Picture of Homemade (Waterproof) Fuse, For Homemade Fireworks
It's simple, it's effective, it's waterproof.
This Instructable is for people who are playing with chemicals and making their own pyrotechnic devices.

The short video shows the fuse burning and nothing more.
The long video show exactly the same clip and three others with titles.


Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
C:\Documents and Settings\bum\My Documents\fuse\DSCF0034.JPG
C:\Documents and Settings\bum\My Documents\fuse\DSCF0046.JPG
The essentials:

Cotton string.
Inorganic oxidising agent*

Polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottle (or similar)
A knife or scissors
A mortar & pestle
Ink/dye (optional)

*If you're making fireworks you'll have some, e.g. KNO3.
Back then I could get sodium-chlorate weed-killer (it's broad-spectrum) where ~50% was just salt. You put it through a sive and the big-lumps are what you want.
Last time I bougts some the salt was caked onto the lumps like Nerds etc,,
BaoN10 months ago

You can get water-soluble N fertilizer which is almost entirely KNO3.

mthosar10 months ago

can I use blackpowder or some thing else ???? because in india oxidizers and nitrates are not availbale on a scale where you can buy them .

mthosar10 months ago

can I use blackpowder or some thing else ???? because in india oxidizers and nitrates are not availbale on a scale where you can buy them .

JakubM111 months ago

Perhaps you could use something flamable to glue the oxidiser. What about parafin or resin?

Cubie26 years ago
Would powdered sugar work as an oxidizer?
lemonie (author)  Cubie26 years ago
No, you need something like a nitrate

Cubie2 lemonie6 years ago
I am having trouble finding ANY nitrate. Help? (If you know where to get pottasium Nitrate that would be awesome!!!)
cubie2, if you live in US just go to lowes and buy spectrcide stump remover it come in granules.
tried couldn't find it anywhere (yes i live in the us most people do.)
akinich Cubie24 years ago
to cubie 2
actually most poeple dont live in the us
india and china are the most populated countries in the world
for india the population is 1,186,032,000 (2010 estimate , cencus is going on)
for china the population is 1,338,612,968
and for usa the population is 310,249,000
shocking isnt it?

Cubie2 did not say that most people live in the US. Your reply did not help

bremac Cubie25 years ago
why not try a different oxidizer like percarbonate or calcium peroxide, percarb is in oxyclean and peroxide you get from hydroponics shops. they both make great flash powders.
bustedit Cubie25 years ago
right, most people live in the U.S. brilliant.
get some sodium chlorate (weedkiller) make sure its above 50% that should do and if you melt it down with sugar 2:3 it makes smoke bombs :)
lemonie (author)  Cubie26 years ago
would amonium nitrate work? the kind in instant cold packs
lemonie (author)  junits156 years ago
I don't think so, but you could try it and see? L
not a bad idea
dla888 junits155 years ago
They make ANFO explosive. With Ammonium Nitrate as the oxidizer and fuel oil as the "fuel", I don't see why it wouldn't work. I could be wrong though.
bremac dla8885 years ago
actually the ammonium nitrate is both the oxidizer and the fuel, secondary high explosives by definition contain both the ox and fuel in one molecule. anfo is sometimes called a binary but its not a binary like astrolite or tannerite. the fuel oil is just there because ammonium nitrate gives out a surplus of oxygen which can be used to burn the fuel oil. it doesn't act like a thermobaric because the oil is soaked into the nitrate therefore can't be dispersed. won't work for a fuse, stuff is hard to get burning at the best of times due to its very hygroscopic nature. if you dessicated it then mixed with the fuel (an is only ox and fuel for high order detonation, it won't burn) and dessicated again then made the fuse and dipped it into something waterproof like nail polish then it might work if its very intimately mixed.


