How to Make a Firecracker

Three Methods:Getting Ready to Make a FirecrackerMaking the FirecrackerUsing the Firecracker

The explosive pop of small firecrackers can add excitement to an outdoor party. If you're chemistry minded, you may want to try your hand at making your own. Proceed with caution; firecrackers are made with highly flammable materials, and proper safety measures must be taken to ensure that you don't get hurt. This article details steps for making firecrackers out of ping pong balls. Do not attempt to make firecrackers if you live in a state that prohibits them.

Method 1
Getting Ready to Make a Firecracker

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    Take safety precautions. Any time you're working with a flammable substance it is extremely important to make sure you don't put yourself, other people, your property, and the natural world at risk of getting burned or set on fire. Plan to make the firecrackers outdoors so that you don't put your house at risk, and make sure children and pets are kept away from the area.
    • Set up a workspace well away from the house, work shed, and other structures on your property.
    • Don't work on firecrackers near trees, telephone poles, and other outdoor features.
    • It's best to set up on a concrete patio or bare dirt. Avoid working with explosives near dry grass or other plants that could catch fire.
    • Wear goggles to protect your eyes while working with firecracker materials.
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    Gather supplies. Firecrackers are made with a shell to contain the explosive materials and a small fuse that you light to set it off. The following materials can be purchased from large department stores that sell ammunition and sporting goods.
    • One ping pong ball for each firecracker you plan to make.
    • Thick string, which will be used as the fuse.
    • A sharp nail and a razor to make holes in the ping pong ball.
    • Duct tape or another sturdy tape to patch up the hole.
    • Black powder, also known as gunpowder, which is available where ammunition is sold. It comes in small canisters. Before buying black powder, get familiar with measures you must take to handle and store black powder safely.
    • Nail polish, which causes the firecracker to make a louder noise.

Method 2
Making the Firecracker

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    Bore a hole in the ping pong ball. Use the nail to make a small hole in the top of the ping pong ball. If necessary, you can use a hammer to help the nail puncture the ball.
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    Make a second hole at the base. Use the razor to cut a slightly larger hole opposite the hole you made with the nail. It should be large enough to allow you to pour the powder into the ping pong ball.
    • Use a razor with a handle for greater precision. Be careful not to cut yourself as you wield it; the surface of the ping pong ball may be slippery.
    • If you don't have a razor, use a nail or another item to bore a few holes close together to create a hole large enough to pour the powder through.
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    Make a fuse. Cut a length of the string several inches long and thread it through the nail hole in the ping pong ball. Pull it through so that the base of the string hangs in the center of the ball, and the end of the string juts out from the ball by an inch or two.
    • If you have trouble threading the string through the hole, dip it in a bit of melted wax to create a hardened tip, then push the tip through the hole.
    • For a slower-burning fuse, dip the length of the string in candle wax or beeswax. When you light the fuse, it will burn more slowly before the firecracker explodes.
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    Fill the ping pong ball with powder. Use a small spoon or funnel to fill the ball 3/4 full with the black powder. Don't overfill the ball.
    • Never smoke or light a flame while handling black powder.
    • Take care not to spill any black powder in your workspace. If you spill some, clean it up with a dustpan and broom and dispose of it safely.
    • As soon as you're finished with the gunpowder, close the canister tightly and store it in a cool, dry place away from flammable or combustible substances.
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    Patch the fill hole. Use a piece of duct tape to patch the hole, pressing down firmly to make sure it doesn't come loose. The fuse hole should not be covered.
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    (Optional) Paint the firecracker. Use nail polish to paint the outside of the firecracker. Allow it to dry completely.

Method 3
Using the Firecracker

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    Find a safe outdoor space. An open concrete lot away from buildings and cars is the ideal place to use a firecracker. Do not set off a firecracker near people, houses, or any other structures that might catch fire.
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    Light the fuse. Use a match or a lighter to carefully light the tip of the fuse. Don't light the fuse at it's base, or the firecracker may explode prematurely.
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    Set the firecracker down and walk away. Don't linger close to the firecracker after it has been lit. Set it on a cool, dry foundation - not grass or another flammable material - and quickly walk several yards away.
    • DO NOT light the fuse until children, pets, and other people are at a safe distance from the firecracker.
    • Never place a firecracker inside a glass bottle or drinking glass. The glass may break, and the aftereffects could be very dangerous.
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    Watch the firecracker explode. It contains just enough black powder to create a satisfying crack and add an element of excitement to an outdoor party.


  • The string idea for a fuse rarely, if ever, works. You don't need rocket science to know that a string will stop burning once it hits the tape. You can buy model cannon fuses from hobby stores.
  • Use your firecracker on the fourth of July.


  • Take all safety precautions. Do not use firecrackers near children or flammable structures.

Things You'll Need

  • Ping pong ball
  • String
  • Nail
  • Razor
  • Black powder
  • Duct tape
  • Nail polish

Article Info

Categories: Fireworks