DIY fireworks in action

DIY fireworks in action


I made some fireworks on the 4th of July from the TurboPyro kit I received. The text, photos and in-line videos in the .pdf file made it easy to follow the recipe for big, fat, awesome tube sparklers. The process was simple and fun, and I had my son write up this handy checklist:

First, you weigh out, screen, and mix potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur to make gunpowder. Allow me to repeat that: To make gunpowder! Bill Gurstelle once told me that everyone should experience making their own gunpowder; now I see why. It is exhilarating!

Next, add ferro titanium powder (that’s what makes the sparks), tamp it into a little tube, put a fuse in it, and carefully impale it on a bamboo skewer. Add a flame to the proceedings and big smiles quickly emerge.




A follow-up to the thought that my younger self would have been impressed by all of this: I was talking to my mom the other day, telling her about making sparklers. She laughed and reminded me about a secret shipment of fireworks I tried to smuggle into the house when I was in middle school. It was intercepted by my parents, and my dad drowned the whole lot of it in the bathroom sink. I can still hear the terrible screams of that gross of lady finger firecrackers; I was devastated. Well, this is my revenge mom and dad!

16 thoughts on “DIY fireworks in action

  1. Anonymous says:

    cool, if you cut a ping pong ball, insert this mixture,
    then wrap tight with aluminium foil and set alight you get a DIY smoke bomb.


    1. John Park says:

      Right on! The kit came with a bonus smoke bomb set, but it is of the “huge colored smoke a helicopter rescue crew can see you from miles away” variety, so I haven’t built it yet :)

  2. says:

    I remember the smuggled fireworks incident! I also remember the chapstick tube bomb . . .

  3. steve says:

    The site says the ebook is free, but there is no link to download it. Since you’ve dealt with the company maybe you know something I don’t? Even though the kits are gone, I’d love to read the ebook.

    1. John Park says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. I think their wording is wrong. The book is free with the order (you get a magical URL).

    2. Bob D says:

      Here’s a link to the TurboPyro eBook:

  4. Viadd says:

    I notice that you changed the order partway through:
    Weigh, Mix, Screen -> Weigh, Screen, Mix

    I hope that learning this wasn’t too traumatic. (Pull pin, count to five, throw).

    1. John Park says:

      Ha ha, yes, we noticed that before we started making anything :)

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John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

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