gabegeforce4 years ago
is the inorganic Inorganic oxidising agent the sodium-cholrate? the weed killer which can be bought in farming stores where they sell potassium nitrate?
A good way to make sodium chlorate for mass production is to use electrolysis.
Check out this guide: http://denialmedia.ca/?p=18
lemonie (author)  gabegeforce4 years ago
thank you!! I guess I have to do this now, I'm excited, I'm making my smoke bomb, I wanted to make a pull ring action using matches but I wanna try it with a firework fuse first. this is great!! by the way, I can't find a organic dye to color my smoke bomb, do you have any idea what will work to put color in my smoke bomb?
cbaik2 years ago
Was that soundtrack from dwarf fortress?
is there a substitute for inorganic oxidising agent
lemonie (author)  smiley G.I JOE2 years ago
An organic one I suppose, like nitrocellulose or glyceryltrinitrate.

will this burn into holes (i.e. a rocket engine) or will it die when it hits the clay nozzle?
copper tube4 years ago
please answer soon! did you can only put epoxy on the rope and tada its a fuse
lemonie (author)  copper tube4 years ago

No, glue alone doesn't burn like that.

Raydoom4 years ago
instead of epoxy could you use dextrin? ,its like pyro glue wen mixed with water
lemonie (author)  Raydoom4 years ago

Yea, but it'd not be water-resistant.

jpoopdog4 years ago
also i want to ask, would this work if i replaced the epoxy with bike tire rubber solution, and if anyone else has tried with it
lemonie (author)  jpoopdog4 years ago
You could try it?
(I don't know)

i will, i have already orderd some of the stuff from ebay, i just wanted to be sure is i swear ive heard it soem where else that you can use liquid rubber.
anyway ill ask you this, what consitancy was the oxidizer used, was it like flower? or larger thasn that?
lemonie (author)  jpoopdog4 years ago

Like flour. (or icing-sugar)

exellent, thats how fine i managed to make it, i also just found some epoxy, so ill have to try it right away
jpoopdog4 years ago
you know, ive come to notice that you havent mentioned exactly what oxidizer you used, you said what one you can use, but not the one you did use, also, epoxy glue comes in two parts, and you didnt say anything about using the other part of epoxy. are we supposed to only use the epoxy, and not the hardener?

nextly what i also need to know is, you have to dip the cotton in water at the end of the instructable?, you said if it doesnt burn, dip in water and try again........ how does tht work?
lemonie (author)  jpoopdog4 years ago
For 2-part epoxy you use both parts.
I don't recommend messing with sodium chlorate.
You don't have to dip it in water, that just demonstrates that it does still burn.

ok, but what oxidizer did you use, potassium nitrate?
you said inorganic axidizing agent, that means it could be pool chlorine, or sodium peroxide!

please be more specific!

bremac5 years ago
prior to commenting it would nice and more respectful to the author if you were to actually read the thread his topic supports rather than just blurting stuff out like a two year old. HOw many times will someone say "isn't KNo3 saltpeter"? Oxidizers (useful in this type of chemistry): potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, cupric nitrate, ferric nitrate potassium, sodium, ammonium chlorate and perchlorate potassium permanganate, calcium peroxide, dichromate, potassium persulfate, sodium percarbonate, triazone, potassium and sodium bromate or iodate or perborate the identity of oxidizers is no government secret and every last one of those I mentioned are available in stores around you if you know how to find them (i don't want a million emails about where to find them, do your due dilligence before asking please) the overly reactive and somewhat dangerous would be permanganates, chlorates and bromates. although I appreciate the scientific effort that went into the research of this instructable (after all that is how science is discovered) however it is over kill and results in a product that is not reliable. Making a fuse is as simple as taking a nitrate salt that is very water soluble and making a hot saturated solution of it, then take some cotton butcher twine and unwind it to loosen it, dip it in the saturated solution of nitrate and let it dry, it will burn like a firecracker fuse. It will not burn underwater as it does not burn hot enough to overcome the cooling effect of the water. You need black powder to burn underwater, try filling maybe some shrink tube with it and heat shrink it for a nice tight tube of bp, that will burn underwater. never use metal powder in a fuse, it could burn so fast you won't know what hit you. In your instructble the epoxy is neither a fuel or an oxidizer I'm afraid, unless I am mistaken you are using cotton string, that is essentially cellulose and becomes the preferred fuel for your chlorate salt. WATERPROOFING can be done by taking pingpong balls which are pure nitrocellulose and dissolving them in acetone, then coat your fuses with this solution and let dry, it will aid the burning as well, it is nitrocellulose lacquer. Come on people ask this gentleman some intelligent questions, he went to the effort to produce this instructable, the least you can do is put in the same effort by reading the conversation before saying something stupid just becuase you like typing. And the insults? well that just shows your intellect level, very typical of those who say but don't do, always the first to pee their pants and run home to hide under the bed when someone fingers them. Anyway bro, try what i've suggested and let me know what you think, try filter paper rolled up too, thats the most reliable, and get it really dry before lighting.
lemonie (author)  bremac5 years ago
I don't fully understand your comment, but to split into paragraphs:
it's a water-resistant fuse, and the epoxy-glue is burned.

