Blue & Pink (Gender Reveal) Fireworks Stars


For this article, we'll be making cut stars. You will need stars and supplies and tools to make these stars and can find several items in your local grocery store, or dollar store. Have all the materials needed on hand and a prepared, safe workspace before starting the project.

When preparing star and prime compositions, do it outdoors. Check the weather. It's best to prepare these mixtures on a dry, warm day with very little wind. Wind can really ruin this process, by throwing off your weights and blowing your powders around the work area and onto you as well. Wait for good weather to make these compositions.

Wear long-sleeved cotton clothing only. No synthetics. Wear safety glasses when appropriate. Wear a face mask to cut down on exposure to dust.


  • Sturdy table located outside, away from sources of ignition
  • Chair if needed, or table propped up to a good height to work on while standing


(Most of these items can be found at your local Walmart or any home improvement store)

  • Digital scale, ~500g capacity will work, accuracy to 0.1gram
  • Electric coffee grinders (for potassium nitrate or perchlorate ONLY)
  • Mortar and Pestle (for Hexamine in the blue star formula)
  • Fireworks Screens:
    • 3 mesh (optional)
    • 4 mesh (optional)
    • 10 mesh (optional)
    • 60 mesh
    • 100 mesh
  • Scissors
  • Straight-edged Knife for cutting stars
  • Shims for making cut stars (3/16" thick and 1/8" thick work well)
  • Dowel for flattening out the cut star composition
  • Round bottom mixing bowl (for priming)
  • Colander/Strainer (for priming)
  • Measuring Cup (for priming)
  • Small paint brush (for cleaning the screens)


(Most of these items can be found at your local Walmart, arts & crafts store, or grocery store)

  • Disposable Gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • Safety Goggles
  • Sandwich size zipper baggies
  • Sharpie
  • Masking tape
  • Popsicle sticks or Craft sticks
  • Plastic spoons
  • Paper or plastic weighing cups (4oz or 5oz work well)
  • Large Roll of Kraft Paper
  • Parchment Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • 25% Alcohol / 75% Water (in spray bottle)**


  • 25% Alcohol
  • 75% Water

If you are starting with denatured alcohol (effectively 100% alcohol), the dilution is simple. You just need 1 part alcohol (25%) to 3 parts water (75%).

If you are starting with 70% Rubbing alcohol and diluting it into, say, a 25 oz spray bottle, you will need:

  • 9 oz of 70% Isopropanol
  • 16 oz of Water (fill it up to the 25 oz mark)

This ratio doesn't have to be perfect...+/- 5% will be fine. We will use this solvent to wet the star compositions, prime compositions, and to spray things clean like the mortar and pestle, fireworks screens, bench tops, etc. The low alcohol concentration makes this solvent easy to wet surfaces and is relatively safe to work with. It isn't all that flammable, but use it outdoors and with adequate ventilation.

Skylighter Parts:

(All of the chemical supplies can be purchased from Skylighter which provides all of the pyrotechnic supplies needed for this project.)


Go ahead and lay out the supplies from the kit on a sturdy table, outdoors, preferably on a not-too-windy day. An easy-up canopy works great as shade if you need it. Cover the table with a layer of kraft paper and tape it down on the edges with masking tape to secure it, like this:

Supplies you'll need to make Spanish Stars

You'll need several mesh screens for sieving the chemicals, mixing the star compositions, and separating stars based on their size.

100 and 60 mesh screens for making fireworks


In any fireworks building activity, take the time to make sure things are organized and well situated. Good organization not only makes for a safe workplace but also can eliminate stress in the process because you know where everything is! Plus, by investing a little time to prep the area, you end up saving time because you know where everything is, things are in reach, and you end up producing better quality fireworks. As you go through the process, make a point to clean up along the way. This isn't nagging - it's peace of mind and safety, and translates to better quality.

For making stars and prime, do this activity outdoors. A pop-up tent set up just outside the garage or your backyard works well to keep the sun from heating everything (and you) up HOT, and to avoid getting a build-up of flammable dust everywhere. Masking things down with kraft paper is also very helpful, as you can wrap up each activity and toss the balls of paper containing trace amounts of spilled chemicals or pyrotechnic dusts into an outdoor firepit. This “hot trash" is flammable and dangerous to throw in your normal garbage can, and is better to be disposed of by burning it AFTER you break down your setup, and have all pyrotechnic compositions safely put away.

