Boom Goes the Dynamite

Introduction: Boom Goes the Dynamite

Who doesn't love a good Murder? And what is a Murder without some boomsticks? For my upcoming Western-themed Murder Mystery Party I decided one of the characters needed a good prop in the form of some sticks of dynamite. Here's how this was made.

Ready? Light the fuse and let's go!

Step 1: Materials & Planning

For this you will need:

Some wooden dowel, I used 1" but you might be able to get away with 3/4" or 1 1/4". You could probably also use PVC pipe or similar. I cut my dowel to 8" lengths.

Fuses - I used plain ol' cotton twine, more on that in the next step.

Holemaker Deluxe, Lord Peter Spinsy, or other drilling device.

Glue - PVA wood glue worked well.

Paint - Cherry Red or darker. I had some left over from a previous project.

Paint - Black (or you can leave the fuses natural)


Black circular stickers (optional)

Time: about 4 hours, not including paint drying time.

Step 2: Don't Let Me Con-Fuse You

I won't refuse to tell you how to make these - in fact, this whole instructable is infused with knowledge and effusively put together for your elucidation.

Get some string. I used some cotton twine, but pretty much anything that looks right will work.

Now you'll probably find the string is too floppy to be used directly, so it'll need some stiffening up.

Cut your string to an appropriate length - around 8-10" or so. Cut it overlong, since you can trim it later if needed.

Squeeze out a little PVA wood glue onto one hand (wear gloves, you ninny - surgical or nitride gloves work well) and liberally roll the twine or string into the glue, taking care to suffuse the entire length. Work the glue well into the fibers, and then leave to dry on a non-wooden surface - butcher's or waxed paper works well.

After about 2-3 hours your twine should be completely dry, and much stiffer. You can leave it au natural, or paint it - I used matte black spray paint, 1-2 coats is all that's needed.

Step 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Here's where we make the sticks. First thing you want to do is reach for the Holemaker Deluxe and drill a small hole in the center of one end of each of your sticks. Doesn't have to be too accurate, but feel free to use the method of your choosing to mark the center. I used a 7/64" bit - just make sure your fuses will fit into the hole. Drill the hole about 1/2" deep to provide a good anchor point for the fuse.

Painting is next, and what can be more fun than making a big ol' mess all over the place. To avoid this, put down a drop cloth or tarp. I draped one over the backs of two chairs, clamped each stick inside a bar clamp, and rested the bar clamp on the chair backs. This allowed me to paint the entire stick at once, avoiding issues with uneven coverage. Once the sides of each stick were dry I unclamped the sticks and painted the ends.

Step 4: Some Assembly Required

The way sticks of dynamite are constructed is the red is a paper wrapper around the explosive core, so now we've painted on the wrapper, we need to expose a little of the delicious dynamitey insides. The ends you pre-drilled will become such. There are a couple of methods here, the quickest route is to use small round black stickers - apply, and poke holes through into the holes you drilled into those in the sticks. You can of course use paint instead, but that is much more fiddly and will only add to your drying time.

Glue the fuses you made earlier into the holes.

Tape the sticks together if you like - I used black electricians tape, which is probably not period authentic, but works well and looks great. If you do join the sticks, twist the fuses together and hold with more tape or PVA glue. Trim fuses to length.

Step 5: Dynamite, Dynamite Not

Et voila! Your dynamite has a shelf life of a very long time, won't get sweaty, and with careful handling should provide hours of fun for all the family.

Bonus Features

You can enhance the power and appeal of your dynamite with the following optional extras:

1. Paint/ draw/ tattoo the word "TNT" along each stick (or just one in a bundle of three)

2. Find some way to "age" the sticks - real dynamite would over time leak nitroglycerine into the wrapper ("sweating"), which was dangerous and would occasionally cause miners' hands to spontaneously explode. Making your dynamite look more deadly will only add to the appeal.

3. Make a Handy Crate O' Dynamite* and fill it with boom sticks.

Don't forget to post your pictures here!

* Shameless plug - instructable coming soon!

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago


    Add a shimmering orange led (perhaps via a light conductor) starting on touch, to make the "fuse" appear spontaneously ignited for that "Uh-oh" effect.

    At least it won't be a mystery why your guests killed you then ;)



    Reply 2 years ago

    Great idea - maybe even incorporate a thermistor or flame detector so the fuse can be "lit" :)