bremac lemonie5 years ago
perhaps i rambled a bit, was addressing a few comments i read throughout the thread from people who have no business playing with this stuff if what they display is an accurate depiction of their knowledge behind pyro. there was much talk about oxidizers and where to find them. the oxidizers to use are no big secret and highly available, you just know where to look as i am sure you do. anyway, to address what you are saying regarding the glue. I am not just making claims i have heard in pyromaniac folklore, I am a Msc in organic chemistry. the reason the glue in your case in burning is because it is binding up the oxidzer, what i suggest is to soak the oxidizer into the cellulose cotton material and dry it. that way you have much more intimate contact between ox and fuel for a consistant burn rate throughout. If you try to glue bp onto string you'll get inconsistant burn rate and in my opinion (correct me if i am wrong) you get hot spots on this type of fuse since its impossible to ensure even distribution. since it is inline with this thread i wanted to ask you what your experience may be with fuses made of extruded or rolled rocket candy with a bit of corn syrup to reduce brittleness. And what your opinion on the use of golden powder as a replacement for black powder. I swear by golden powder if its cooked for flash and report but i'm curious if anyone has used it for rocket engines. I've head yellow powder is a great substitute as well but i've not made it.
lemonie (author)  bremac5 years ago

(I might sniff at the MSc as I have a doctorate, but I liked the comment)
The reasoning behind this was - stable moisture-resistant rocket-propellant, so this essentially a spin-off from my space-project.

bremac lemonie5 years ago
so are you saying you have attempted a rocket fuel made from glue and oxidizer?
lemonie (author)  bremac5 years ago
Yes, but I didn't achieve enough thrust. I'm thinking of a reformulation with a touch of powdered-coal at some point.

