want to use a can of flame in a tiny planter where your glass is right close to the flame. – karen!

      • Elanor says:

        Pretty sure that aquariums are tempered glass. You can get a small one from Walmart for under $15. *shrug*

        • klobster says:

          Not true: link

          • Gary says:

            I don’t think an aquarium would work well they are made of glass and plastic and the glass is super thin.

            • Karen says:

              Gary – Thin glass is actually better. It’s less prone to breaking than thick glass (in terms of hot/cold temperature shocks). But you’re right, an aquarium isn’t the right choice. Glass from picture frames is best glued together with silicone. ~ karen

            • Denise says:

              I want to use my 60gal aquarium for a base for a fire pit . My aquarium I
              Has no plastic and the glass is very thick, much thicker than picture frame glass. I was thinking of putting a metal planter inside of the aquarium and filling area around the planter with rock. Putting the gel heat in the metal planter and filling with more rock. What do you think.

  8. Holly says:

    Perfect Timing! I have been wanting a firepit but have putting off buying one because 1) the style was off and 2) why pay all that money if you don’t actually like it. Now I can make an awesome one for cheaper than buying an ugly one!!! The hubby will be thrilled.

  9. Amanda says:

    Wow, this is fantastic!!!

  10. Erin says:

    This is fabulous!! We live in a condo and have a balcony and I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out how we can have a bit of a fire going out there!

  11. terru clarkson farrell says:

    oh I too love all things flaming this is a great idea.Thinking it would be lovely house present for friends with summer places.

  12. Beautiful! I love it… it’s so classy and expensive looking. You’re just SOOO handy!

  13. Sera says:

    This is incredible!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    Love it!!!

  14. gf says:

    silly me I was all ready with a shovel and a bag of sand

  15. This is SO cool, I cannot stand it. I want one. But I doubt Husband would appreciate it wen I only have a million other projects to complete. I blogged about it anyways! 🙂


    • Karen says:

      Thanks so much! PLUS … you linked to my site the right way!! You didn’t post my whole post and then say “Oh … by the way … this whole thing came from “here”.” When people do that … well … no one goes to the original site to see the content. Good job! You’re an excellent webmaster! Feel free to come and roast marshamallows over my pit anytime. – karen!

  16. Evalyn says:

    I love this idea because I’m part pyro myself, but I anticipate all kinds of problems. Like off-gasing from the metal (esp. if it’s painted) and the glass and the silicone (which are not meant to be used around heat)as well as the previously mentioned shattering glass. I definately would not use this indoors.

    My alternative? A wire mesh bowl of orange salt crystals with the little light bulb glowing through. Very cozy.

  17. Linda says:

    Where could I get my hands on the same planter as yours?
    All I could find online is
    and it’s a bit too modern than what I want

    • Tamiko Lagerwaard says:

      I’d really like to know this as well…Hope you let us know!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Linda and Tamiko! I’m afraid you probably won’t be able to find a planter exactly like mine. I got mine at a small local store that sells all kinds of things. If you keep looking you’ll be able to find something similar at a garden centre though. Or even Homesense (Homegoods). I recently found a planter the same colour as my original one, but in clay. Don’t forget you can use clay as opposed to metal. Good luck! ~ karen

  18. Kate says:

    Hey Karen – Love this project, thinking I will make one as a gift for my dad, he’d just adore it!

    Are you worried about the center of the grate burning away and creating a big hole? It looks pretty molten already…

    Great blog! I stop by often 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kate! The grate goes red *instantly*. But then it’s fine. Doesn’t burn away. However, if after many uses it *does* burn away, it’s no big whoop to remove the rocks and replace the grate. – karen

  19. Zina says:

    Whoa. Way cool, Karen! Am going to have to start looking for the parts.

    Here in the UK, I will add a step, tho, and make sure there’s holes in the bottom of the planter, so the innards don’t float away on the rainwater collected…which would def lead to exploding rocks!

  20. Liz says:

    Veeerrry pretty.

    Can i get a yard to place it in for $25 please?

    • Karen says:

      Well … $25 will probably buy you about 5 bags of dirt. Maybe you wanna slice those open in an unused spot of your living room. Instant backyard. Yes?

  21. That is absolutely bloody brilliant!! You are my D.I.Y Queen. Oh…thanks for the rock tip btw, I could just see the Leprechauns having a field day with that one 😉

  22. kristen says:

    In order to extinguish and re-use at a later date/time would you have to dump rocks, lift grate and cover fuel? I don’t know too much about gel fuel. And by not much I mean nothing.


    • Rachael says:

      Hi Kristen,

      I found the answer in her post:

      5. The gel cans last for about 3 hours, if you’d like to stop the flame earlier, just place something non flammable over the glass box to snuff out the flame. Cans can be relit at a later date or time.

  23. Vila says:

    You are my (and everyone else’s) idol :))) am completely in aw with this one!

    As I have a history of pyromaniacal behavior I am not worried about flames, but isnt’s boat silicone suceptable to heat? Wont it just desolve near heat at one point and the whole thing end up in some gaudi-like sculpture with broken glass all over the floor? Will ask around what would be the heat resistant alternative and let you guys know if I find something out 🙂
    Anyhow, thanks a bunch, you are fabulous!

  24. Tracy says:

    What a great project!! Where did you find the planter?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracy – I found the planter at a little shop in a strip mall near where I live. You’ll probably never find the exact same one, but just keep your eyes open. Something will pop up somewhere. Discount/junk stores for example, or a lot of planters will be on sale at garden centres right now. (in North America anyway)

  25. Dane Caldwell says:


    Another clever, stylish Canadian…oh yeah!

  26. lori says:

    OH MAN!! what a great idea. I was thinking along the same lines as GF. get the sand bags out. I love your idea!!!!!or I should say our sisters idea!! couple of question…. do you have to put the glass in?
    and what if I wanted to use wood? couldn’t i put sand in first then the wood and light it???

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori! No you don’t have to put the glass on it. It just finishes it off and helps to reflect the flame so it seems even bigger than it is. The glass really does add to it, but you can do it w/out if you want! – karen

  27. Penny says:

    I love this idea! I’m just moving into my first place and can’t wait to make it! I’ll definitely be blogging about that journey and will be sharing this post (assuming you don’t mind!) 😉


  28. Jen says:

    Do you think that you can have this indoors? Or would that not work because there’s no proper ventilation??

    I really want to do this indoors, but would worry about my apt catching on fire 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Jen, As long as you use the proper fuel (the one I’ve used for example) you can use it indoors. This particular gel fuel is meant for indoor gel fireplaces! Good luck. – karen

  29. emily li says:

    does it provide any heat?
    i’ve been thinking about doing this myself!

  30. This is absolutely AWESOME!

  31. sue says:

    Do you think you could use shells instead of the rocks?
    Which do you find first – the glass and then find a planter to fit the glass size or the planter and then find the glass to match!?
    This is a whole lot cheaper than to have the jel fireplace built in:)

  32. ¡me ha encantado!! y espero que no te moleste que lo comente en mi blog y te haga referencia. Es una idea perfecta, práctica y sencilla, como decimos por aquí un BBB (bueno, bonito y barato) que en inglés sería GPC (good, pretty and cheap) 😉

    (I loved it! and I hope you do not mind that comment on my blog and you refer. It’s a perfect idea, practical and simple, as we say around here a BBB (good, nice and cheap) that English would be GPC (good, pretty and cheap) ;-))

  33. Debbie says:

    What a great idea…saw this on design*sponge. Here in the Netherlands, everyone uses chimneas or small wood pits, and burn treated wood that stinks up the entire neighborhood. This is SO MUCH BETTER..I cannot wait to get started. Thanks!

  34. Patricia says:

    Where do you buy Gel Fuel!?

    • Karen says:

      Patricia. You can get gel fuel over the internet, at Costco sometimes and at hardware stores. Just remember, you wan’t fireplace gel fuel, not cooking fuel! I’m in Canada and I got my Real Flame Gel Fuel at Rona. – karen

  35. holly says:

    Can I just say WOW? How the heck did you think of that?!
    I love it!

  36. Donna says:

    BRILLIANT! Seriously, this is an amazing idea and so inexpensive and modern-looking too, which is a bonus! Definitely going to make one of these.

    Off to browse the rest of your site to see what other genius ideas you came up with! 🙂

  37. Jenny says:

    Totally brilliant! I am going to make this for our first anniversary. One question though? Did you get the glass and the metal planter at the same place? How do you make sure that they will fit? and can you share where you got them for cheap?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny! I think all of that info is in the post, but I will assume you were so excited over the fire pit you just missed it. LOL. The metal container was on the discount table from a small store around my house. Metal planters are on sale everywhere right now because it’s the end of the gardening season. Try your local garden centre. I bought the glass frames at Dollarama, but you could get thicker (but more expensive) glass custom cut at a glass cutting shop. I bought my planter knowing it was small enough that I’d be able to find glass to fit it. Just keep in mind that most frames come with glass that’s 5 X 7, 4 X 6 or 8 X 10. As long as your planter has an opening that’s somewhere in those measurements you’re good. You can adjust by overlapping the glass a little or extending it a bit and filling with silicone. Good luck! – karen.

  38. Jayfa says:

    Great Idea! I absolutely love it.

    It looks like it may be a bit tricky to get the old can of fuel out and put another one in. Do you think it would be possible (with a little extra time and money) to make the bottom hinged somehow?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jayfa. It really isn’t much of a pain to change the can out. You just have to remove the rocks and then remove the screen. Put a new can in, and refill it with the screen and rocks. If you were to put a hinged trap door on this planter bottom, you’d have to lift the planter over your head to open it, at which point the gel can would fall on your head. Presumably. LOL. Plus the rocks would be smashing against the glass as you held it over your head. Posing yet another problem. 🙂 If I were you I’d just keep it simple, and remove the rocks and screen. I think it’ll be easier in the long run! Good luck.

