4 Fun Fireworks for the Mighty Fourth
Here are 4 more projects to help fill your bucket of fireworks ideas for your July 4th fireworks display. These are from the fireworking mind of Ned Gorski. Each project is designed to get your creative juices flowing in new and exciting ways.
Remember, you don't have to copy what Ned does exactly. Just use these tips to create your own signature pieces for your show.
Consumer Fireworks Set-Piece
A set-piece is a ground display using lancework, firework wheels, or other devices that are either on or near the ground, or mounted to poles, frames or other structures. They are "set" in one place vs. flying, or being launched into the air.
One of the more common set-pieces you may have seen is an American flag similar to the picture above.
The project we have for you today was created by one of Ned's friends, Jeremiah Smith. Jeremiah was the winner of the Best Consumer Fireworks Show competition at the National Fireworks Association convention in 2007.
He developed and shared this method of using large Ground Bloom Flowers to create a stunning device.
Ground Bloom Flowers are small consumer fireworks that, when ignited, spin on the ground in a pattern that looks similar to a flower. Usually they change colors three times, often from red to green to gold. We will take advantage of this burn pattern to produce a set piece that changes color three times.
Because the Ground Bloom Flowers will be fixed to the set-piece they will not spin and will only be used for color.
Building the device:
First assemble a frame into the desired shape of your set-piece using any sturdy material. Ned built a star shaped frame using a wood board he ripped down to 1/2-inch square stock using a table saw. The pieces were simply tied together and secured with steel wire. But you could just as easily use tomato stakes, stiff wire, or other materials.
end (as shown in the photos below, with fuses facing outward) to the frame by using fiberglass reinforced strapping tape. Remember to attach the Ground Bloom Flowers very securely or they will fly off.
Now that you have secured the Ground Bloom Flowers, chain all the fuses together in rows by overlapping the green visco fuse attached to each Flower with your fast fuse. Tie them side by side with masking tape.
We tie the fuses together in rows so that we can ignite several rows at once. This gives us much faster ignition than if a single fuse was made to trace around all the edges of the star.
We then bring all the fuses together to a single ignition point. This is where we will put our visco safety fuse or ematch.
Remember you do not need to just limit yourself to star shapes; you can make letters, other shapes or even complex objects using this method. You are limited only by your own imagination…and by how many Ground Bloom Flowers you have.
Star Set-Piece Using Ground Bloom Flowers and Fast-Visco Fusing
Another big hit, day or night is a Firecracker "Tree." Firecracker trees are large assemblies of firecrackers that are hung from a post or stand. The firecrackers hang so that, as the fuses burn, the crackers fall freely and explode in the air. This in-air explosion causes the sound to be much louder than just lighting them on the ground.
Most people simply hang the firecrackers in a single line and light them. But if you want something that will REALLY wow your audience, try this technique:
Overlap increasingly longer lengths of firecrackers, so when ignited from the narrowest point, the effect gets louder and more powerful (think of an upside down triangle). This way the excitement builds and builds. You do not need to fuse the separate sections. Simply placing two strings of firecrackers touching each other is enough to burn though the thin paper covers and ignite each section.
In the example below, Ned has built a firecracker tree using two 8000-firecracker rolls taped together using fiberglass reinforced strapping tape. He then suspended his firecracker tree from a 2×2 stand. Notice in the pictures below how he has woven steel wire though the folds to create a sturdy point to hang his tree.
Assembling and Erecting the Firecracker Tree
Another fun way to use firecrackers in your show is to suspend a wall of firecrackers from a frame or wire. Below you can see an example of 6 strings of firecrackers hanging from a frame made from 2x4s. All the strings are lit at the same time with whatever quick fuse you have.
See those 4 packages at the top of each string? Those are referred to as "head bombs." Head bombs are packages of firecrackers fused so that all of the firecrackers within go off at about the same time. Talk about an exciting finish!
Firecracker Wall with Head Bombs
No matter how you use firecrackers in your show, they will be great attention getters. So bring on the noise, and incorporate firecrackers into your next display.
Simultaneously Firing Rows of Fountains
A common theme that highly impactful displays all have is the technique of firing multiples of the same firework simultaneously. I love to use this technique with lines of fountains.
I'll often kick off a show with a line of glittering fountains, as this slow and graceful opener gets everyone's attention, and gives them time to take their seats.
But fountains should not just be limited to show openers. Fountains can be extremely useful in creating layered effects. Imagine a wall of fountains in front of your audience with small shells breaking above them. This fills the spectators' vision with fireworks creating what pyro-magicians like to call "a wall of fire."
Unless you hang out with a bunch of fireworks nuts, you've probably never heard of a fireworks waterfall. Let me explain.
A waterfall is a row of several (usually 10 or more) soft silver fountains suspended from a wire or frame with the fountains facing down (or forward). When lit, the sparks from the fountain cascade down like water to mimic–you guessed it–a waterfall.
It's a very pretty effect and is something most people have never seen before.
Below you can see a simple fountain waterfall that Ned assembled using cone fountains attached to a wooden frame. In this case he attached the fountains by punching holes though the empty bottoms of the cones and used zip ties to attach them to the frame.
If bottoms of your fountains are not hollow, they could be glued or taped in place. Just make sure they are securely attached.
Once the fountains have been attached to the frame, connect each fountain fuse to a piece of fast fuse or quickmatch so that all of the fountains fire at the same time. Be sure and raise them high enough, so you get the full waterfall effect.