Introduction: Exploding Confetti Cannon

Picture of Exploding Confetti Cannon
Here is a cool pyrotechnics gadget that explodes with a shower of confetti! Great for live concerts, parties, weddings, special name it!

See it in action and the test results!

Step 1: What You Need...

Picture of What You Need...

1. A glow-plug which you can get HERE
2. Electrical Box with cover
3. Plumbing Extension Tube (12" X 1 1/4" in diameter)
4. Hobby Box
5. Momentary Switch
6. 2-AA Battery Holder
7. Epoxy
8. Rubber grommet & wire
9. Flash cotton, flash paper and Flame Resistant Confetti

Step 2: Prepare the Base

Picture of Prepare the Base

1. Drill a 1/4" hole in the center of the electrical box top. The glow-plug should fit in the hole and you need to secure it on the other side with a small, flat nut.

2. Drill another hole in the side of the electrical box and insert a rubber grommet (optional). Then thread the lamp cord in the box and tie a knot so the cord does not pull out.

3. Strip the two wires and attach a spade connector to one and after sliding on a small piece of heat shrink tubing, attach a 12-14 gauge Butt Connector (Radio Shack) to the other.

4. Attch the Butt Connector (+) to the connector side of the glow-plug and the Spade Connector (-) to one of the screws that hold the cover on. Attch the cover and screw it down tightly.

NOTE: The glow plug "hot" end will be on the outside of the box.

Step 3: Build the Detonator Box

Picture of Build the Detonator Box

1. Drill 2 holes in the hobby box. One for the lamp cord and the other to fit the size of the momentary switch you are using.

2. Secure the momentary switch. Run the lamp cord into the box. Strip the ends and by looking at the individual lamp cord wires determine which one you put the spade connector on. That will be the ground. Attach that to one end of the switch. Attach the negative (black) wire for the AA battery snap to the other end of the switch. Using a wire nut (or you could solder it) attach the other lamp cord wire (+) to the red (+) wire from the AA battery snap. Test it out and make sure the glow-plug lights \up.

NOTE: I used the smallest Radio Shack hobby box but had to dremel some supports to get the 2-AA battery holder to fit so the next size project enclosure will probably be easier. I just liked the smaller size.

Step 4: Build the Launch Tower

Picture of Build the Launch Tower

After cutting the Extension Tube down to about 8", mix up the 2-part epoxy (or any epoxy that will hold permanently like JB Weld). Attach the Extension Tube to the cover of the electrical box. (The glow-plug "hot" end should be inside the tube)

Step 5: Load and Fire!

Picture of Load and Fire!

You will need to get some Flash Cotton, Flash Paper and Flame Resistant Confetti. You can get these at Magic Shops or online.

1. Put the Cannon either outside or indoors in a safe place like a large room with high ceilings or auditorium. You will have to clean up alot of confetti so keep that in mind.

2. Tear off a small piece (about 2" square) of Flash Cotton and fluff it up. Insert it in the Tower and push it all the way down. Be careful not to damage the Glow-Plug end as it is a bit fragile.

3. Use one sheet of Flash Paper and ball it up small enough to fit in the tower. Push it into the Tower all the way to the bottom. Don't stuff it in hard!

4. Load the Tower with Flame Resistant Confetti.


6. Press the Detonator switch!

Hope you enjoyed this Instructable.

Have fun, be safe!


JaxnEagle (author)2015-09-18

Would using a wider tube make a larger confetti cloud?

rotsenz (author)2012-02-20

You didn't show what did you do to the glow plug?

Aron313 (author)2011-12-21

That awesome! How high does the confetti shot if it was outside?

searl2 (author)2011-04-23

How would you make this wireless. Also, does this give off enough power to launch airsoft bb's

robot797 (author)2009-03-05

could you use other fuel's? with an exnicion chamber or something like that. we dont have magic shops in holland (or verry few)

Sandisk1duo (author)robot7972009-03-05

if you use small amoints of pure alcohal, a couple drops, you can make it go boom!

