Introduction: How to Make a Fire Wire [Easy Fireworks]

This is an old trick done with fine steel wool to make a huge spiraling shower of sparks. Rapid oxidation of iron contained in the fine strands of steel is an exothermic reaction hot enough to melt the iron (which is a large percentage of steel) and give the spectacular visual effect. This process results in black iron oxide (Fe3O4) and red iron oxide (Fe2O3), which is more commonly known as rust. The carbon content found in steel adds to the brilliance of the sparks. The method I find works best for constructing these fire wires is detailed in the video.

Tools & Materials
  • Steel Wool
  • 3' Copper Wire
  • Lighter or 9 Volt Battery for Ignition
  • Wire Strippers (Optional)

000 or 0000 grade steel wool works best. Any courser and it will not burn properly. If it is fluffed up before igniting it will not burn as long, but it will throw off much thicker sparks. The first two shots in the video show fire wires with steel wool that has been fluffed up in this way.

Because these use no self contained oxidizing agents like most fireworks, these are probably legal in most areas - But this does not mean it is smart to use them anywhere. They throw off many hot sparks and should therefore not be used in dry environments. Glasses of some kind are also necessary to avoid any sparks getting in the eyes. A wide brimmed hat or a hood is not a bad idea either to avoid getting spots burned in your hair.


TheDailyDIY (author)2012-10-12

This is so cool!! Is it dangerous? Can you burn yourself or start a fire?

scyonxb (author)TheDailyDIY2014-02-15

obviously if its fire, its gonna be dangerous hahaha

JoLoveN (author)2013-11-20

Can u make a video??

anthony805z (author)2013-08-17

Can u do a video?

powerman666 (author)2012-06-22

This trick is so awesome! I ran straight to the store to get some steal wool right after work I was so excited to try this. In person it's amazing! Practicing saftey while doing this is a MUST! I got a minor burn on my leg when the hot wool hit me.

powerman666 (author)powerman6662012-06-22

Yeah your definately going to want to dress like the guy in the video.

elkhuntr (author)2012-06-20

dont get it arent airsoft land mines supposed to spray bbs i need to know how to make one that sprays bbs.. o ya it would be perfect on april fools

jamy_rua (author)2012-01-15

how can i vote

unicyclekid (author)2012-01-05

Good luck hope you win

genessis (author)2012-01-02

You deserve this prize and thats why I voted for you
ps. youtube brought me here

Thanks! And thank you for watching my videos

firefighter1333 (author)2012-01-02

I voted n_n my yt name is hamsterboy13


snezzen (author)2012-01-01

Hey...Snezzen also want to vote for you. I hope I made everything right...hehe ;))

NightHawkInLight (author)snezzen2012-01-01

It's greatly appreciated, thanks!

cheesynerd (author)2012-01-01

I voted! My YouTube name is cheesynerd117


gerrits13 (author)2012-01-01

i love ur videos and i have subscribed to both ur youtube and instructables accounts. Keep Them Coming

Thank you very much!

CatfishTom (author)2012-01-01

OK my freind, You just got a 5.0 from me. I hope this is what you were referring to on "the tube". Anyone who makes this quality of instrctional videos's deserves all 5's so heres to ya along with a "High Five" from me! Happy new year Buddy! Cant wait to see more of your pyro vids!

Thanks! I was actually asking for a vote in the Make it Glow contest in that part of the site, but I appreciate the 5 stars and the kind comments just as well! Happy New Year

Football viking boy (author)2011-12-24

awesome you deserve 5*

Thanks! Please vote for it in the make it glow challenge! Merry Christmas

Ramliz (author)2011-12-17

this makes a great signal tool when used in survival situation. compact and I believe highly visible at night from even afar distance. Awesome.

NightHawkInLight (author)Ramliz2011-12-19

Thanks! Using this as a signal tool is a great idea. Some people already keep a small amount of steel wool in their survival kits, so it is also very practical. If you have a second, please vote for this in the make it glow challenge!

TheAwesomestDude (author)2011-11-11


spike3579 (author)2011-11-09

Very nice. What software are you using for editing and putting text on your video? It looks really pro. We've been using pinnacle video spin but it's buggy.

Thanks! I'm using Vegas HD 9. It's an old version but it supports HD which is all I need. They let you download it from their site for a month long free trial. If you decide to keep it all you need is the registration code. I downloaded it and then bought a copy to get the code off amazon for under $20 if I remember right.

It has trouble if you're editing longer HD movies with 50+ clips, but I've found it to work fine if you just edit the videos in segments then splice each one together after rendering. It doesn't double render sections that are already in the right format so you don't lose any quality by doing so.

spike3579 (author)2011-11-09

PS this totally reminds me of the time I lit the floor on fire when I was 10. Messing around with steel wool and a 9v battery. lessons

sunshiine (author)2011-11-07

Wow! Wow! Wow! love it! No doubt a 5 star ible! thanks for sharing.

Thank you for your positive feedback!

I think you have entered these in other contest. I just thought I would mention I am not totally sure but if you made a step by step and included a video it would increase your chances of winning and accomplish your desire to get featured and more receive views and comments. I have noticed that people here don't seem to appreciate the videos as much. In time they may. I used to post on utube but I have found I enjoy this site a whole lot more. I also have more viewers. Not to mention more fun. Sunshiine

Yes I have noticed that videos generally don't tend to do quite as well in contests, but this site is more or less built around the text format - I don't mind that. I like this site a lot also, but the vast majority of my views are on YouTube. Through YouTube this stuff is not only a hobby and passion of mine but a large portion of my income as well via advertizing. Because of that it would be difficult for me to spend a lot of time making text and photo instructables that would be exclusively used here, when I could be spending my time making videos instead and share them in both places and make everyone happy. Losing out on some contests isn't much fun, but it's not really that big of a deal like I said on the contest page. It's way more fun for me to see that people enjoy my projects.

mikeasaurus (author)2011-11-06

Wow, such a dramatic effect!

We're currently running a Chemical Reactions Challenge and a Fire Challenge which this would be eligible in (both end tonight at 11:59pm), as well as the Mad Scientist Contest!

Thanks for letting me know! I'll enter it in both challenges right now

Per Scoochmaroo's comment:
I just realized, of course, that even though this project is seriously amazing, it is not qualified to win a weekly challenge, as we specifically outline that videos will not be accepted. Because I feel like this is my fault for not bringing this to your attention sooner, I will make an exception and extend the challenge by one day if you are interested in making a step-by-step or photo entry. I am not guaranteeing that this project will be a winner, but I feel badly that I did not catch this sooner.

Ah shoot. That's too bad. What is the reason for no video submissions? That seems to be the case with a number of the contests I've seen the last few months as well. I don't think I'll make a new step by step instructable for the contests, but thanks for the offer.

Mattrox (author)2011-11-07

Wow! Another great video from NightHawkInLight!

NightHawkInLight (author)Mattrox2011-11-07


JonahLuck (author)2011-11-07

Very cool.

Exscaly (author)2011-11-07

Wow. That is just... wow.

nerd97 (author)2011-11-06

It's amazing how something so simple canbe that awesome. I thought it would be trickier.

NightHawkInLight (author)nerd972011-11-06

Yeah not too tough to figure out is it. It's a whole lot of fun for $1 worth of steel wool and thirty seconds of prep.

PeteFromOz (author)2011-11-06

Wow, I never realised that firewire was so impressive, its a wonder that eSATA or USB3 took off at all!! ;)

Seriously tho, it does look awesome!!


About This Instructable




Bio: I like turning boring things into awesome things! Usually on video.
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