User login

Phantom Phlame

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

Add to listGo to activity
Phantom Phlame

In this trick, hold your hand over a burning candle without getting burned, by reflecting and transmitting the light of two candles. This activity is best suited as a demonstration.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plastic sheet - roughly 12" by 8"
  • 2 full cans of soda
  • 2 identical candles
  • Matches or lighter
  • Dimly lit room


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2004


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail Movies by Rouradnik on 2012-07-23
  • Thumbnail Illusion by Rouradnik on 2014-01-02