Additionally, you'll need a little black powder style prime as a final coat to ensure ignition of the star prime. Although these stars have a primer composition that claims to require just one step, the star prime has a tendency to be blown blind with a lift charge in a mine. So go ahead and make up a little BP prime as well. Here's a simple formula that works great for this:

Formulas Blue Pink Star Prime BP Prime
Potassium Nitrate - - 31% 75%
Potassium Perchlorate 49% 48% 25% -
Charcoal - - 12% 15%
Sulfur - - 5% 10%
Black Iron Oxide - - 7% -
Black Copper Oxide 18.4% 7% - -
Strontium Carbonate - 11% - -
Magnalium 4.1% 8% 12% -
Red Gum 8.2% 10% - -
Hexamine 4.1% - - -
Parlon 12.2% 12% - -
Phenolic Resin - - 4% -
Dextrin 4% 4% 4% +4%
Total (%) 100% 100% 100% 104%
Denatured Alcohol + 20% + 20% + 20% + 20%


In any fireworks making activity, it is essential to have a good idea of how much composition you'll need to make enough stars for your pyrotechnic endeavors. Depending on the diameter of shells you want to make (ie: 2.5", 3", 4", etc.), the number of shells you want to make, and how you want to arrange the stars in these shells, you'll want to plan out what size kit you'll need to accomplish the goals you have in mind.

Sizes of cut stars for the diameter of shells you want to make can be found in the Aerial Shell Fireworks Making Charts

It's very helpful to use a spreadsheet to get all the formulations organized and planned out, like MS Excel, Apple Numbers, Google Sheets, or whatever you want to use. In addition to using multiplication formulas to scale each composition, it helps to total all your components. Since you will be using similar chemicals across the two different formulas, you can plan on how much of each chemical you'll need, which can save you a lot of time.


First, make sure your oxidizers pass 100 mesh screens, whether they come straight out of the bag (like potassium perchlorate), or come out of the coffee grinder (like potassium nitrate). This is important for reliable ignition, consistent performance, and good color purity of the stars.

Screening your oxidizers (and hexamine) will require a 100 MESH SCREEN.

Screening potassium nitrate through a 100-mesh screen
Potassiu nitrate after screening through a 100-mesh screen

Once the oxidizers are screened, weigh them out to make sure you've got the correct amounts. Use plastic mix cups and scoop the chemicals out with mixing sticks.

After the oxidizers are sieved and collected in your mixing cups, we'll need a little hexamine to add to the blue star composition, and it must be a fine powder to work right. This should also pass 100 mesh. Go ahead and spray down the screen with 25% alcohol in water and clean it off using paper towels. It should look pristine and dry, like this:

Cleaned 100-mesh screen bottom
Cleaned 100-mesh screen bottom top

We'll need to grind the clumpy hexamine. Weigh out a gram or two more than you'll need and add it to a mortar and pestle for grinding into a fine powder. You may need to use a plastic spoon to get the clumps broken up.

Hexamine clumps in a mortar
Grinding hexamine with a mortar and pestle

Placing a piece of fresh kraft paper underneath the clean 100-mesh screen, sieve the ground hexamine through the screen using the back of a plastic spoon or the fingertips of your gloved hands. Repeat the grinding process and continue collecting the hexamine until you weigh the amount you need of fine powder.

Ground hexamine on a 100-mesh screen
Screening hexamine through a 100-mesh screen
Screened hexamine
Hexamine weighing after screening

Starting with blue, add each chemical according to the formula presented in the table above. For efficiency, you can weigh out a given chemical and add the required portions to each composition baggie. This is why labeling your baggies and cups are very important!

In the pictures below, dextrin, red gum, and parlon are shown being added to the blue composition baggie. It gets messy! Again, make sure to do this on a calm and still day, without wind.