  39. Cathi says:

    On a recent road trip, somewhere between Texas and California, I saw a sign that said “Mom and Pop’s Pyro Shop”! That’s what you and I can do when we retire! Open our own pyro shops!

  40. Chase says:

    How hot does the air above the fireplace get? I’m thinking of building something like this to make use of one of Chicago’s many no-longer-functional fake fireplaces in my living room, but I’m not sure if it would be too hot. It would be about a foot away from the painted, bricked-over flue of the old fireplace, so probably not a huge deal.

  41. DzynByJules says:

    A=MAZING!!!!!! I just stumbled upon your blog, and am in total AWE! This project gives me a great idea on how to use the firepit/cooler patio table that I’ve had for years and NEVER had a fire in (let alone, cold drinks). I didn’t really want to burn wood in it, as it’s on the walk-out patio under my deck and was in fear of burning it down. Now all I have to do is head to the dollar store and get a grate and glass panes and make my own. I have the rocks from there already, saving them for just the right project, and HERE IT IS!!! I already have a cover to put out the flame and mesh dome from the pit (maybe I don’t even need to build the glass frame then, but it sure does make the fire DANCE) (slight pyro tendencies here too), so once I assemble the rest and find the gel fuel, GAME ON! I’d love to send a picture of the finished product when I’m done… thanks a million for the inspiration! You ROCK!!!!! (major girl-crush going on here too) Jules

  42. I will have to say… I have built and re-built my ourside fire pit. (That I love) But this mite just be what the screen house (its large) Needs! As we are coming into the colder months and I am sure this puts off a little heat as well. Great job! I will also share a link to you on my blog.

  43. Seul says:

    Want to thank you– my BF has been bemoaning the lack of fireplace in our little starter apt, and regulations don’t allow a firepit … gonna make this for him for his b’day *smiles*

  44. Phoebe says:

    I love it, love it, love it! I found the glass at a dollar store and one square metal planter at Lowes. It was the last one in stock. I cannot wait to make it. I only hope to find more planters.

    Thanks, Karen, for your brilliant ideas!

  45. HonestNiceWoman says:

    I LOVE this project!!! This will make a romantic Christmas Gift for My Guy. Thank you for posting!! (I found the link to this on Design Sponge.)

  46. Seul says:

    Update on the firepit: (I was the one who said I wanted to make on for the boyfriend’s b-day.) Went looking for a base, discovered NO ONE sells flower pots in October, particularly rectangle pots with a rim. Also, apparently the fire gel is semi-seasonal as well. Five stores later, amazoned the fire gel. Sixty dollars worth of it. Ok, now I’m committed to this project. Six more stores looking for square flower pots. Complete no go. Fire bowl, maybe? Back to same stores, looking for metal or clay bowl. From Tuesday Morning: large metal planter/cauldren/bowl thing. From the hardware store: can of spray paint so that bowl didn’t look like it wandered out of the 80’s. From the dollar store: multiple oven racks to use as screening. Total fail again. Square racks don’t fit into round bowls so well, even with wiresnips. But need something to hold the can in place. Several hours later: D’oh moment: filled metal bowl with dirt, hollowed out a space to hold the can. Placed a layer of river rocks around the can, they’re fairly large, so a few of the cover the edges of the can, and it doesn’t look quite so round. Fired it up, (yes, without him!) and works beautifully. Looks similar to this one:
    but at a nineth of the price. Thank you so much for the idea and the lovely tutorial … still hoping to make the square one with glass next summer. –S

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Well that sounds like quite an adventure. If you’re doing this again you can also go to the hardware store and ask for “hardware cloth”. It’s like a heavy duty version of chicken wire, that you’ll need tin snips or wire cutters to cut to size. Really cheap. You won’t need more than $1-$2’s worth. If you manage to take a picture of your creation send it along. Sounds like it was a struggle but turned out well! Congrats … hope your boyfriends loves it (and appreciates all the pain in the butt running around!) ~ karen

  47. so…i came across your project on design sponge and fell in love. I live in an apartment with a small balcony and cant wait to try this one out. My question is…. do you think the temperature difference when it starts to get around 40 degrees outside is gonna have an effect on the glass and the heat when I turn it on? I recently experienced exploding glass when I tried to make some brownies and put the hot pan on my cold sink. I would love to avoid it as much as I can.

    • Karen says:

      Oh dear. Exploding glass is such a bad way to end a batch of brownies. Oddly enough it’s really only things that are made for heat like Pyrex that explode like that with temperature change. Regular glass will usually just crack and break as opposed to explode. You should be fine with lighting your pit if it’s in 40 degree weather. The glass will gradually warm up from the flame. As long as your fire pit is as large as mine, which keeps the glass quite a ways away from the actual flame you won’t have another brownie incident. My glass gets warm but it isn’t so hot that you can’t touch it. Give it a go! I should say that if you bring the fire pit inside (which is totally doable) the Real Flame does stink a tiny bit. They say it doesn’t … but it does. The BEST part about Real Flame gel cans is they actually crackle like a fire! So try and get that brand if you can. Good luck! ~ karen

  48. If you want a cheap round fire pit, may I suggest another cheap alternative: the inside metal basket of your washing machine! This is my hubby’s trick. You can find them at places that sell used appliances. We got our for free (the washing machine it belonged to was broken). We placed it in position in the center of our backyard patio, stacked bricks around it, and it was done. Instant wood-burning fire pit!

  49. Karen says:

    Another Karen as smart and resourceful as me!!! I even have blonde hair too, but you got the pretty genes, probably bedazzled too!
    Looking forward to your emails and I am also trying to think of some glass tube that I dont have to glue over my mostly round planters. Hmmmm????!!! Keep using that noodle, so it doesnt dry out. : )

  50. So amazing! Thanks so much for sharing, it’s gorgeous!!

  51. Schafblick says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration. We made ours this weekend:

    The hardest thing is indeed to find a suitable container at the end of november. We got lucky at the third store, but we had to overlap the glass panes a little bit.

    • Karen says:

      I’m so impressed!!! Not only that you a good job, but that you did it at all! I’m impressed that a lot of the people who read this website, actually take the initiative to go out and do the “stuff” I show. Thanks for linking the picture. I love it when people send photos of their completed projects. You made my day! ~ karen!

  52. fierrry says:

    This is PERFECT! I just got a brand new loft with a beautiful deck and it’s the middle of winter (snow)! Aaahhhhhh! Soo perfect. I love you!!!!


  53. Steph says:

    Hey Karen, this is by far the best DIY project I’ve ever seen. Thanks for coming up with it.

    I found a metal planter that measures 9.75L x 7W x 4.75H inches. In your opinion, is that too small? Would the flames be too close to the glass? For comparison, what are the dimensions of your planter? Would love to avoid making the glass too hot.

    Thank you!!

  54. Jen says:

    Just the other day I was talking about how much I’d like to have the Iittala indoor fireplace that goes for a whopping $1300 — so happy I found this even better and cheaper version. And it totally fits my bargain-hunting and DIY personality. I blogged about it here — thanks for the great idea!

  55. rb says:

    looks great/easy/cheap – BUT
    what the post doesn’t tell you is that:
    1) the glass you’re going to get in most inexpensive picture frames is going to be super-thin and impossible to glue w/o breaking
    2) You can’t buy Real Flame in lots of less than 12, making a purchase of the $4 canisters $48 – oh, and you can’t find them in any store
    3) nobody seems to carry square planters (or any planters for that matter) off-season.

    • Karen says:

      rb – Sorry to hear you’ve had trouble with this but as the person who wrote this post I feel I need to defend it.

      I’ve made several of these and so have other people I’ve known. Thus far I don’t know anyone who has broken the glass while siliconing it. I’m not even sure how that’s possible w/out dropping it.
      As I stated in the post and the comment section I bought the Real Flame in single cans at my local hardware store (Rona). Obviously I can’t guarantee they are sold this way around the entire world, but it definitely is possible to buy Real Flame in single cans.
      I just left my local garden centre from getting a Christmas tree and they still had rows of metal planters for sale (at 75% off). They also had square terra cotta ones.

      So, as I said, I’m truly am sorry if you’re having trouble with this, but I felt I had to set the record straight. I do not under any circumstances post anything that is misleading or untrue.

      – karen

  56. Eve says:

    Amazing now added your site to my favs!!! Thank you for helping me fill up some of my free time! Ha well I’ll now find some for your awesome shared talent!

  57. Shauna says:

    I am an avid blog reader as well as a blogger. You are hands-down, my favorite! Great DIY projects that I would actually want in my home, funny and witty instructions/dialogue and everything laid out so nicely. I have wasted a lot of time this Friday afternoon at work – because Fridays aren’t for working, they’re just for looking pretty – at least that’s what I like to tell my bosses;) So far, they believe me.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Shauna! That’s quite a compliment. I just went and took a look at your blog. Very cute! I love the printable stuff. Well, I should let you get back to not doing work … ~ karen

  58. Soraya says:

    Hi! thanks for that idea, i was earning for a little gel fireplace, but now I will have a nicer and cheaper fireplace. Thanks for your post!!

  59. John C says:

    great idea, thanks for sharing. I like the idea of an indoor fire.