55b57 years ago
why can't you say. its not a don't do this at home coz well you did and put black powder in heat shirk better and water proof fuse
bremac 55b55 years ago
you can obtain a suitable oxidizer in the form of potassium chlorate by extracting it from match heads with water, reduce the water and chill to xtallize the chlorate. also ammonium nitrate from ice packs reacts with potassium or sodium hydroxide to form ammonia gas and potassium nitrate, use stoiciometric amounts dissolved in water then boil the water to remove all the ammonia formed or until you see solids, then cool and xtallize.
dude if u have a lowes near by just get some stup remover its key ingrediant is kno3 iv made plenty of bombs i mean big booms with that stuff
lowes no longer sells that stuff at least not where i live (california) i guess they realized that the main reason why that stuff sold like hotcakes was that every teenager was using for bombs and rockets.
jasontimmer6 years ago
Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but making your own fuse is very dangerous. There's no telling what the rate will be, and whether or not it will make a sudden jump and leave you with a few less fingers. I guess to me, it's just not worth the risk. I pay the few dollars for professionally made fuse.
With enough fuse then you should be safe if you don't do anything (too) stupid.
Evidentally you're a 'kid funeral' waiting to happen. Read my post above with the Quote from Charles Bronson.
Either way. It's one's own decision.
There's always one in every bunch... :-) But, since youre an Aussie 'Mate'...will let it slide. (smile). To add to your comment..."...and pays the price". :-)
So, so true! :D
SMART MAN! Superstar Actor Cherles Bronson once said" "Any man who makes a decision before knowing what it's all about, is a Damn Fool". I concur.
Where can i get pro fuse in Canada??
 I have Pro fuse for sale and I live in Canada.
That is why you test the fuse before you put it into your device. Also most devices that can cost fingers (m-80's etc. are illegal anyway so there is no need for most people to be making them. I say most because some people do have the licences and things to legally make them).
i agree entirely with you on that. homemade fuse almost costed me my hand =[
Where can you get pro fuse in canada?
I don't know, I don't live in canada. Here in the states you can get it at any gun store or fireworks store. you can probably find it online but I don't know if they'll ship to canada or what the legality of that is.
Thanks :-)
IX Smith XI7 years ago
What oxidiser did you use?
Did you read? he mention he will not give away the name of his because it is dangerous.
it cant be that bad
We'll plat 'The Funeral March' in slow-motion for you.
Or can it? O.o
i dont no what oxydizer he used, but it loked white like ground up amonium nitrate. its really easy to get, just cut open an instant cold pack( my friend says thy dont use amonium nitrate anymore but idk) or get some fertalizer. this is, however very dangerous but it seems like what he is useinig.
ryanlg5 years ago
Is it possible to use ground up sparkler powder for the oxidizing agent?
lemonie (author)  ryanlg5 years ago
You might as well just use the sparkler. But why not try? L
ryanlg lemonie5 years ago
Well I have used sparklers before, but they need a big hole around them to burn into the bomb/firework/etc. Therefore my bombs that I make fizzle rather than bang. Thats why I asked if sparkler powder works so hopefully the fuse can burn through a smaller hole, and make a big bang, rather than a fountain of sparks.
lemonie (author)  ryanlg5 years ago
Ah right. What you can do is roll a powder in a paper-tube. If you wrap a sticky-label around a "cocktail stick" with the sticky-side out for example. Filling is a bit tricky though. L
hornbadoing5 years ago
Not to be mean but a water proof fuse is a fuse that will work under water. for example like the fuses on cherry bombs or M80s you can light the fuse and throw it in a lake and the fuse will keep going until it blows up
lemonie (author)  hornbadoing5 years ago
That'd be an underwater fuse. The claim on this is just that a bit of water (i.e. rain) won't make it unusable.

mr. clean5 years ago
let me guess sodium chlorate was used as the oxidizer right?
lemonie (author)  mr. clean5 years ago
In that yes - hazardous...

Shagglepuff6 years ago
If you added metal powder to this, would you end up with a sparkler or a bomb?
lemonie (author)  Shagglepuff6 years ago
A sparkler I would think - I don't have any good powdered metals though. L
Depending on what metal you used, it would create different color flame.
lemonie (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
It's full of sodium so quite yellow, but something I would consider if I had other metals.

I'd like to try zinc in a home made bottle rocket some day...
lemonie (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
Zinc and...?

Powdered zinc when burnt is supposed to produce blue flames / sparks.
lemonie (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
It would need something mixed with it I think.

Not to my knowledge. In science yesterday we sprayed powdered copper out of a pressurized can onto a fire it turns it green.
lemonie (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
Air then.