Weighing dextrin for making blue fireworks stars
Weighing red gum for making blue fireworks stars
Weighing parlon for making blue fireworks stars

Eventually, you'll have baggies with all the correct proportions of components in them. Go ahead and carefully mix the compositions of each baggie now. Flick the zippers of the baggies to remove any loose powders and seal up each baggie airtight. Leave a little air in there, so it makes the mixing easier to do. Taking each baggie, gently squish opposite sides back and forth, while rotating it side to side. The idea is to gently, but thoroughly pre-mix the powders together before you do the final mixing on the 60-mesh screen. The blue and pink star mixtures will appear light brown, and the primes will appear dark grey. Note, these are just pre-mixed, not fully mixed compositions yet! You will need to screen-mix them, refer to explanation below.

Chemicals for blue fireworks stars ready for bag mixing
Bag mixed chemicals for blue fireworks stars

SAFETY: Upon mixing each baggie carefully, treat the mixed compositions from this point forward with the respect that they deserve. Avoid sources of ignition and static electricity. Make sure you are wearing all-cotton clothing, as well as wear goggles and a mask. You do NOT want to breathe in or get dust in your eyes.

weighing chemicals to make blue fireworks stars
Bgs of firework star compositions ready for mixing

After each baggie is mixed by hand, you'll have your compositions ready for screen-mixing. The copper oxide, iron oxide, red gum, and strontium carbonate may be a little clumpy, but they mostly break up into fine powder eventually after a few passes through a mixing screen.


Each composition needs to be thoroughly mixed for them to perform their best. We do this by passing them through a 60 MESH SCREEN.

PRO STRATEGY TIP: Blue can get easily washed out if it gets impurities in it. Pink is a little more tolerant but is still a bit finnicky. For prime composition, color doesn't matter.

  1. Start with your clean 60-mesh fireworks screen and pass the blue composition through it FIRST.
  2. Pass the pink mixture through AFTER the blue.
  3. The prime composition will be the LAST mixture you pass through the screen.

Doing the screen mixing in this order will ensure you don't add strontium carbonate to your blue, which may turn the color purple! On the other hand, a tiny bit of blue in your pink composition won't change the color. Passing the prime through the screen LAST will prevent charcoal, sulfur, iron oxide, and potassium nitrate from getting into your color mixtures. If you really want to prevent any mixing you can clean the screens in between screening each composition.

Okay, for screen-mixing, lay out a fresh piece of kraft paper bigger than the framed screen, and label the paper with a Sharpie to match the composition you are mixing.

Place the screen on the kraft paper and put on some nitrile gloves.

Take your blue star composition, open the baggie, and pour it onto the middle of the screen. Work your fingers through the composition against the screen, alternating between a wiggly-smearing motion against the screen, followed by a few gentle taps on the screen. You will notice different colors being smeared across the screen as you pass the composition through, as the red gum, copper oxide, potassium perchlorate, and other components get rubbed through the screen and fall underneath, onto the piece of kraft paper. Continue smearing and tapping the screen until most of the composition has passed through.

Fireworks star composition dumped onto a 100-mesh screen for mixing
Screen mixing fireworks star composition on a 100-mesh screen
100-mesh screen after screen mixing fireworks composition

Notice how the red gum clumps got pushed through last? See all these different-colored shades of powders as you fold up the composition that passes through?

Fireworks star composition that's been passed through a 100-mesh screen
Fireworks star composition that's been passed through a 100-mesh screen
Screen mixed fireworks star composition

The pre-mixed star compositions are just not mixed enough using hand-mixing. Screen mixing makes a huge difference with the quality of your fireworks, and no serious fire worker skimps on screens, unless they want their fireworks to suck.

Again, if you were thinking you could just skip the screens, that won't work.

Screening your oxidizers and hexamine will require a 100 MESH SCREEN. Screen-mixing star composition and prime will require the 60 MESH SCREEN.

Repeat the screen-mixing again, passing everything through the screen a second time onto another piece of kraft paper.

Screen mixing fireworks composition through 100-mesh screen
Fireworks screen after screen mixing fireworks composition
Screen mixed fireworks star composition

Repeat one last time, mixing the composition through a total of three times. The blue star composition is now fully mixed, and you can carefully pour this into a new plastic baggie and seal it shut.

Full mixed bag of blue fireworks star composition

Switch over to the pink star composition, laying out another piece of kraft paper and labeling it. Just like the blue, smear and tap the pink composition through the 60-mesh screen three times to fully mix the components together and break up any clumps of fuel, oxidizer, or coloring agents so they are intimately mixed in a dry powder.