  60. Jane says:

    Hi Karen, I love this and am planning to copy it a.s.a.p – so thank you:) Do you know if it’s possible to burn alcohol in a metal container inside, rather than use the real flame gel? I would like a cheap substitute and don’t think that RF is all that different from isopropyl alcohol – though, I can’t find squat about it on the net, so I am probably way off. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Jane – I did all kinds of research on what else you could burn if you couldn’t find Real Flame and I do remember something about isopropyl alcohol. However, I also remember it wasn’t a good idea to burn it for some reason. In fact … now that I think back on it … I tried it. It burned a little as I recall, but for some reason it was “bad”. Can’t recall exactly why other than … it was bad. Sorry! LOL. If you can find it the Real Flame is worth the $2 or $3 a can. It isn’t like isopropyl alcohol. It’s a gel. It doesn’t smell too bad, plus it crackles! ~ karen!

      • Jane says:

        Thanks for your sage advice:) I will very likely follow it even though I am am sorely tempted* by this:

        *No idea why, since chemistry was never my thing!

        • Karen says:

          Jane – I watched the video! Now I wanna try it! However … like he said, it ends up being around $2 a can so it’ll end up costing around the same amount of money as buying a can of the real stuff. Looks like fun to try though! ~ karen

  61. Jacqueline says:

    I absolutely love your idea Karen and can’t wait to try it!! I’m such a pyro too! I didn’t know it was so simple to create a glass box. Now you’ve got my wheels turning with all the possibilities of what could be put inside of a glass box. Very creative!

  62. Jennifer says:

    Wow! That is so much better than the expensive ideas/pre-made ones I’ve seen! Genius!!!!! Definitely making this when we will hopefully start renting a house this summer 😀

  63. Rob says:

    Hi Karen, greetings from Ireland. I was wondering if these planters would give off much heat? Say you had one in the garden on the ground with 5 people sitting round it comfortably, without crouding it, do you think there would be much warmth?

    thanks Rob

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rob! Um, no. I’m afraid these things wouldn’t give off much heat, especially outdoors. If you want something to give heat, you’d have to have a “real” wood burning firepit. This is more of a *pretty* firepit, as opposed to a roast some marshmallows firepit. Great. Now I’m thinking about roasted marshmallows. ~ karen

  64. Jules says:

    Hi Karen- I am finally attacking this- took me a while to find a container I liked! Question for you- do you think I could use the gel fuel that comes in a bottle and just fill up an empty sterno container to burn it in? just wanted to get your take..thank you for ALL your inspiration!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jules – Yay! Glad you found a container! Chances are the gel fuel that comes in a bottle is meant for heating food. It probably won’t have any flame. If it is designed specifically for fireplaces, I don’t see any reason you couldn’t put it in a sterno container though! ~ karen

  65. Julie Cucinotta says:

    thank you for the input! Nope its not for food and does make a flame so Im going with it..hopefully i do not burn anything down..Im a but of a pyro myself!


  66. Jessica says:

    Uh…this is AMAZING! I’m SO going to do this! Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

    • Karen says:

      You’re very welcome Jessica! It is fun thing to have around! I plan on doing a variation on it this summer! Watch for it. 🙂 ~ karen

  67. Kim Tucker says:

    Love this idea. I’m thinking i may make these for Christmas Presents this year….. shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

  68. Sanjay says:

    I am a bit of a pyro myself – I WANT ONE!!!

    (also forwarded it to my brother – he is going to love this as a cheap fire safe option)

  69. Bill Grigg says:

    Hey, they featured this article on Lifehacker!

    You’ve been Lifehacked. Well done!

  70. Jaime says:

    Hey Karen…I’m wondering if you could use recycled glass instead of the rocks. Any thoughts?
    Thanks, Jaime

    • Karen says:

      Jaime – I’m gonna have to be honest with you here. I have no idea! Regardless of whether you use rocks or not, you have to be careful with whatever you use. With the rocks I make sure to keep them away from direct flame. I leave a rock free circle in the centre of the grate. I really have no idea about the properties of recycled glass. Normal glass only breaks with a change in temperature, I’m not sure about recycled glass. Sorry! ~ karen

  71. Carol-Anne says:

    Great job Karen! Do you leave yours outside all the time? If so, what do you put over it to keep all the rain we’ve been having out of it? I made one yesterday. I made a complete mess of the silicone and I’m not thrilled with my container; I think it’s a bit too high 🙁 This one will be my practice piece until I find a better planter.

    • Karen says:

      Carol-Anne – Water is a pain. For now my pit is under a covered porch. You have to take it in like you would cushions outside. I actually don’t leave mine outside all the time, I bring it in and out. ~ karen

  72. John says:

    I really want to make this, it looks amazing

  73. Sharon says:

    OMG! Thank you so very much for sharing such a cool and unexpensive idea to create a small fire pit that can decorate both indoor/ outdoor home. I can’t wait to start, and I’m sure that when my friends see it they’re gonna want one too! LUV IT 🙂

  74. mark says:

    This is well cool, bet its not that easy to build… i wish i had that in my house. so cool

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mark. And no. It’s not that easy to build. Considering it’s just a series of boxes, really. Plus, well … I’ve never built something to “structure”-like. Planter beds and decks are one thing. A building is something else entirely! ~ k

  75. Cynthia says:

    I’m in total love with this idea and your site! Where the heck have I been? I have a built in area in my living room that is meant for one of those large screen tv’s that were popular several years ago. I’ve been dreaming of turning the space into a faux fireplace. Not sure how to pull it off, but this post is great inspiration.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Cynthia! I have no idea where you’ve been, but I’m glad you found the blog. I can use all the readers I can get. Thanks for stopping by! ~ karen

  76. Erika says:

    This would look so amazing on the patio in the backyard that I will eventually get around to building. Someday. After the upper lawn is leveled away from the house. And after I collect enough stepping stones/bricks/pavers. Meanwhile, I also thought it would look really good on the patio of one of my clients, so forwared the link to her. She’s much more likely to get to it relatively immediately. Thanks!

  77. niki says:

    what are the measurements of the glass/container? this looks AWESOME! Thanks Karen!

  78. mark says:

    Grest fire place i must say

  79. Stuart says:

    Awesome fire pit, this looks amazing!

    …It makes my £100 steel one look terrible!

    The next sunny weekend I will be making one of these 🙂

    Thanks for the superb tutorial 😀

  80. Sandy says:

    Greetings, Karen, from a fellow Canuck! This idea is superb! I was hankering for a firepit like the one from solus decor (see old link): — They are from British Columbia. Pricey, of course, and then there is shipping…

    My sister is moving into her 1st house mid October… This would make an awesome housewarming present (pun intended, but true!)

    One more thought: This would add a little bit to the price, but stained glass / slumped glass places also have some very nice clear (uncoloured) glasses that come in different textures, such as waves. You could easily cut out rectangular glass with a glass cutter, or maybe they will cut out your four pieces if you ask them nicely. The textured glass on 1, or all 4 sides, might add an interesting effect.

  81. Jae8888 says:

    Love this idea. It will be assembled next weekend. Love your site and the ideas within it.

  82. Jessica says:

    Can you use it inside or will it set of the smoke detector? Or is that just dangerous anyways?

    • Karen says:

      Jessica – You can absolutely use it inside but obviously you have to be careful around it. It’s more dangerous than a candle not as dangerous as a drunk person smoking on your couch. Also the gel fuel can have a bit of an odour. ~ karen!

  83. Lisa Aurora says:

    Absolutely LOVE this. Me & my husband are definitely planning on making this. So cheap to make but it looks expensive/modern! Congrats, awesome awesome awesome!

  84. Dana says:

    That is a GREAT idea!!! I want a fire pit, but hate the smoke! Don’t really need something that gives out heat since I live in coastal Florida/ So “fire pit conflicted”. This is perfect!!

    • Karen says:

      Dana – Excellent! The other great thing about the “Real Flame” if you can find it is it crackles like a fire. I love that! ~ karen

  85. shelby says:

    Man, I tell ya, finding a square planter that is just right has been a task! The other day, I went on a “quest” to find said planter. After 5 stores with 3 kids under 4, I was waving my white flag. I ended up finding a planter that was 8X8, but that made me a little nervous. So, I got a different one that measures 12X12. And its going to be super tall because there are no planters I could find here or across the internet that were short like the one you used. 🙁 And the people at home depot and Lowes looked at me like I was from another planet when I inquired where their gel fuel in a can was. I ended up getting some off of the internet. But I am so very excited to finish this 🙂 Despite my whining. Thank you for the great idea!

  86. Jae8888 says:

    Someone asked me if you can glue flooring tile together[(5-12″X 12″) one on bottom and 4 for the sides], then add the glass panes to the top to make the tabletop firepit. I said, “Let me ask the expert and I’ll get back with you”. So,what do you think?

    • Karen says:

      Jae888 – I’m not positive, but I’m not sure you could get the tiles to be sturdy enough so that you could move it from place to place. Depends on what you use to adhere it I suppose. Other than that I can’t see any reason why floor tiles technically wouldn’t work! ~ karen

  87. Nick says:

    I could not find a square planter anywhere! I had to use my imagination and find something else that could work. I went with a 8x8x8 concrete square block. I paid $1.75 for it! I picked up 4(8×10) picture frames, The grate and the rocks at the dollar store. I used the wood frames to build a lip around the top of the block to give it a better look. I have A LOT of beer caps saved up and i’m going to stick them all around the sides of my concrete block. I also couldn’t find the gel fuel so I am using a Tiki torch flame can. It’s cheaper, burns longer, and fits perfect! Thanks for the idea Karen! I’m actually working on it now. Spent UNDER $20!

  88. Kayce says:

    hey, where the heck did you find a metal planter?

