Easy Way to Dampen Firework Star Compositions

A great way to dampen five pounds or less of firework star formulations requires only a large (3'x 3') sheet of heavy Kraft paper and a spray bottle. First, lie out the Kraft paper on a flat surface and spread the firework star mix out in a thin layer roughly two feet in diameter on the paper. Set the spray bottle to deliver a fine mist of water (assuming the mix is water dampened) and begin to spray the surface of the firework star powder. Try to avoid hitting the paper directly with the spray. The idea is to keep the paper as dry as possible. Do not spray so heavily on the powder that balls of wet firework star composition begin to form.

Go slowly with the spray and mix the powder around on the paper frequently, always reforming it into a round thin mass like a pizza crust before applying more water. Test the powder periodically by squeezing a handful into a ball. Be careful not to over-dampen the firework star mixture. Most beginners tend to get their firework star compositions way too wet. The mix is about right when the ball of powder holds together well but does not glisten on the surfaces (it still retains a matte finish) and does not leave the skin on your hand particularly dirty. When you get close to the point where you think the firework star mixture is damp enough, let it sit for ten or fifteen minutes before doing any more spraying. Quite often after sitting, the powder will seem to get wetter by itself, as the moisture content evens out throughout the firework star composition.

The nice thing about this method is that the spray bottle makes it very easy to control how much water is added at a time, and once you get the hang of using it, over-dampening can usually be avoided. For future reference, keep careful notes on how much water was sprayed from the bottle (by weight) so that if you scale up the amount of composition being mixed, you will have a good idea how much water per pound of powder is needed. This method is also nice because it is easier to work the water into the powder than if the water was just poured in on top of the powder in a mixing bowl. And with no bowls or utensils, cleanup is fast and easy.

[Note: You can insure against accidental over-wetting by setting aside about 10% of the dry-mixed firework star composition at the beginning. Then, if you do get the mix too wet, you can add some of the dry firework star composition in to compensate.]

Easy Way To Dampen Large Amounts Of Firework Star Compositions

This is a good, fast way to dampen production quantities of firework star compositions (up to one hundred pounds or so). It requires two tubs and a 1/4" by 1/4" mesh stainless steel screen mounted in a frame, which will fit over one of the tubs. The tubs should be large enough so that the amount of firework star composition you intend to work with would fill one tub no more than about half way. Place the powder in one of the tubs and add the correct amount of water to dampen the mixture. Wearing heavy rubber gloves that extend past your elbows, mix the composition and water together with your hands. Until the mix gets thoroughly dampened, it is necessary to wear a well fitting dust mask, dust hood and coveralls. Since the water has been just dumped in with the dry powder, it will tend to ball up and not mix evenly with the firework star composition. The problem is corrected by running the mix through the 1/4" mesh screen into the second tub. The holes in the screen will act to break up any clumps of powder and even out the moisture content nicely. If necessary the powder can be run through the screen twice. The screen should not clog if the firework star composition has been dampened with the correct percentage of water.

--From John Werner

Materials Needed
  • Firework stars
  • Kraft paper
  • Screen, 1/4" x 1/4"
  • Spray bottle
  • Tubs
  • Water
Previous article How To Make Saxon Spark Wheels