Spanish Star prime composition after screen mixing

Once the star compositions are passed through the screen, do the same for the prime composition, passing it through three times.

Spanish Star prime composition after screen mixing

Take your pieces of kraft paper, crumple them into balls, and add them to your hot-trash pile to burn off later. These pieces of powder-ladened kraft paper are highly flammable, so exercise caution with them.

PRO TIP: As your screens get dirty in the process of passing star compositions or oxidizers through them, you can clean them by first using a small, dry paint brush to help remove most of the powders left on the screens and frame. Afterwards, you can get them really clean by spraying them down with water or 25% alcohol in water and wiping them off with paper towels to get most of the chemicals off. Make sure to toss these in your “hot trash" pile, to safely burn off later when you're all packed up and the pyro is removed from the site. As a final wash, you can spray these sturdy screens down with a garden hose and wipe them dry with paper towels to get them SUPER clean! Pat them down with a paper towel and prop them up against a wall outside to dry in the sun. They will last a long time if you take good care of them.


(Most of these items can be found at your local Walmart or any home improvement store)

  • Digital scale, ~500g capacity will work, accuracy to 0.1gram
  • Scissors
  • Straight-edged Knife for cutting stars
  • Shims for making cut stars (3/16" thick and 1/8" thick work well)
  • Dowel for flattening out the cut star composition

(Most of these items can be found at your local Walmart, arts & crafts store, or grocery store)

  • Disposable Gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • Safety Goggles
  • Sandwich size zipper baggies
  • Parchment Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • 25% Alcohol / 75% Water (in a spray bottle) **

These star compositions require about 20% solvent by weight added to the mixture to create a putty that is suitable for making cut stars. Some of the star composition will get lost during the screen mixing (not to mention a few burn tests to check the color!), so the composition will likely come in under the amount you planned for. Weigh the amount of composition you now have and multiply it by 0.2 to get the amount of 25% alcohol you'll need.

Weighing blue fireworks star composition

Take an empty bag and weighing container and zero it out. The actual composition bag can then be swapped in to find the powder weight. Based on this, calculate the solvent needed to wet the composition. You might need a little more or less depending on how workable the final putty is.

The composition was again zeroed out, and 25% alcohol solvent was added to the bag to bring it up to the amount needed. You can then zip up the bag (leave some air in there) and start mixing it.

Weighing blue fireworks star composition
Blue fireworks star composition ready for alcohol
Blue fireworks star composition with alcohol added

Mix and mix...until you have a little putty ball in the baggie. Mixing in the zipper baggie really cuts down on dust and keeps the water/alcohol from evaporating.

Bag mixing alcohol into blue fireworks star composition
Alcohol mixed into blue fireworks star composition

Next, grab your shims, dowel, straight cutting knife, and some parchment paper. Tear out a few sheets of parchment and lay them down on the table.

Supplies needed for rolling out a ball of composition and cutting into stars.

Drop your star putty ball onto a sheet of parchment, add another sheet on top, place the shims side-by-side, then roll the putty ball out to a flat pancake until it is as thick as the shims on either side.

Ball of fireworks composition ready to flatten for cutting
Fireworks composition ready to flatten for cutting
Flattening fireworks star composition for cutting

You may have crumbly edges after flattening the putty out. Trim these just like you would make a pizza and add the putty back into the bag, that way you can reuse it to make other smaller stars.

Rolling flat a putty of fireworks composition
Fireworks composition ready for cutting
Trimming the edges of a flattened fireworks comp putty
Fireworks composition ready for cutting

Once you have a nice rectangle, cut them up into little cubes. The thicker the shim, the larger the cubes. Here, we used a 3/16" shim to make the first round of cut stars.

Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition

If you want to make more of the same stars, go ahead and repeat the process. If you want to make smaller stars and obtain a variety of star sizes, use a thinner shim and make smaller cubes. Here, we used 1/8" thick shims to make smaller cut stars.

Ball of fireworks composition
Rolling flat fireworks composition
Rolled flat fireworks composition
Fireworks composition flattened for cutting
Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition
Cutting fireworks star composition

Some odds and ends will remain - don't worry about those. Go ahead and let all the stars dry for several days, or several hours if drying under the sun or in a drying rack.