    • Karen says:

      Kayce – I found the planter at a local store. Most garden centres have metal planters now. Don’t forget you can also use terra cotta! Anything that won’t burst into flames, basically. ~ karen

  89. Jennifer says:

    We just build an enclosed porch and we need to warm it up. Does you think this will emit enough heat to warm a small room? Say 15 x 12 feet??? Its beautiful either way! I love it

    • Karen says:

      Hi jennifer! I’m afraid the pit won’t warm things up that much. 🙁 If need be however, I’ve used a very small electric fan heater in my kitchen for the past few years and those babies *really* work. Good luck! ~ karen

  90. Brittany Duncan says:

    This is so totally awesome! If I ever get a lil extra money, I am so doing this! It looks so easy and I really want a Fire Pit for the front porch. What do you think, isn’t it beautiful!?

  91. Kaitlin says:

    Do they still sell the planters around you? I have looked almost everywhere and am now currently doing everything to find one online. Just wanted to see if there was a website to the store that you found yours at.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kaitlin – No, I got the last planter like it. It was just from a small local store. Don’t forget you can use a terra cotta planter. Anything that won’t burst into flames actually. Base the size of your planter around the size of the glass you find. Good luck! ~ karen!

  92. Kaitlin says:

    Also, do you know the deminsions of your planter?

  93. Nathalie says:

    Hey Karen where did you buy your real gel? I can only find similar gels in Green Earth stores. Thanks.

  94. Kelly says:

    Hello! Do you think a very large or standard fish tank would do. I have three sitting around here and since we are NOT getting any more fish…for now.. thought I could use one of the tanks.

    You may have already answered this question in your comments. If you don’t mind will you please answer again. I’m worried about the glass breaking. But with fish tanks having tempered glass I should be okay, right?

    Thanks a bunch,

    Kelly, Raleigh, NC

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelly! Tempered glass is actually more dangerous than regular glass in terms of it “exploding”. However, having said that, as long as the tank is large enough that the flame doesn’t get close to it or touch it, it should be fine. The only problem is, doesn’t the fish tank have a bottom on it? For this to work, you need something that has only glass sides, and no bottom. ~ karen!

  95. Becky says:

    So I was thinking, if you got a metal planter deep enough you could us the little fuel you put in tiki torches. Don’t those things burn forever? They are refillable too!

    • Karen says:

      Becky – You could use paraffin oil but you do have to use it with a wick. You can’t just light it on fire. ~ karen!

      • Cheryl says:

        Idea if you cant find gel fuel: You can buy an empty one quart paint can at a local paint or home improvement store. Then take one roll of toilet paper and remove the cardboard. Squeeze the tp roll into the new clean paint can and pour rubbing alcohol over the tp till it is completely saturated. All you have to do when it burns out is add more alcohol (*The tp acts as your wick and will not burn as long as it is saturated, *do not pour more alcohol on while it’s burning already, * if you blow out the fire before all the alcohol is burned off you may need to find a way to get the paint can lid back on so the alcohol does not totally evaporate). Works great for an emergency camp stove also.

  96. Brandi says:

    This is fantastic! I made some minor adjustments and I cannot wait for it to be complete so I can use it (hopefully inside!!).

  97. Melody says:

    This is my first visit to your website, but it definately won’t be my last! I’m very impressed by, not only your super easy instructions, but also with your comment about Rush! (I can’t change the radio fast enough when they play their music!) Besides Frank Zappa, you’re the only one I’ve ever heard of that shares my opinion of them. Your good taste in music, and easy, step-by-step instructions, guarantee I’ll be coming back for more! Thanx! Melody

  98. Christopher Johnson says:

    Karen…oh Karen! This is a FANTASTIC idea and one that I will share with the Mrs. right away! We have a small backyard that will eventually be paved over with stamped concrete and I was thinking about how to incorporate some kind of warm, inviting fire element to the ambience…especially when the kiddos finally go to sleep and we are able to steal away in the backyard for a moment with some lemondrop martinis and my world famous goat cheese/spinach/sundried tomato brushetta! I can even do a couple of these (heck…why not four?) and really go over the top when we entertain! Thanks for the inspiration to once again unleash my inner Marco Stewart!!

    • Karen says:

      Hah! You’re welcome Christopher. 🙂 Don’t forget, when the time comes to make it you don’t have to use a metal planter. Anything that won’t burst into flames, like terra cotta, is fine. Happy entertaining. ~ karen!

  99. Jennifer says:

    EEKKK! I’m so excited to make this! I’m trying to find pretty (and easy) Ideas to transform my patio into a relaxing “getaway” from the kids…( The back yard is my getaway…Sad,but true.)Thank you so much for sharing this! God has given you a great talent! You’re so creative!

  100. Leanne Head says:

    People who are asking where to find a metal planter like this should try Garden Ridge if your area has them. I used to work there and we always had them and it’s about the time of year that they are on the shelves. Just a suggestion. Cute project. I have an actual in the ground fire pit but then again I have a huge yard and garden area. But for small areas this is a very crafty idea.

  101. What a great idea! It’s so modern but homey at the same time!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Page. Yup .. I made it a couple of years ago and still have it. Which is saying something! I bore easily. 🙂 ~ karen

  102. Nancy says:

    Love, love, love this! I just made one for my home! I have a question though. Do I need to cover the gel flame container between uses? If so then I have to remove all the rocks and grate. Just wondering.
    Thanks for sharing all your stylish tips! You rock!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy – I usually just let the whole cannister burn out, but unless you’re leaving it out where it can get wet in the rain, I don’t see any reason to cover it. If you’re leaving it for months it might dry out, but that’s all. If you’re looking for a way to make removing the stones and mesh easier you could try attaching a couple loops of wire to the hardware cloth and hiding it in the rocks. That way you can just pull up on the wires. Understand? I don’t think I explained that very well. ~ karen!

  103. Savannah says:

    Hi!!! I have been obsessing over this fire pit for weeks now. I knew I was gonna make this. Today I went out to buy my materials, however I can’t really get much of it until I get a metal planter. I am having one heck of a time even finding a metal planter. I checked Menards, Target, and Stein Garden’s and Gifts, to no avail. Any suggestions?

  104. Emily says:

    Great idea! Love it. I’m hoping to do this for my parents anniversary. How do you go about cutting the metal mesh? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emily – If you’re just using the cheap mesh metal grate like I used from the Dollar Store you can cut it with scissors. Yes. It’s that cheap. Alternately, you can buy sturdy hardware cloth at any hardware store for cheap as well. It’s stronger and you’d use tin snips or wire cutters for cutting it. Good luck! It’s been a few years since I made my firepit and I still love and use it every summer! ~ karen

  105. tami says:

    I live in Oregon and I can’t find any metal or ceremic planters with a lip. Help. I want to make this grrrr. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Tami – Booooo. Keep looking. You’ll find something. Now is the time to start looking around the garden centres. Someone told me they ordered one online … I’ll see if I can find out where they got it from. ~ karen!

  106. Think Quick says:

    Your idea is stupid!

    My idea is way better!

    #1. Dig a hole — FREE!

    #2. Arrange FREE rocks around lip of circle.

    #3. Gather FREE wood, insert in pit; light.

    • Karen says:

      Think Quick – Yes. That’d look fucking fantastic on a tabletop in someone’s living room. You’re a bonafide genius. ~ karen

  107. LOVE this!! It’s so clever! Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks! Just brought mine out of winter storage! I made it 2 or 3 years ago and it’s still goin’ strong. ~ karen

  108. Love this project can’t wait to start it. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynne – Thanks! Well … I wrote this post a couple of years ago … so I’ve come up with plenty since then. 🙂 ~ karen!

  109. Colleen Calvit says:

    Thanks so much to you and your sister for this wonderful idea, I just love it!!! Can’t wait to make one of my own!

  110. Mari says:

    I highlighted this awesome idea on my little blog at Thanks!

  111. Katie` says:

    I took a class on glass fusing and can agree with you completely. The only reason people use the special glass in fusing is
    a. it look pretty
    b. you need to know the COE (Coefficient of expansion) because if you layer tow glasses that expand at different rates, it will put stress on the glass and will most likely crack or even shatter.
    Your glass won’t even get hot enough for this to happen, and it’s all the same glass anyways, so it wouldn’t matter. You’re safe, and if anyone tells you any different, lay some language ju-jitsu on them about COEs.TAKE THAT!

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Thanks for the vote of confidence Katie. This sucker blew over in the wind last summer in a storm and didn’t even break. I was shocked. ~ karen!

  112. Jamie says:

    You are a stinkin’ ROCK STAR! Love your posts, love your blog, love the way your write it all out and make me think even I could do these things! I get giddy when I see there’s a new post to read! Sooo want to try this!

  113. Teri says:

    I’m so stoked! I found a pottery place that is having a going out of business sale and they had 2 of these planters for $3 each! Can’t wait to get started!

  114. adam says:

    This is such a cool idea. I went ahead and built one and purchased the “fire-glo” canisters from home depot. However, the fire-glo canisters were worthless. It produced a single blue flame about 3″ long that did not move whatsoever. It was quite pitiful actually. Does the real flame brand produce a much better and more animated flame? I’d like to try that brand but as others have stated, I can’t seem to find them locally. Anyone have experience with Pacific Decor brand? You can buy single cans of that off of for 3.50, but I don’t see many reviews.


  115. Suzanne Phillips says:

    Brandi can you post a picture of your fire pit. would like to see others

  116. jen says:

    tabletop firepit

  117. monica says:

    hi there! LOVE ur idea and the easy diy instructions you provided! (thank u :)…i managed to find everything i need to make this (took a little running around, but that’s ok, i got to see some stores i had never been in :)…here’s my dilemma – trying to ‘glue’ the glass together…what kind of surface is best, so that it doesn’t stick to the surface? (as i was lifting it from the surface, it came apart on me, cuz it was stuck to the cardboard i had placed underneath it 🙁 help!!!