Derin (author)Sandisk1duo2009-07-21

or lighter fuel

Sandisk1duo (author)Derin2009-07-22

i don't know about lighter fluid, it has a higher boiling point

nabzaf (author)Sandisk1duo2011-01-11

just use coffee creamer it will blow some stuff up

Mr. Squishy (author)2009-03-17

You made a confetti cannon/flamethrower. I want it without the flamethrower.

psyteknology (author)Mr. Squishy2009-05-22

And air compressor kind of rig might be better suited for you. =)
Not sure how to go about that though. Definitely safer, personally I like alittle danger and am a pyro @ heart! hehe

Ranie-K (author)psyteknology2010-03-31

Would this work?

How about two PVC tubes (the biggest one capped, and the smaller one with a choke/small hole and a tack glued to the inside), one sliding inside the other; put a balloon (sausage shaped) inside the bottom of the bigger one, and a paper wad and confetti in the smaller one.

Put the smaller on top, compress the air in the balloon by pressing down the smaller tube, and as the balloon eventually protrudes into the smaller one, it will make it to a tack that will burst it, throwing confetti safely out the end of of the smaller tube

Ranie-K (author)Ranie-K2010-03-31

Hm -I think the balloon would have to bre wrapped in a layer of thin paper, so it wouldn't get caught between the two pipes and burst too soon.

briguy1 (author)2009-08-18

Auch safer way to do this is to get an old paintball gun, the ones that use CO2 cartriges, use the trigger mechanism to "fire" THE COMPRESSED co2. No dangerous chemicals and no risk of burning your house down.

smartrobot (author)2009-05-21

you can put air soft bb's in it

H3xx (author)smartrobot2009-08-07

and then hide it near the front door and rig the trigger to the doorbell. Nobody will ever come over to your house again!

vandal1138 (author)2009-07-02

any tips on how to make a much larger, shoulder launched version? I'm serious...

UZI dude (author)2009-05-23

wow you can make a rocket launcher out of that thang!!

sharlston (author)2009-05-22

maybe if you packed the confetti in tissue so it pops in the air cos i thought there was more of a flash then connfetti

Berkin (author)2009-03-20

Haha, nice! I like it a lot... but isn't there a bit of a fire hazard involved?

comodore (author)2009-03-01

Great job KIpkay, as allwais! I am not a big fan of confetti, they make a big deal of mess, but I like your project. You kinda re-did the fireball shooter, just bigger and with confetti... all in all a good job! rate:*****

John Lewis (author)comodore2009-03-06

Interesting. I make the same thing in small quantities but use potassium permanganate (Condys Crystals). Crush the crystals to powder and mix with the Al powder. Pretty potent so only mix small quantities. I used to wrap it in a twist of paper and then light the paper for a loud bang flash and puff of smoke.

comodore (author)John Lewis2009-03-15

Interesting. What is the actual difference between flash paper and paper, I mean I can see the difference and feel it but that makes flash paper flash paper? :) Thanks !

John Lewis (author)comodore2009-03-16

Flash paper is tissuepaper that has been treated with nitric acid. It becomes nitro cellulose. effectively gun cotton. I've the recipe and instructions in an old magic book here somewhere and I have made it once or twice. A fair bit of washing is involved aand it takes considerable time. It deteriorates if not done right. It's much easier to buy it from a magic shop.

comodore (author)John Lewis2009-03-16

Well, the problem is that there aren't any magic shops around here...and I don't know where else to look.... but never mind... I was just interested in the proses that takes to make some... I have seen gun cotton from Mythbusters and it looks like they dealth with some dangerous chemicals... :P

John Lewis (author)comodore2009-03-16

Yes concentrated nitric acid can be pretty nasty. Boiling for some hours in urea solution after washing to stabalise is also a pain. I buy mine by mail order. It comes wet in a sealed pack for safety. You need to dry it out before use.

comodore (author)John Lewis2009-03-18

Hmm, I think I will order a pack.... Can you give me the site from where you order yours??? Thank you!

