White Sugar Smoke Instructions
Make smoke bombs like this--the easy way.
Easy to Make Smoke Bomb Project
Making sugar smoke bombs is a wonderful first project or a project to do with your kids or grandkids.
The process can teach you a lot about making fireworks. Such as weighting chemicals, grinding and screening chemicals, mixing a formula and most important troubleshooting in case something doesn't work quite as planned.
For this project:
- You don't need any fancy tools - Just a coffee grinder
- You only need a couple of chemicals, just Potassium Nitrate and Sorbitol (and normal table sugar will work if that's all you have)
- In a pinch, you can even use heavy duty aluminum foil for the casing!
How to Make White Smoke Balls:
White smoke can easily be made with a mixture of 60% Potassium Nitrate and 40% Sorbitol. Or 50/50 Potassium Nitrate and common sugar (sucrose).
Before getting started you will need to reduce both the Sugar and Potassium Nitrate to fine powders that can easily pass through a 60-mesh screen.
To do this I suggest using a small blade coffee mill. Sorbitol clumps up in storage quickly so it should be pushed through a 60-mesh screen or powdered using the coffee grinder.
WARNING: Always grind chemicals separately! Never grind a mixture of an oxidizer and a fuel or the mixture could ignite and cause injury. It's best to have separate coffee grinders for oxidizers and fuels, but if only one is available, carefully clean it between chemicals to ensure there is no cross-contamination.
To create a small 100-gram batch of white smoke mix, weigh out 60 grams of finely powdered Potassium Nitrate and 40 grams of Sorbitol. or 50 grams of Potassium Nitrate and 50 grams of Powdered Sugar.
Place the weighed out chemicals into a sealable container that is at least 4 times the volume of the chemicals to be mixed. For this small 100-gram batch, a small Tupperware container or even a gallon Ziploc bag will work.
Verify that the container or bag is sealed tightly. Aggressively shake the container back and forth to completely mix the two chemicals. Once mixed your white smoke mix will be ready for loading into heavy cardboard tubes or the containers of your choice.
WARNING: Be careful, this mixture is now very flammable.
Using a 1-Inch Cardboard Stinger Missile Tube:
Place your empty Stringer tube on a sheet of printer-paper on a flat surface. Squeeze into the tube enough hot glue to form a 1/2-Inch plug at the bottom of the tube and let the hot glue cool to room temperature. The printer paper can easily be torn away if it has stuck to the hot-glue.
Add several scoops of your smoke mix into the tube until it is filled within about an inch of the top. Now crumple a small ball of aluminum foil around the middle of a 6-inch length of fuse. This foil ball should be slightly bigger than the diameter of the tube (1-inch) as it will soon serve as a plug for our smoke device.
Insert the fuse then the foil plug into the open end of the tube. If the foil ball is to loose add a little more foil until it fits loosely but is secure enough that it will not fall out. You do not need to glue this plug in place the burning smoke comp will push it out allowing the smoke to properly vent.
Using Aluminum Foil:
A simple smoke bomb can be made by placing a few scoops of white smoke mix in the center of a 6x6 square of heavy aluminum foil. Form the foil around the smoke mix like a bowl.
Insert a small length of visco fuse and loosely close down the aluminum foil around the fuse. there is no need to compact wither the smoke mix or the closure around the fuse. When finished you should have an aluminum foil ball filled with smoke mix, and a length of fuse extending from one side.
Troubleshooting Your Smoke Devices:
My Smoke device did not light or burned and then went out.
Sometimes this can happen if:
- The smoke chemicals were not mixed well enough
Solution: Re-mix any remaining smoke mix and try again.
- If the chemicals have not been ground fine enough to pass through a 60 mesh screen
Solution: Sometimes adding an additional 10% potassium nitrate to the mix will remedy coarse ingredients. Try this first. If this is not successful try grinding the chemicals finer in a new batch and take time to make sure they are well mixed.
- If you are using common sugar rather then sorbitol and it has absorbed moisture from the air
Solution: table sugar absorbs moisture quickly. If you are in a humid climate try using sorbitol instead as it is less hygroscopic.
My smoke device exploded or burned very fast.
This may happen if:
- The vent hole is too small
Solution: The best fix is to slow down the smoke mix by adding additional fuel. Start by adding 5% additional powdered sugar. You can also add an additional vent hole or try a tube with a wider opening.