    • Karen says:

      Monica – I did mine on my ceramic tile kitchen counter top. You don’t have to do it exactly like I did. You can also put all 4 panes together at once (upright) and hold them there with cans of soup or anything else that’s heavy. Then just run the bead of silicone on the inside and let it dry. If you’re worried about it sticking just don’t go allllll the way down to the bottom. Once this silicone dries, the glass box may seem wiggly, but trust me … it’ll NEVER come apart. I’ve tried, LOL. ~ karen!

  118. Charine Els says:

    Oh my goodness, I love, love, LOOOOOOOVE this!!! Gonna do it asap!!

  119. tiphaine says:

    First I would like to tell you how great is your idea!!! and second, I was wondering where did you buy your metal planter??? thank you very much.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiphaine – Thank you! I actually got my planter on sale from a small, local store. Try garden centres, places like Walmart, or smaller boutique flower shops (although anything nice is bound to be more expensive there!) ~ karen!

  120. Maria Lambert says:

    Hi Karen,
    GREAT project. I was thinking that if the bottom was open you could replace the “flame” without removing all the stones if you wanted a fire for longer than 3 hours. Was there a reason yours is enclosed? Of course it would need a fire resistant base. What are your ideas?

  121. Kelly says:

    Awesome job! Thanks for sharing!

  122. juwairiah says:

    love this idea! plan to do it within the coming weeks. Are the glass frames easy to find? Can most of these items be found at the craft store?

    • Karen says:

      Juwairiah – If you’re in Canada everything (other than the planter) can be found at Dollarama. If you’re outside of Canada most things are available at either Dollar Stores or craft stores. Good luck! ~ karen

  123. Cali says:

    Hi Karen
    I wanted to know if the little rocks from the Dollar Tree would suffice for this project or would they explode!? This is a really nice project idea. I am on a mission to create a backyard get away for me and my family! 🙂 This would be an awesome touch, thanks! Let me know what you think!

    • Karen says:

      Cali – I use dollar store rocks. Just move enough of them out of the way of direct flame and you should be safe. That way the rocks won’t get hot enough to explode. It’s wetness inside the rocks or air pockets from light rocks like sandstone. ~ karen!

  124. laura says:

    hey love this idea. would there be a way to make it so that it burns kindling instead of fuel? we have a willow tree in our back yard & it would be nice to get rid of the small branches that way.

  125. Dave says:

    for starters, do not knock Rush please. They will always rock. And secondly, there is no wood in the fire pit. not a true fire pit. sorry. 🙂 peace.

  126. dave says:

    I was kidding about the pit. But was serious about. RUSH. They are Gods. From a musician’s point of view. Just sayin. Peace

    • Karen says:

      Dave – I was actually a music journalist for years and interviewed Geddy Lee a couple of times. Even Geddy would concede there were certain errors in Rush’s musical judgement. 🙂 ~ karen

  127. Dave says:

    Ok, you got me. I’ve been a Rush fan ever since I was knee cap sized. I do believe there is no error in any of their songs and would listen to them til I’m laid to rest. And most likely thereafter. I find it very awesome that you had the opportunity to converse with such musical icons! Kudos to you, Karen.:) peace.

  128. Aleesha says:

    So recently I have become addicted to Pinterest and I found this on there. I am redoing our porch ( I’m 16, so of course I live with my mom), but this would be soo cute to set on the coffee table when I’m done. (:

    Can’t wait to see what else you have for me to do!

  129. Aleesha says:

    Sry forgot to ask in the last comment. Would be okay to put this on a wooden table?

    • Karen says:

      Aleesha – Yup, that’s fine. Just make sure your can of fuel is raised up off the very bottom of the planter with something. Set it on top of a mason jar lid, or something like that so it’s off the bottom of the planter. This will stop the bottom of the planter from heating up at all. I’m very impressed a 16 year old wants to do this. Obviously, you remind me of myself. 🙂 Good luck! ~ karen

  130. Mackenzie says:

    Hey Karen can you tell me the exact diminsions of your pot?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mackenzie – The size of the planter doesn’t matter. It any size you want as long as you can find glass to fit around it. Mine is apx. 12 x 12. Good luck. ~ karen!

  131. Mackenzie says:

    Hi karen can i get the exact dimensions of your pot you used?

  132. That is awesome and you are AMAZING!!

  133. Patti says:

    Tried this project last night and it was an epic fail. First of all, I cannot find the gel cans but did find the gel re-fill. I poured the gel into a thick glass caldle holder and after 4 minutes, the candleholder exploded. Two minutes after that, the large glass container I was using to house the glass candle holder cracked and came apart at the heated end (exploded). I’m thinking the heat source was too close to the glass container and the bottom of my “fire pit” was glass.
    Any thoughts? I took a picture but can’t attach to show you.

    • Karen says:

      Patti – You put the gel fuel in a glass candle holder? You can’t actually do that. It needs to go in an actual can. A candleholder might seem like the perfect place for it, but since a candle only has a tiny little flame and gel fuel has an entire surface on fire, it gets much hotter. Also, yes the can of fuel can’t sit on glass. The glass will heat quickly and possibly break. You need to do like I showed in the post. Gel can (in a can) raised up off the bottom of a metal or terra cotta container. Good luck! ~ karen

  134. Michael says:

    Ive been on the show Survivor and would have killed for this to have in the shelter!!! Also I would have eaten the noodle and not lit it on fire. I love this fire pit. Good job!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Michael! Hmm. Survivor US? The only Michael I remember from Survivor is the one who fell in fire. Hope that wasn’t you. And if it was, maybe you should stay away from all things fire pit related. 🙂 ~ karen!

  135. Kate says:

    WOW this is brilliant!! It looks (fairly) easy to do too – very chic! Love it!! 🙂

  136. Judy says:

    Loved this & had to make it! Especially since the planter i got on ebay not so cheap (freakin competitive bidders!!) LOL. So yea was very determined to complete! Its awesome! 🙂 wish i could post pic on here but dont know how??

  137. Ashley says:

    I am so excited to make this, I have everything I need, except the planter box, where can I find one like yours, I went to home depot, lowes, walmart etc but can’t find one that is square and has a lip anywhere!!

    • Karen says:

      Ashley – If you can cut glass or find glass that’s different sizes it doesn’t need to be square. It could be a rectangle. Also, don’t forget you can use terra cotta, or anything that won’t immediately burst into flames if the jar of fuel happens to tip. (It would be very difficult for it to tip, but just to be safe) You might have better luck at a garden center as well. ~ karen!

  138. Roger says:


    Thanks for reminding me why I love the interne. I shall now read all of your posts.


  139. Amanda says:

    Hi. i love this idea!!! I am stomped though on where to find in planter like yours!! where did you find it?

    the closest i’ve found that has edges is this one…

    will it work?
    I just love how industrial yours looks and the copper worn in finish and of course that it’s square.

    • Karen says:

      HI Amanda. Thanks! I made it a few years ago and I still love my fire pit. The planter you’ve show would work perfectly. You just have to make sure you can find glass that fits around the edge. Because the lip on the planter is fairly wide you have a fair amount of leeway in terms of the size of your glass. ~ karen!

  140. Rebecca Konig says:

    Love this idea! I live in the Palm Springs area. At the Thursday nite Street Fair there is a vendor that sells a similar fire pit in various sizes but with glass instead of rocks. They are beautiful but very expensive. I love the price of your fire pit! Thank you for the idea and the step by step easy tutorial!

  141. Judy says:

    You r Awesome Possum!! Wonderful fire!! Love your humor

  142. Sabrina says:

    I am so excited to try this! I do have a question, you mentioned in one of your comments that a fish tank would not work because it has a bottom. Does the planter box not have a bottom? Should it be hollow? THANKS!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sabrina – I mean that a fish tank can’t be used as the glass portion of the planter. So follow the directions step by step and you’ll be fine! ~ karen

  143. Mike Jacobson says:

    If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area this is an excellent source for materials. You can find all sorts of glass (many times tempered shelves are available) in all sorts of shapes (out of various light fixtures). Many other materials such as brick and tile and light globes are also available for next to nothing. Take a look and use your imagination.

  144. Martha kinney says:

    Love your project! Can this be used as a grill? How would you recommend doing that? Thanks mucho in advance!

  145. Alison says:

    Where did you get the planter from? Any suggestions online? I am having an impossible time finding glass and planter that will work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allison – I got my planter at a small shop near my house. Just look for any square or rectangular planter. Metal or clay. Tall or low. You’ll have better luck if you just try to get something like that rather than trying to copy mine too closely. That’ll just lead to frustration! 🙂 Good luck. ~ karen!

  146. cjoemama says:

    Can u use a fish tank? If its reinforced or something? Btw, this is awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  147. Chelsey says:

    Hoping to make this within the next couple weeks – one or two for our backyard (or one for inside…who knows) and one for my mother for a Christmas gift. I’m thinking though, that it might be easier in the long-run to adhere the rocks to the grate. This way, when you need to replace the fuel, you simply lift off one piece and replace instead of all the individual rocks. You could use the same clear adhesive or caulk that you use for the glass. I’ll have to look more into this and ensure whatever I use is safe in/near flame, but I think this would be very helpful when replacing the fuel. 🙂

  148. Reg says:

    This looks awesome (and looks like something expensive!) Query: Doesn’t the “any square metal planter” have to be exactly the right size to fit 8 1/2 x 11 glass? How the heck do you find one so perfect?

  149. casey says:

    hey karen,
    I had a quick question! Are there any other ways to put out the fire properly? I actually this for a gift, and when i tested it i had to put the gel out with water..any other suggestions?