John Lewis (author)comodore2009-03-18

I'm in Australia. Depends where you are. Should be a shop nearer you. Do a search on Magic shops in your area.
I buy from Taylors Magic Shop in Sydney , NewSouth Wales Australia.
Heres a link

John Lewis

comodore (author)John Lewis2009-03-19

Oh I am in Europe, a bit far from you... :D Balcan peninsula to be precise...

G.O. Bluth (author)2009-03-07

I like this. It looks cool, but it has Station Night Club fire written all over it. Be careful.

thebluemartyr (author)2009-03-06

gotta say, not his best work. it looks like fun, but he really has let the ball drop on this one, its less for the common man (no one has flash paper or cotton!) and more just for showoff. Not a fan of this one, sorry kip.

bart416 (author)thebluemartyr2009-03-07

Actually, it's not that hard to find flash paper. Find a store where they sell things to do magic tricks. They usually have it in store but you'll have to ask for it. But it's not cheap.

Flash/Gun Cotton is harder to acquire though. Making it yourself is easier than trying to find a place where you can buy it. Luckily there are instructables on it already:

mg0930mg (author)2009-03-01

It made me think of an atatri controller. HAHA! Great Job!

red-king (author)mg0930mg2009-03-01

thats what i thought it was when i looked at the picture. lol

evanwehrer (author)red-king2009-03-02

lol me too

mman1506 (author)evanwehrer2009-03-02

me three

bwpatton1 (author)mman15062009-03-02

ME 4

x5 and I didn't even own an Atari !

Me 6 and I've never used an atari, I've just seen pics of them

mman1506 (author)Callum Snowden2009-03-07

me ethier but i did se a recreation at costco once

WorstScreenNameEver (author)2009-03-06

First of all, I think this is a very well done Instructable and a cool idea... That being said... I think it should be noted that fire codes make it illegal to do this indoors, not to mention dangerous. Fire-resistant confetti is a nice nod to the danger this thing poses, but as the video clearly shows, you also need to worry about a fire resistant ceiling. The Station night club fire in Rhode Island started in exactly this way and killed one hundred people. Use pneumatic confetti cannons if you want special effects at your wedding.

dfc849 (author)2009-03-05

Wonderfully done, kipkay! You always have the neatest instructables!

TechDante (author)2009-03-04

where can i get those blue wire cover things in the uk or what are they called so i could find them on ebay

Sandisk1duo (author)TechDante2009-03-05


adamfrench (author)2009-03-05

device is cool - your speedy presentation and clear video is even cooler. nicely.

catof (author)2009-03-05

Good idea !!! thanks for the echange !!

frollard (author)2009-03-03

Thats awesome - I'm gonna build and instructablize the commercial pneumatic version I saw at a concert - basically the sprinkler valve pvc dumping a small storage tank to 2 or 3 outlet nozzles - remotely fired, same as this.

yokotei (author)2009-03-01

would this kind of thing work with streamer confetti? the kind that is rolled up... my school's theater club just finished up a play in which they used confetti canons powered by expensive little CO2 canisters, so this might be something they can used in the future

iBurn (author)yokotei2009-03-03

I'm not sure that they would be too thrilled with the idea of fireballs shooting into the audience... CO2's not that expensive, it's only like 100 bucks with the canister for 20 pounds of the stuff. You could always just use a ton of air-compressed potato cannons. I'd go to that play.

JakeTobak (author)2009-03-01

I<3U Kipkay! I imagine something similar could be done to detonate fireworks? Just put the fuse into the glow-plug instead of the flash cotton? If anyone's ever done anything like that or know of a reason why it would be a bad idea, I'd love to hear.

About This Instructable




Bio: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
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