Metal whisk (stuff the steel wool in here)
Steel wool (get Grade 0, 00, 000, or 0000. Don't get anything at or above Grade 1. This can be found at the local hardware store)
Lighter OR 9 volt battery (To light the steel wool with)
Steel cable with clasp OR chain OR dog leash (something to swing the whisk around with)
D-SLR camera (capture the moment)
Tripod (capture the moment steadily)
Safe location (NO dry grass or other flammable items. Secluded locations are preferred)
ALSO, it is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher around just in case things go wrong...and that steel wool is really a tricky thing to put out.
Dark clothing (strategic since the it will be harder for the camera to see you)
Hooded sweatshirt/coat/jacket/sweater OR hat (or both)
Jeans OR pants
Goggles OR glasses (If you're feeling really safe)
STEP ONE: PREPARING YOUR MATERIALS
After gathering materials, finding a location, and setting up your camera, remove a portion of the steel wool from the package and place it in the end of the whisk (sometimes it helps to loosen up the steel wool before stuffing it into the whisk). Make sure you attach the cord/leash or other item to swing the steel wool and whisk around. Light the steel wool with either a lighter or 9 volt battery. Once it catches fire either alert someone to start the long exposure or use a remote to trigger the shutter to release.
STEP TWO: CREATING YOUR SPIRAL OF FIRE
While walking in a straight line either backwards or forwards directly in front of the camera, steadily rotate the flaming steel wool whisk in a circular motion until either the flame goes out or the long exposure has concluded.
STEP THREE: FINISHING UP
Check the surrounding area for any stray sparks (just to be safe; ideally you don't want to start any fires). Go review your totally awesome new photo.
Not happy with the result? Check your settings, move location, or set the camera in a different angle, location, etc.
Haven't had enough fun yet?
Grab your materials and follow the steps all over again to get more killer steel wool photos.
Check out some of our other instructables (linked below) to learn how to do more with your steel wool!