    • Karen says:

      Casey – Yes. You just have to snuff it out. To do that I just put a cookie sheet on top of the whole thing. Right on top of the glass. (anything that won’t immediately burst into flames). Just leave it on top for a few seconds and you’ll deprive the fire of oxygen and it’ll go right out. ~ karen!

  150. Adam says:

    Amazing guide and excellent finish. This would work excellent for the autumn nights and summer evenings. Definitely will try and make one of these.

  151. megan says:

    Where did you buy the metal planter box from? Can’t seem to find one that i like. Thanks!! Love this idea! Goingt to make it from my Mom!! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Megan – I found the metal planter from a small, local store so you probably won’t find one like it. Your best best is to go to a garden centre. Most of them carry metal planters now and don’t forget you can use terra cotta or ceramic too. Anything square or rectangular will work. Good luck! ~ karen

  152. Priscilla says:

    Great, fun ideas! Can’t wait to try some!

  153. Abby says:

    thanks so much for sharing this! making my mom one for her birthday, she has been wanting one for ages but not willing to pay the price of the ones at the stores. also, excellent tutorial.

  154. Mari says:

    That actually looks very Romanesque outside! I think I may actually give this a go – I have a repro Roman firebox, but I use that for cooking at reenactment events. This one is far prettier! Thanks.

  155. mer says:

    Its Christmas Eve and I just found this. I have been struggling to find a gift for my boyfriend. I hope I can find everything and get it assembled in time! We won’t exchange gifts til tomorrow night so iif I can find everything I should be good. If this fails he’s getting a r shirt or something lol THANK YOU for this tutorial!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, omg you’d better hurry! Don’t forget you can use a terra cotta planter too. Anything that won’t burst into flames. ~ karen

  156. mer says:

    Mission accomplished! I had to modify a bit but I got it!

  157. Andrew says:

    Hi, Karen. So nice idea and so heart touching because of it’s simplicity! I couldn’t resist to share it with russian internet readers. Would you mind if I translate it to Russian and post on my blog? You can check it here, and, of course, I put backlinks to your blog there.

    Thenks for your creativity. Let’s spread your ideas worldwhide! 🙂


    • Karen says:

      HI Andrew – Thanks! I don’t mind of course that you share my idea, but you’re really not supposed to put up my entire post. You should put up a picture of the final product and talk about it a bit. Then you link to my site for your readers to get the entire instructions. I’ve written a post here on how blog etiquette and how to link to others posts. Glad you like the fire pit! ~ karen

      • Andrew says:

        Karen, sorry for reposting your post completely, I’m quite a newbie in blogging. The only reason was to make it clear for non-english speaking readers. I believe your precautions about exploding stones, glass thickness, fuel type etc. are very important (I’ve checked it with my wife – she didn’t noticed this, just staring a pictures). But if you insist – I can cut the post. Thanks again and best wishes from Russia.


  158. Angi says:

    Just found this blog and LOVE this idea! It will go perfect on my screened-in porch. Thank you so much!

  159. Brittany says:

    Hi, you mentioned that you can use this fire pit indoors also. Is there no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with gel fuel?

    • Karen says:

      Brittany – I suppose if you lived in a teeny tiny room with no windows and you lit 50 or so of these at a time there might be, but no. The can says safe for indoor use. ~ karen!

  160. Marissa says:

    Just wanted to say, awesome Pinterest. Actually this is my favorite pin, EVeR!!!!!!

  161. jayde says:

    hi I just wanted to ask you where you got you planter I love in Cleveland Texas so I most likely won’t find one like that but what is the store name?

  162. kate says:

    Do you have to keep it in a covered area, what happens if it gets rained on? Does it ruin the gel fuel?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kate – I usually burn up a whole gel can in one night so it doesn’t matter in terms of it getting wet. I’ve drilled holes in the bottom of the metal planter so if it does rain the water just drains right out of it. Another reader came up with the *brilliant* idea of gluing the rocks to the screen to make lifting them out to change the gel can easier. I’d suggest you do that. I plan to this spring. I’m not sure the rain would ruin the gel fuel anyway. I suspect it would just sit on top and you could pour it off and let the wick dry. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

  163. Tony says:

    This is impossible to make! No ones knows or have seen a planter like the one you used, Do you know the name of the manufacture of the planter box. I have looked all over the internet and found nothing that looks even close to the one you used. Your planter box just works right with the size a the lip, Please help

    Thank you

    • Karen says:

      Tony – It’s not impossible to make. You don’t need to use a planter exactly like mine, you only need to use one that won’t burst into flames. Buy a planter that’s square and then find glass to fit it, that’s all. Most garden centres sell a huge variety of square metal and terra cotta planters. You don’t have to limit yourself to it being a table top version like mine either. You could do it on a tall planter as well. If you stop worrying about it looking like mine, and just focus on finding any square planter that’s somewhere in the range of 12″ across it’ll work just fine. ~ karen!

  164. Scott says:

    What are the dimensions of the planter? If you could email me that would be great! Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Scott – It’s approximately 12″ square, but the dimensions of my planter don’t matter. Buy a planter and then find the glass size to fit. Remember you can use either the length or height of the glass. So if you have an 11 x 8 piece of glass for instance, you can use it for either an approximately 12″ or 9″ across planter. As long as there’s a 1″ lip around the planter you have plenty of room to make your glass work. ~ karen!

  165. Scott says:

    Where did you get your rocks? I went to Home Depot but all they sell are the big big bags for your garden which is way more then I need for this project

  166. Danny says:

    Thank you for the idea Karen! Mine is drying (silicone) right now and then I am finished. I tried the idea of gluing the rocks to the screen and realized that it actually makes it harder to pull the screen out because of the weight on the thin mesh. I am using mesh exactly like yours that I found at a Garden Ridge here in Texas. So it might take a minute more but for the sake of saving the mesh, I will pull the rocks out first.

  167. Chris says:

    I’m in the process of making one right now for my fiance to surprise her, she’s going to love it! One question, when I’ve glued the two panes of glass on, it feels REALLY wobbly still. Does it stabilize better once all 4 sides are together?

    • Karen says:

      HI Chris. Yes. The silicone is flexible so it will feel wobbly. Even after all 4 sides are together. But trust me. It’ll never fall apart! Everything will be stable once you get it onto the planter. ~ karen

  168. shass says:

    Was wondering if you could use the firecrystal rocks instead of the stones. That way you could have a different color and nice reflection.

  169. BRIDGET says:

    Personal firepit 🙂

  170. bunty says:

    Hi quick question i cant find metal planters….if i used 1 of the glass 8 inch squares do u think its doable with that….thnx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bunty – I’m not sure what 8″ glass squares you’re talking about. But don’t worry too much about not being able to find a metal planter. You can use terra cotta, ceramic or anything else that won’t burst into flames. ~ karen!

  171. bunty says:

    Lol i was talking about 8 inch glass planter too early here….i found the glass planters at walmart plus a heads up for ppl who cant find the gel fuel….its at walmart for i think 4 bucks

  172. Derek says:

    I have just found you – how did I manage until now. I lurve it, your a really kewl chick xx

  173. Tori says:

    Where can I find a metal planter like yours? I do not have a crafty bone in my body, but I would like to try to make this. I have wanted a tabletop firepit for years.

  174. Nick says:

    Hi! Love, love, love the idea and I am definitely doing it ASAP! I was just wondering if I could use something other than cans of gel fuel as it will inquire much more money to use; any way around gel fuel?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nick. Fraid there’s no way around the gel fuel for this particular fire pit. It’s too small for a *real* fire. The gel fuel is only around $3.99 per can and quite widely available now, so if you only light the fire pit once or twice a week the expense isn’t too, too much. ~ karen!

  175. whitney says:

    Hey there! I was wondering the dimensions of the planter?

  176. Becca says:

    Hi Karen! I love this idea and can’t wait to make one for my moms birthday! Is this website yours? Is there somewhere I can follow all your awesome DIY stuff? I would love to subscribe to your blog if you had one. Thanks for the idea!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becca – The Art of Doing Stuff is my blog. I post 5-6 times a week (daily). So just enter your email address in the rectangle under the picture of me holding a fish and you can subscribe. Or …. you can just check the blog every day. I post without fail at midnight E.S.T.. ~ karen!

  177. Karen says:

    Great for just that added touch of fire. Apartment dwellers should do this. I would do inside. Outside

    I have built a castle pit made of brick. Project my daughter and I did years ago.

    Thanks for the info and pics!

  178. Christine says:

    I am in the process of making one of these. I purchased a container at, although it was a little more than your example. I also ordered the Crate and Barrel one but think it may be a weeeeeee bit small for my glass. My glass measures 9×9 exactly and the Crate and Barrel vase measures about 8 1/2 (but I’m not sure if that is the inside measurement (opening) or the entire width and length.

    I also purchased a 2’x5′ roll of galvanized hardware cloth at a local big box hardware store for $6.98 instead of a grill grate (I couldn’t find a cheap one). It can easily be cut down to size with plenty left over for another fire pit or two.

    Anyway, I can’t wait for the pots to be delivered so I can get busy! Thanks for the super idea! All-in-all, my project cost about $35.00 (if I use the more expensive pot) OR right at $25.00 if I use the Crate and Barrel pot that is on sale right now for $5.95.

  179. Nicole says:

    do you think it would be okay to add more than one gel flame under the wire so there are multiple flames or stick with just one??

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nicole, For this size I’d stick with just one can. The flames jump and dance so they appear pretty big actually. ~ karen!

  180. lisa says:

    Can this made in a indoor fireplace

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa – It can be used indoors (if you’re careful obviously) but the gel fuel has a bit of a stink to it. ~ karen

  181. Fabiola says:

    Just out of curiosity where dis you find the planter?