Cut fireworks stars ready to be dried
Dry stars


We will finish the stars with a final coating of black powder prime over the single-layer prime, which will make sure the stars ignite reliably.

Lay out the tools and supplies you'll need to prime these stars.

  • Round bottom mixing bowl
  • Colander/Strainer
  • Measuring Cup
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • Safety Goggles
  • Roll of kraft paper
  • Paper Towels
  • 25% Alcohol / 75% Water (in spray bottle)**
Supplies for priming Spanish Stars cut firework stars

To sort the stars based on their size, a few sieves really come in handy. We use a 3 mesh, 4 mesh, and 10 mesh to catch most of the useful star sizes for use in shells, rocket headings, or mines.

Skylighter has these screens built in a sturdy frame, which makes star sorting a cinch!

If you have the screens, and want to separate your stars based on size, stack the screens with the smallest mesh sizes (the biggest holes) on top, and the largest mesh size (smallest holes) on the bottom. This will make it so you can just pour the cut stars on the screen stack, and sieve the stars by their size through each screen. Once the top screen (3 mesh) won't let any more stars through, you can take this top screen off and pour these larger stars off onto a piece of kraft paper and label the stars as such. The next smallest screen (4 mesh) will then contain the smaller stars that passed through the larger mesh. Eventually, with enough shaking and light rubbing, the smaller stars will fall through this screen until they are caught by the 10 mesh screen underneath. Anything smaller than 10 mesh will fall through to the bottom of the stack and end up on a layer of kraft paper below.

3, 4 and 10 mesh fireworks making screens
Preparing to screen size fireworks stars
Screen sizing fireworks stars
Screen sizing fireworks stars
Screen sized fireworks stars
Screen sized fireworks stars

Once you are happy with the sorting of your stars, you can prime them using the round bottom mixing bowl, 25% alcohol spray bottle, strainer, and measuring cup.

Pour some of the single-layer prime into the measuring cup and add the stars you want to prime into the mixing bowl.

Fireworks star prime in a measuring cup
Container for priming fireworks stars
Fireworks stars ready to prime

Working swiftly, spray the 25% alcohol onto the stars, and swirl the stars aggressively in the mixing bowl to disperse the solvent over the stars and get them evenly wet. It may take a few sprays and swirls to get them evenly wet, but you don't want them to stick together. At this point, add in a dollop of prime composition and swirl it onto the wet stars. Try to get all the surfaces of the stars coated with prime.

Wetting fireworks stars before priming
Dampened fireworks stars ready for prime
Pouring prime onto fireworks stars

Once the stars get a coating of prime on them and loose prime powder starts to build up on the bottom of the mixing bowl, add a little more solvent, swirl, and then prime again to build up a good amount of prime coating on the stars. Be generous with the prime composition, as you'll want the stars to keep free of clumping together. When sufficiently coated, pour the stars into the strainer, over a piece of kraft paper, and shake them gently to let any loose prime composition fall through onto the kraft paper below.

Fireworks stars coated in prime
Sifting excess prime off fireworks stars
Excess prime sifted off fireworks stars

You can reuse the dry prime that passes through the strainer. Go ahead and move to the next assortment of stars and do the same on those to develop a coating of prime.

Second coat of prime on fireworks stars
Sifting excess prime off fireworks stars

When you've gone through all your assortments of stars, you'll end up with stars that appear somewhat shiny and sparkly grey. This is what you want it to look like.

Fireworks stars screened through a 10-mesh screen
Fireworks stars screened through a 4-mesh screen
Fireworks stars screened through a 3-mesh screen

As a final coating, switch over to the black powder (BP) prime, following the exact same method as the single-layer prime coating.

First, wet the stars evenly...

Black powder prime supplies
Wetting primed fireworks stars
Fireworks stars ready for black powder prime

Then build up the BP prime until you don't see the shiny grey coating anymore.

Black powder priming fireworks stars
Black powder priming fireworks stars
Black powder priming fireworks stars
Black powder priming fireworks stars

That's it! Stars are primed and ready for action soon! Let them dry overnight, or in the sun for a few hours.

Finished fireworks stars
Finished fireworks stars

They are ready to be loaded into your favorite shells, rocket headings, or mines.

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