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.