A fire does not burn without oxygen and the extra air might just speed it up. But not knowing what was in the cans (I'll have to ask my science teacher) it might have been carbon dioxide, which puts fires out normally.
you could make a ball mill and make german dark alum
whats the white glob you,re about to set off? did you make it? if so, could you make an Instructables on how to make it?
I imagine it's the residue out of the cone.
junits156 years ago
where did you learn to make your own pyrotechnics?
lemonie (author)  junits156 years ago
Experimenting with stuff like boys do... L
(chuckels) i see
where do you bye the stuffs
got mine from ebay :)
http://www.hobbychemicals.co.uk/ for UK
http://www.hobbychemicalsupply.com/ for elsewhere
aaaaaaaaaaaa i mean buy.... sigh
lemonie (author)  unbentcrayfish6 years ago
sharlston6 years ago
mmm just guesing but your log-on is called bum
lemonie (author)  sharlston6 years ago
That's actually the non-administrator (restricted) account. Slightly safer on the internet. L
oh you gave me a idea
Jaycub6 years ago
If I guess correctly what the oxidizer was, will you say?
lemonie (author)  Jaycub6 years ago
Oh go on then. L
Jaycub lemonie6 years ago
Ok, these are my guesses: -sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione -sodium chlorate -peroxysulfate I would realy like to know because when I mixed potassium nitrate with epoxy and lit it it just fizzled and smoked. Mabey I got the mix wrong?
lemonie (author)  Jaycub6 years ago
Well fuses are OK to fizzle and smoke, so long as they don't stop. Minimal glue and fine powdering are essential. You were right on number 2, but it can do some dangerously unpredictable things - I strongly advise not touching it at all. L
Tombini lemonie6 years ago
Would a nitrate such as KNO3 work (even though it is extremely hygroscopic)?
lemonie (author)  Tombini6 years ago
Should do, the glue is the waterproofing part. L
flymudpie7 years ago
Why the heck are you calling milk cartons HDPE er whatever? Oh btw saying the word salpeter wont have you sued...
majjck6 years ago
This is really cool and it liiks like a fuse i could find at a fireworks store. But I have one question. Why is the fuse in the last picture orange? Did you add color or is it just the cured epoxy that turns orange?
lemonie (author)  majjck6 years ago
(It's red ink) I didn't really have a reason to add it, except for the colour. L
I thought Potassium Nitrate was an organic. Actually, I am about 99% sure it is an organic.
lemonie (author)  Father Christmas6 years ago
No, organic has to have carbon in it.

Hmm. I know you are right, but now I am wondering where i learned that...
dealydoo6 years ago
if you want I can post how to find your burn rate. off the top of my mind I can't remember
Kaiven dealydoo6 years ago
Can the burn rate be determined for BP too?
dealydoo Kaiven6 years ago
BP??????? what you talkin about
Kaiven dealydoo6 years ago
black powder
dealydoo Kaiven6 years ago
yeah..... I don't know how well timing BR will work for home made fuse. due to the inconstancy of the fuse. in the marines we used time fuse which is BP so yes you can
Can you PM me the fomula for finding that out?
Alot of folks use a coffee grind for somethings. Wouldn't try it with black powder though...
"I'm not saying what I used, or where I got it, because it's hazardous stuff and potentially dangerous." then lets look at the previous sentence "*If you're making fireworks you'll have some, e.g. KNO3." cmon, anyone who's taken high school chemistry knows that KNO3 is potassium nitrate...
lemonie (author)  TheMadScientist7 years ago
Yes I know what KNO3 is, but that's not what I'm using.

