Introduction: Bright Tube Sparklers

Picture of Bright Tube Sparklers

In this instructable i will be showing you how to make a bright tube sparkler. So what is a tube
sparkler and why make one. I think it is safe to say that everyone who is reading or read this instructable has played with or seen a sparkler. basically a tube sparkler is a hand held firework that burns slowly and produces sparks due to a powdered metal. i know some people might say "why make a sparkler when you can buy them at the shops for under $2" well firstly the ones you buy at the shops are one of two main groups of sparklers dipped sparklers and tube sparklers in this instructable we are making a tube sparkler as they can contain more composition and therefore give off more sparks. secondly shop bought are dimmer and give off tiny sparks that die as fast as they begin. So that's why i have created my own
now before I continue i have to make sure that you know this. These sparklers are more powerful than normal sparklers and create a lot more sparks that are hot and can stay lit for over a second when they have touched the ground so do not light this sparkler when your standing on a pile of dry leaves or any other flammable material if you step on the sparks in bare feet you might receive a small but nasty burn so wear shoes and never point it at anyone. People watching the show should stand at least 3 meters away. So remember to be safe and think before lighting and you will have a great time.
OK i'm glad i got that off my chest so where did I get the idea to make a tube sparkler. Well the idea to make this tube sparkler came when i stumbled on a great pyrotechnic composition that produced an immense amount of sparks and light ,which i will show you how to make later on, after thinking of many things i could use this mixture for i came up with a simple yet effective and bright sparkler.The sparkler was made at home using chemicals that aren't hard to find or buy and some tools that most house holds should have.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

take out your notepad and make a shopping list because this is what you need
# potassium nitrate/KNO3
In the sparkler composition the potassium nitrate will oxidize the reaction. with out it the reaction wouldn't get any oxygen and therefore would not burn
In the reaction sulphur will act as a fuel for the potassium nitrate to oxdize
In the reaction charcoal like sulphur will act as fuel
#aluminium powder mesh 400
aluminium powder is our main chemical and will give the reaction its brightness and sparks

Now these are the tools you'll need you should already have most of them but if not there not hard to find 
# Mortar and pestle
for grinding chemicals
for mixing chemicals and for making the tube to contain our sparkler composition
for making the tube and a funnel to put the sparkler composition in the tube
#digital scale
for measuring chemicals
#medicine cup 
this is a good thing to measure your chemicals in

Extra Stuff
A pole or a long piece of heavy wire to mount the sparkler on a glue stick for making the tube some masking tape or string to attach the sparkler to the top of pole or wire and a spoon for scooping chemicals. i did not include these in my photo as there need became obvious after the photos were taken.   

Step 2: Step 1 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

Picture of Step 1 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

so what is this magical composition that i have been talking about, well here it is
C/S/Ai powder/KNO3 1:2:7:12
The fist step to making the composition is measuring the two primary fuels, sulphur and charcoal and grinding them together. Its easiest to make 22g batch but by multiplying everything by 2 you will get a 44g batch and if you multiply everything by five you would get a 110g batch and you get the point. Lets just start with a 22g batch. We're going to need 2g of sulphur and 1g of charcoal so get measuring, once that is done put them in your mortar and start grinding until you have a fine powder as seen in the photograph above.

Step 3: Step 2 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

Picture of Step 2 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

The second step to make the sparkler composition is to add the oxidizer aka potassium nitrate so start weighing 12g of potassium nitrate. OK once that's done its time to grind it in. Gradually add the potassium nitrate and grind in till you get a fine powder the looks like the brownish grey powder in the photograph above.

Step 4: Step 3 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

Picture of Step 3 of Creating the Sparkler Composition

finally its time to add the ingredient that will finish the compound, the ingredient that will give it its bright characteristics and the ingredient that will make it spark, the pièce de résistance. Aluminium powder. so start weighing the 7g of aluminium powder. OK now its time to mix it in .Using the pencil slowly stir it in in till it turns in to the grey powder shown in the photograph above. once that is done our compound is finish now its time to test

Step 5: Testing Our Compound

Picture of Testing Our Compound

using a spoon scoop a small amount of powder on to a brick then insert a fuse or just light with a blow torch, step back and if your mixture is successful it should burn with a bright white flame and with lots of sparks. Its time to start filling.  

Step 6: Creating the Tube

Picture of Creating the Tube

now it is time to make the tube. Start by putting some glue on the end of the paper and roll the paper around the pencil then pull the pencil back about a center meter and push both ends in, then push the two points sticking out into the center then push it against a hard surface to fully close it. 

Step 7: Filling the Tube

Picture of Filling the Tube

Ok we're all most finished we just need to fill the tube. To fill the tube we're going to need some more paper i just used the excess paper from my tube. Now take one piece of paper and put it on your work station then with another piece of paper fold it in half then open it, this piece of paper will serve as a funnel. Take your tube and hold it on top of the piece of paper now using your spoon scoop some powder onto the funnel and slowly nudge it in. If some falls out of the tube the paper under neath will catch it and you can put it back on the funnel. Remember to rattle the tube a bit to evenly spread the compound once the tube is full, close the top up the same way you closed the bottom. Now all we have to do is tape or tie it to our wire or pole and we are done.

Step 8: Light and Conclusion

Picture of Light and Conclusion

we are now done and it is time to light our creation. Aim the sparkler away from your body or other peoples bodies and using a cigarette lighter light the paper. When the tube is steadily burning extend the rod and watch as it flares with light and sparks.

In conclusion i believe I learnt a lot from making this instructable. In the process i learnt how sparklers work how to make them and what chemicals are used to make them. If I was to do it again there would be few things i would do differently  but I would make the sparkler compound create less smoke, but a part from that I believe the out come was better than expected and i feel proud of it.

thank you for taking the time to read my instructable it is much appreciated.


fancypants23 (author)2014-12-08

lol i still had some left over from the first batch i made, and as you can see the last comment i posted(which is when i made it) was in october, and now its december. the stuff used to burn like a bright rocket fuel but after sitting in my drawer for a while, it is super fast burning, almost as fast as flash powder but deffinately as fast as a good bp.

fancypants23 (author)2014-10-24

i think the most important reason to make your own fireworks is just because its fun. you learn, you experiment, and when you finally are succesfull its waaaaay better than having someone else make it for you and buying it.

wire-nut (author)2013-02-20

A non-sparking or non-metal ball mill work for me.

mastergabe (author)wire-nut2013-02-21

tho a ball mill might result in a finer and easier to make powder it is all ways recommended to never grind a mixture with a metal powder. if you were to use a ball mill i would recommend milling the KNO3 C and S fist then mix the Ai powder later. but if your like me and only young with a small budget a $10 mortar and pestle is a lot cheaper then a $120 ball mill.

wire-nut (author)mastergabe2013-02-21

Yes I understand, what your saying. I've used a ball mill w/ nonsparking parts: pvc pipe with one end cap, and the other end clean out tread. With a base like rollerskate with a small motor, w/ remote off/and on. And non-sparking balls.