“It’s the most pyrotechnical time of the year.” If Halloween is a holiday that gives you permission to dress in bizarre costumes and push the envelope of publicly acceptable weirdness, July 4th in the US is a green light to joyfully blowing stuff up. The fire, the sound, the brilliant flashes of light and beautiful plumes of colored sparks, firework enthusiasts and Independence Day revelers can’t get enough of it.

Over the years, Make: has published a great variety of articles on all sorts of pyrotechnics, from celebratory fireworks to experimenting with electrically-generated sparks in the lab. Here are a few favorites.

Happy Fourth of July!

How Fireworks Work

firework1A look inside of fireworks and how they go about painting the sky with fire, light, color, and sound.

How to Photograph Fireworks

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Some tips on taking the best pics of explosions in the sky.

LED Fireworks

opener-e1409704206413Launch lots of little electronic lights in a soda bottle rocket and watch them parachute down. It’s LED “chutties!”

Sledgehammer Fireworks During Carnival

sledgehammer-1310This is one of the craziest things we ever posted about here on Make:, a Mexican celebration during Carnival where revelers strap fireworks to the heads of sledgehammers and then slam the hammers down onto metal plates to detonate them. “Darwin Award nominees, Line 1.”

Ultracapacitor Pyrotechnics

Getting into the 4th of July spirit? Let’s generate some pyrotechnics the nerdtastic way, with some giant and powerful ultracapacitors.

Pyrotechnical Painting

Watch pyrotechnical artist Sanela Jahic create paintings with fire.

Create a 10-Foot-Tall Fire Tornado

With a few household items, you can build a firenado that will put smaller fires and tabletop tornadoes to shame.

How-To: Make Match Rockets


The always brilliant and entertaining Steve Hoefer shows you how to make simple, effective, and fun rockets from paper matches.

Top Ten Flamethrower Projects

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Let’s take a look at ten flamethrower projects we’ve covered here on Make:.