chlorate? perchlorate?
If you mix 3 parts Kno3 and 2 Parts pain old everyday sugar, throw in some aluminum and magnesium shavings and you have the makings for very hot burning fuse... Kno3 is also known as stump remover... Hint Hint.
will KNO3 still work though?
Would good old PVA (or white glue) WORK? Cos I have a bunch of that at home...
X_D_3_M_17 years ago
was that a dart in the backgroubd?
lemonie (author)  X_D_3_M_17 years ago
There are no darts to see here. L
I... I think he's dead!
awww, how come i didn't get to meet this guy?
hi lemons
Baron A lemonie7 years ago
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE???????????????????????
u know u wanna share...
Punkguyta7 years ago
So could I "in theory" drop a big firecracker in my neighbors pool and have some fun?
Yep, but the firecracker would have to be waterproof, too.
iBurn duct tape7 years ago
put some molten wax on it......
would sparklers and PVA glue work??
Kendallkip7 years ago
or just get a string and coat it with rubber cement. Alot more simple.
Is rubber cement an oxidizer and a fuel? Otherwise it won't work.
oh it works. Trust me.
nothing to do with this but if you want to see somthin cool but "Bunkerbusters" and put them under playmobil cones and the WILL go about 60+ feet! P.S they are waterproof i lught them the throw them in lakes and it cool beans
i know i'm an ideot bla bla bla. but i do want to say that KNO3 is now some times harder to find compared to when a baby could buyy this stuff!but i heard a story saying that in florida and other places its harder to get because of the one FBI explosion ir ssimthins so that sucks
JoshMan6197 years ago
KNO3 is not that dangerous dude, it's in saltpeter (stump remover, or fertilizer), which a minor can buy. That signs just saying avoid such contact as with the eyes, and digestion, which would take an idiot to eat!!!... But other than that... i love ur cone coating method:) A+
He didn't say that he used Kno3, he said HIS oxidiser is dangerous But im with you on the coating method, it seems extremely effective.
it *is* saltpeter.
hackerboy937 years ago
i know where to get Kno3
Zanpakutou8 years ago
">Grind the oxidiser to a fine powder using a mortat & pestle (or improvise something else)." Don't use anything metal.
lemonie (author)  Zanpakutou8 years ago
Good advice, but solid oxidant on it's own shouldn't be a problem. Hydrogen peroxide yes. L
isnt kno3 potassium nitrate
lemonie (author)  oinkoinkzoopals8 years ago
Yes, it is. L
ok thanks
duct tape8 years ago
Can you use ammonium nitrate for the oxidizer?
lemonie (author)  duct tape8 years ago
I don't know, have you got any? L
yes.... instant cold packs!
lemonie (author)  duct tape8 years ago
Well give it a go then, and let us know. (Be careful) L
Ok then, I'll try to keep safe.
foodlover8 years ago
Milk bottles are high density poly ethylene, (HDPE) not poly propylene.
lemonie (author)  foodlover8 years ago
Yes, that was a guess at the time, it was HDPE. L
dj_doru6668 years ago
You do have to have the oxidizing agent. If you don't have it, there's nothing that can make the fuse burn properly. The epoxy glue I bought in a Dollar Store in the harware section. The glue on its own can't make the fuse burn...
lemonie (author)  dj_doru6668 years ago
Thanks for the comment, but you should have hit REPLY on the original comment (that way they may get a notification that someone replied)

do u hav 2 hav the oxidising agent for the fuse, or just the glue, and where do you get the epoxy, or is that confidencial information\
unjust8 years ago
very well done. appropriate information withheld to keep the folks who have been identified as caliber ten tango from setting themselves on fire, clear instructions and very clear images. do you test burn rate as well, and color different mixes appropriately? i use cotton string as well often going with the cheapest stuff i can find to allow for better adhesion, but i've always included a fuel in the mixture, do you get an continuous submerged burn without it?
lemonie (author)  unjust8 years ago
I haven't tested burn rate, but it is as you see it. Fuel in the mixture would be epoxy resin in this case. I haven't tried a submerged burn because I'm sure too much heat would be lost at this diameter. 1 inch thick for sure, half inch I start to wonder, but think I will try. L (does this stuff float?)
tobyduck8 years ago
what type of oxgising agent did you use and where can you get it???
lemonie (author)  tobyduck8 years ago
(I'm not telling) but look and read more closely (including comments) and you might work it out... L
andy608 years ago
what is oxidizer and where do i get it?
lemonie (author)  andy608 years ago
See here (for one example) and the comments on that page.


Wow! This is awesome!!!
NachoMahma8 years ago
. Good job! . Is the orange color natural or is that the dye you mention?
lemonie (author)  NachoMahma8 years ago
There are sodium ions in the mixture, which emit strongly in the yellow part of the spectrum (when hot) L
. I wasn't very clear, was I? I meant the fuse itself. As in "A good coating of the red-stuff."
lemonie (author)  NachoMahma8 years ago
Oh sorry, I added some red rubber-stamp endorsing ink to the epoxy. It was red, but has faded a bit since.