Plastic Wrap Water Lens Optical Fire Method

Water Lens Solar Fire MethodAs firecraft is my passion for the purpose to provide warmth, cooking, and signaling, I’m always testing ways to get a flame for a campfire. Some methods are primitive and some are modern. It’s always fun to put the right elements together to achieve my goal. I’ve seen this method done on social media years ago but hadn’t taken the time to actually do it myself so being that it’s the beginning of Summer and the sun’s position is the most favorable I decided to give it a try.

This method uses a plastic wrap material suspended in an embroidery frame with water poured onto it. The weight of the water causes the plastic wrap to stretch in a shallow parabola that creates a water lens. As with any lens there is a focal point where you would focus the sunbeam to a small point that when focused onto some tinder is hot enough to ignite it.

I had to elevate my lens high enough to focus the sunlight so I used various items to support the frame, in this case two plastic buckets, two boards, and two bricks. Water lenses need to be undisturbed by wind or by it’s support system so a windless day with a steady support system is crucial. My conditions were perfect and in short order smoke began to appear on my tinder and after an ember formed I let it grow while I blew air lightly on it. Then I placed the ember into a tinder bird’s nest and continued to nurture it into a flame.

I’ve done all sorts of optical fire methods and learned about the nature of each one but now I can mark this one off of my list and look forward to trying the next one. Experience is the best teacher so I invite you to try this method out for yourself.

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