  182. Alicia says:

    Have you tried this with a citronella refill. Also what did you raise the candle with? Can I fill the canister with soil or sand instead of using the grate?

  183. Tara says:

    Hi Karen. I absolutely love this idea. I purchased the planter that you put a link up for on crate and barrel. I’m waiting on it to show up, but no one where I live sells the cans of gel fuel. I want to purchase some online, the 13 oz cans and was wondering if those size cans would fit in the planter I purchased. I can’t find anywhere online how tall the can is, and I want to make sure it fits in the planter right. If you can help me out and take a height measurement of the can and let me know, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!!

  184. Tara says:

    Thanks so much. Do you think the regular 13 oz size can will fit in my planter?

  185. Tara says:

    Actually I just figured it out. I saw somewhere that the can is 4in tall, and the planter is over 7 in. There will be a bit of space between the can and the metal mesh, should that be a problem? Thanks for all your help!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tara. That will be fine. But if you find the can is too far away from the mesh to give you a good look at the flames just prop the can up on something non flammable like a metal cat food tin. ~ karen

  186. Tara says:

    Holly cow you are a genius! Thanks so much for your help!!

  187. machaela says:

    Do you think citronella canisters (walmart $2 – burn for 12 hrs about 3 inches high) might work for outdoor use only?

    Thanks! Great idea! Have been making living vertical gardens out of goodwill frames and looking to repurpose glass as well! 😉

    • Karen says:

      Hi Machaela – I’m sure it would work, but it would have the same effect. It wouldn’t be as “fire”-like. That’s all. Good luck! ~ karen

  188. Elizabeth says:

    Just stumbled across your tutorial for firepit. I absolutely love it. Will be making me one this week or by weekend for sure.
    Thank you so much.

  189. Jeannie says:

    I truly like the fire pit with glass but the one that looks like a concrete bowl is pretty awesome itself. Do you do the same thing except for adding glass.

    Also can you use citronella oil to keep the nasties away from biting a person to death?

    Thanks – Jeannie

  190. Michelle says:

    Have u tried silicone Homedepot didn’t have the stuff you recommended
    I bought all weather silicone

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle. I haven’t tried all weather silicone for this, but I suspect it should be fine. All weather mainly means you can apply it during wet or damp conditions. ~ karen!

  191. Lisa Ricci says:

    First, how do you lift out the layer of rocks [grate is under them] ? Can I use the colored fire glass instead of rocks? How many inches did you make your glass box please? So you just went to a local glass shop or used glass out of picture frames? Tempered glass is expensive to just order, I have had to purchase before. I want a fireplace and this is exactly what I am looking for! This is fabulous work and I would use mine inside. I am thinking of making a wooden horizontal shape box and inserting the fire pit in it. We will use it for heat and looks of a fire. Does this fire gel you mentioned make the crackle sound? Thank you very much for indulging me to pick your brain. LOL. Again, your sister applause and to you too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa. Thanks! I think if you reread through the post you’ll find most of your answers there. As far as the fire glass goes, as long as it can handle fire being under it, you can use it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  192. Lisa Ricci says:

    I haven’t figured out how to use Pinterest YET! Just haven’t taken time lol.

    • DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE PINTEREST, Lisa? How do you think most people found this (including me). LOL You MUST at once! It’s easy, fun, but–beware–very addictive.

      Karen: I have seen you firepit “around” and always wanted one, but am moving. Printed out a .pdf to be saved just in case. LOVE it.

  193. Danielle D says:

    I just wanted to say that I found your fire pit idea while searching for an inexpensive way to build my own and just had to share my finished product!! Thank you so much for the info and idea 🙂 I bought most of the supplies at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore location so they put my pics on their website, total cost was $29.16 (just under the $30 budget I gave myself);

  194. Cori says:

    Wow! This is beautiful and so easy looking! Thank you 🙂

  195. Raul says:

    Great idea, I was wondering if you have tried doing several of this in line with the same concept. A longer base with a few gel fuel in a line, like this
    | |
    | O O O O O O O O O O O O |

  196. Michelle says:

    Brilliant idea. Would love to adapt for the inside of my home is this possible?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Michelle. You can absolutely bring this inside without adapting it at all. The only thing is the gel fuels stink a little which can be unpleasant. Some people don’t mind it, but there’s definitely a slight smell to them. And don’t forget that you don’t have to kill yourself trying to find a metal planter. You can use any square, low planter. Terra Cotta, clay, (are they the same thing, LOL?) … anything that won’t burst into flames if it gets warm. ~ karen!

  197. Pierre Rousseau says:

    Great idea and nice tuto.
    For the most skilled, I’d use a metal cutting tool to open a door, the size of the gel fuel can, at the back of the metal planter.
    I’t be more convenient for replacing cans without moving all the stuff inside the pit.
    Also lighting and snuffing out the flames would be even easier.
    Have you tried drilling a few holes at the back of the metal planter to allow oxygen to flow in directly at the level of the gel fuel can ? Haven’t tested but may result in better combustion.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Pierre – THe only problem with that is, then your planter can’t be viewed from all angles. Because there would be a big hole in the back. There’s no need to drill holes for better combustion either, LOL. I think you may be making things a teensy bit more complicated than they actually are. The gel can gets plenty of oxygen and has nice big flames. Not to worry. 🙂 ~ karen!

  198. Dawna says:

    Hi. This is a great idea, and I am excited to get started. I was just wondering: where did you get the Marine Silicone for that price, and how much did you use?

    -Thanks for the tutorial =D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dawna – I just got the marine silicone at my local hardware store. I can’t quite remember, but I probably used half the container. ~ karen!

  199. David Mackenzie says:

    Karen, love your design but one question….is it hard to swap out he gel fuel when it runs out? Seems like you have to take the whoe thing apart. Any tips on how to make that process easy?

  200. Steve Nadeau says:

    Can these items be found at Lowes, or Home Depot also? and maybe Walmart?

    • Karen says:

      Lowes and Home Depot carry the gel fuel and hardware cloth. Walmart would possibly carry the rocks and glass. The planter you’ll have to scrounge around and search for. 🙂 ~ karen!

  201. Phil says:

    Im a professional glazier of 12+ years…1 silicon will NOT hold this together and 2 you cannot cut tempered glass 3 tempered glass doesn’t stand up to heat any better than regular annealed glass. While an amuzing idea get your facts before you get someone hurt

    • Karen says:

      Hi Phil. You may be a professional glazier, but I’m kind of a professional DIYer. The silicone has so far held up for 3 years. So I’d call that a success. I did nor recommend the use of tempered glass. I recommended regular glass. I also never said it would hold up any better under heat. I recommend using cheap, thin glass as it is LESS likely to break under extreme temperature changes. So, my facts are straight. ~ karen

  202. Angela says:

    Loving it gonna start to collect bits to put together for next winter, thanks Karen your doing fantastic job. Inspirational in a word..

  203. Brandi says:

    Where can u buy the gel fuel at ive been to lowes target walmart. Noone has it can u lead me in the right direction thanks

  204. Shellina says:

    What a lovely idea!!! Thanks for sharing! I was wondering if we could use lava rocks instead of the rocks posted? Thanks again for sharing you genius idea!!!

  205. Rick says:

    Very impractical when it comes time to refuel (like every 3 hours). You would have to remove all of the rocks and then the mesh and then replace the gel can and then replace the mesh and then reset the rocks. Why not use something like a propane powered flame (I’m thinking bunsen burner or something like a gas grill heating element) and route the gasline hose through a hole in the backside of the planter to the gas bottle. You could then ADJUST the heat and flame to your liking for the moment, and it would last longer, be cheaper to fuel (than a gel can) and would survive a rain storm (unlike an open gel can which will fill with rain). Karen – you can do better than this.

    • Karen says:

      Just like a man to make things ridiculously difficult. A bunsen burner also doesn’t burn like an actual fire. It burns like a lighter. Rick – I don’t know you from a hole in the ground but apparently you cannot do better than this. I tend not to sit outside in rainstorms with my fire pit going by the way. ~ karen!

  206. connie says:

    I would be afar aid if the glass breaking from the heat and or flame

    • Karen says:

      Hi Connie – Glass only breaks from extreme temperature change. Like, if it was freezing cold, and then you put a torch on it. So you don’t need to worry about the glass breaking. Also, the thinner the glass, the better. Thinner glass is less likely to break due to temperature change than thick glass. ~ karen!

  207. Chimonger says:

    This such a great project!
    Looks every bit high-end deco.
    ONE small WARNING though: Galvanizing uses zinc that, when heated ==WILL Create some toxic fumes coming off the galvanization–various sources conflict on how hot, how long, or how toxic, but general consensus is, one might feel very flu-like for some days after exposure.
    IF using galvanized metal, ONLY use it OUTside, for good ventilation.
    OR, find plain steel, plain aluminum, plain stainless steel, or plain copper metal containers, or use ceramic or brick, for indoor use.

    • Karen says:

      THanks Chimonger. The container doesn’t actually get hot. It doesn’t even get warm in fact so there shouldn’t be any issues. ~ karen!

  208. Tom says:

    Beautiful, I think I’ll make one myself.

    Greetz from Belgium.

  209. Kathy says:

    My son used to be a fo-real pyro… Since he’s done sooo well coming out of that, I’m going to make him one and send it to him for Christmas! 😀 Thanks, Karen.

  210. Schneider says:

    Karen….you freaking ROCK!

  211. Ann says:

    This blew me away! I love small indoor electric fireplaces, since I can’t have a real one. but now I want to put one of these on my coffee table to enjoy the flame while I knit and drink wine!
    Thanks so much for posting this!

  212. Linda Hutchison says:

    for safety, sand the edges of the glass so you don’t cut your hands handling it or someone doesn’t cut themselves admiring it….doesn’t take much, but sure saves on bandaids

  213. Sheri Lien says:

    Hi and thank you! What are some options for sitting the completed fire pit on?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sheri – You can put the fire pit on anything. A side table, a picnic table, … anything that won’t knock over and cause a fire if you bump it will work just fine. ~ karen

  214. Patricia says:

    I found it a bit odd that you were able to get glass the exact size of the metal planter how much luck was involved in making this fire pit? You would need to find a planter the exact measurements of the Glass you are using. Luck? 9×10 glass frames? or larger? The planter would have to be bought first and measured then find the glass in that size right?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Patricia. It isn’t really that hard. The planter is going to have a lip on it of at least 1″. Plus you can overlap the glass when you make your square and position it depending on what fits best. So there’s a lot more leeway than you would think. And yes. Buy your planter first and then go out to your local dollar store and start searching through the glass frames. Do NOT buy expensive glass. Contrary to what most people think, thinner glass is less likely to break from heat/cold temperature changes. ~ karen

  215. Gina Marie says:

    What a great idea, thank you. Does the metal planter ever get too hot? I’m just wondering if I could move it around well, if I needed to. Thanks Great site

  216. Linda says:

    If you used this indoors would there be a problem with it smoking up your ceiling or walls? I have never used gel fuel before so thought I had better ask.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I’ve only lit mine inside on a few occasions so I can’t completely vouch for the claim but apparently gel fuel doesn’t smoke. 🙂 ~ karen!

  217. Dana says:

    Awesome idea – so clever! I want to do this 🙂

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  221. andrea says:

    thank you to show me this nice thing,i will build it tomorrow

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  228. Jennifer says:

    Once you light the can, are you able to put it out? How are you doing this without burning yourself?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer – To put the flame out you just need to smother it. So put anything over the top (across the glass) that will stop oxygen. I use a large baking sheet. ~ karen!

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  234. Maria says:

    Karen, brilliant! You AND this diy :). I have NO questions to ask. None. Why? Well, 1) if I have questions, I’ll re-read, in case I’ve missed the information I’m looking for, 2) I ALWAYS, ALWAYS read the comments because 3) someone, or many, many someone’s, have already asked the same question and you’ve answered it, at least once, and sometimes, many, many times, 4) AND THE BEST PART, because there are usually many fantastic ideas, substitutions, additions, LOTS of useful feedback on attempts and successes, and even links to where one can find the supplies, and/or something similar!

    Love this blog! And by way of loving this blog, I guess I love you too! You ROCK!

  235. Liz says:

    great idea! does it supply enough heat outside? does it keep you warm? would it be good for smores?


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  237. Kaitlin White says:

    Karen- I know this post is now 4 years old but it is still AMAZING! I do have 2 questions. I found a concrete planter do you think that would be suitable? I could not find metal anywhere locally and of course I am buying at the worst time since it is the height of the season and have to pay full price (but this post is so cool its worth it!). Also my planter is 10X10X10 is that big enough? Your pictures make your firepit seem bigger than that but then you posted the glass size and I am thinking the 10X10 maybe enough. Thank you so much!

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  239. Tracy says:

    Love it! I work selling fireplaces ect. and one thing I would caution is the use of the stones. They too can explode. In any fireplace installations they use a true poris basalt stone or man made stone. Proper fire glass rated for fire pits would be nice as well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracy – Thanks for the input. Yes, people have to be careful about the stones. I tend to just move them aside from the flame, but official firestones would be good. As for the glass it doesn’t actually even get warm. And believe it or not, since it’s so thin it has less of a chance of breaking. The thicker the glass, the more likely it is to break from the shock of cold to hot. Weird, huh? ~ karen!

  240. kimmie says:

    I absolutely adore your firepit! You also have a fantastic sense of humor! I really love reading your posts and being inspired by your work!

  241. Anthony says:

    Can I put multiple gel canisters in the firebox to make multiple flames? If I buy a little bit longer rectangular shaped object? Does it matter if the cans are touching a little bit?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anthony – Yes, a rectangular firebox would be great. The cans touching each other shouldn’t be a problem, just make sure the flames are kept away from the glass and stones. ~ karen!

      • Anthony says:

        Thanks for the quick response, this looks really cool and easy to make? Can the liquid gel be transferred to a different container? So if I find a small long container to fit inside so that I have one long flame or is this a solid gel that I need to leave inside the can? Also how high are these flames?

        • Karen says:

          Leave the gel in the cans Anthony, they’re built to withstand the heat of the flames. It’s difficult to judge the height of the flame because you’re seeing it through the glass which distorts it, plus it changes as it flickers. Generally around 6″-8″ though. (total guess based on memory) ~ karen

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  244. Christa says:

    Does this give off a strong fire smell? I live in an apartment and we are not suppose to have propane grills or fire pits so was wondering if it has a strong smell to it?

  245. Barksdale says:

    Ok…LOVE this idea and it is perfect for my apartment. I have made it and I love the way it looks. One thing I did was use soil in the pot to help so far as the heat radiating. Also works well for different sized cans of fuel. Only problem I have is I have not been able to find anywhere near me the gel fuel you mentioned. I have obviously found Sterno and and every off brand of that…but nothing that makes the yellow flame like yours does. Any recommendations on where to get that without having to buy a 24 pack online?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barksdale. I’ve found mine at any of my local hardware stores like Lowes or Rona. You may have an easier time finding it now because they’re popular for summer use. Look for the cans in the seasonal section of your local large hardware store. Good luck. ~ karen!

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  258. johnna says:

    Can u email me instructions on home made fire pit

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  262. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the amazing tutorial!
    It cost us more like $40 as we don’t have the awesome Dollarama’s here in NYC, but still way less than buying anything. Plus it was a fun project.

    • Karen says:

      Jessica! It looks GREAT! Good job. Yeah Dollarama is pretty much the best resource around. 🙂 But it looks like you did just fine without it! ~ karen!

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  274. Jessica B says:

    do you need the glass? or could you just do the project with out it….

  275. Krystal says:

    Amazing!!!! Quick question, if I had a large lantern could I use that and place rocks and the gel instead of a planter and picture frame glass and just take the top off?? I’ve been looking for a good use for my lantern for awhile now…Thanks!

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  278. Ted says:

    Where did you get your metal planter at? I can’t seem to find any metal plants like that.



    • Karen says:

      Hi Ted. I got the planter from a small local store. The best place to look for them is garden centres. And don’t forget, any square, box like planter will work. Ceramic, terra cotta, … anything. ~ karen!

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  286. Cyndi says:

    Great idea! While I would like a big fire, this might do. I kept searching and found this place that sells fireplace glass, including colored and clear glass that is heat-proof.

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  294. Dave Watson says:

    I just ran across this idea and thought it was quite clever. It would add another dimension to our deck at night. However, there are a few points that need to be addressed. I worked for many years in a glass processing factory that dealt in tempered glass. In your article you stated that you could cut have tempered glass cut to your dimensions. Unfortunately you cannot cut tempered glass. You must first remove the temper if you wish to cut it then retemper it. Also, tempered glass is infinitely more resistant to heat stress than “plain” glass. The reason these are probably not available commercially is that safety liability would be tremendous. Thin, untempered glass would be extremely dangerous around children, easy to break and then easy to get cut on. I’m not trying to throw cold water on your idea, just want folks to understand all the safety ramifications! If you want to learn the facts on glass go to

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  296. Robyn Boykin says:


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  315. Allan says:

    Great idea! I’ve been looking to do something like this for use during fire bans, when I can’t build a bonfire.

    Just a cautionary note about the rocks. Some people may be tempted to collect their own, and should be reminded not to pick them up from damp areas like seashores, river banks, etc. The rocks will contain moisture and, upon heating, may explode from the expansion of the moisture inside of the rock.

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  319. Dan says:

    Love this idea. May try and make one in miniature for use with tea candles.

    Wonder if crushed up scent sticks that you burn soul work well in something like that??

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  330. 5 years on this is still such a great project and I don’t suppose we’ll be the last to share it either! Thanks Karen

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  334. sydney says:

    I was wondering where you got your planter

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sydney. I got it from a local store around me. It isn’t something you’d be able to find anywhere else (unless by chance) but you can find similar ones at your local garden centers, Homegoods … that sort of place. Also remember that you can use anything that isn’t flammable like ceramic or terracotta. ~ karen!

  335. Mike says:

    this is the most stupid and dangerous thing i have seen on pinterest ,do this at the risk of having hot glass shattered where ever you put it .some people should not be allowed to post on this site.

  336. Becca says:

    Do you think I could use a small concrete planter? I am so excited to get started!

  337. Lynn says:

    Love, love, love this! Just found your site and I’m definitely doing this for our outdoor area. (Am subscribing to your site now.) Thanks for a wonderful and beautiful idea…..

  338. kouten07 says:

    Great idea and classy DIY. Love it! Would love to make one if I ever find a similar metal planter. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Don’t forget you can also use anything that won’t burst into flames! So a nice concrete or ceramic planter too. ~ karen!

  339. PMK says:

    I’m a little late at the table here but I have to say this fire thingy is lovely. I’m definitely going to make a couple of these for my soon-to-be backyard oasis. I like the square design but, for the faint of heart (not me), this could be made round and an oil lamp chimney used which one would expect to be heat resistant. That’s if the lamp chimney has a diameter large enough to fit over the tin of gel fuel.

    BTW, the links for buying the gel fuel and rocks don’t work anymore. Not a problem; I can Google with the best of them.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for letting me know PMK. I’m sure the links are out of date, lol. Old post. I always forget to go back and check through things like that. 🙂 ~ karen!

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