How to Make Yellow Glitter Stars

Gold brocade and silver glitter aerial shell
Glitter is That Silver Twinkly Part at the Bottom of These Brocade Shells
Photo Courtesy of Tom Handel

This is a gold brocade shell. Glitter is hard to depict in slow-shutter-speed fireworks photographs, but you can get an idea of how silver glitter might look like in the sky if you enlarge the photo above.

Here's a good recipe for making yellow glitter from Bob Winokur. Bob wrote the greatest treatise on making glitter stars and comets, Pyrotechnica 2. It's probably the most complete study of glitter stars ever done. This article ran in the August 1992 issue of the First Fire, the Florida Pyrotechnic Arts Guild's excellent newsletter. Thanks to FPAG for letting us use this, and Chris Miller, wherever you are, for writing it.

Yellow Glitter

by Chris Miller-WPA

I originally got this formula from Dr. Winokur a few years ago as a universal (good for all occasions), "state of the art" yellow glitter. It has a long delay and can be used in any sized star, from 1/4" t o 3." Stars 5/8" and smaller tend towards the "glitter cloud" effect and are great in shells by themselves or mixed with color stars in a volume ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 (color g1itter). Stars 3/4" and larger leave long, beautiful tails and are particularly suitable as either regular comets or crossettes.

Assuming the ingredients are lump-free, sieve the mix three times through a 20-mesh screen (window screen works fine) and bind with 8% water. This isn't a lot of water so one should knead it for several minutes to insure that the water is well incorporated. Because of the antimony sulfide, I wear a respirator when mixing the dry ingredients and latex gloves when adding the water (I'm told antimony poisoning is akin to lead or barium poisoning-very unpleasant and I don't want to find this out first hand!)

Priming is not required although some people like to prime them when going for the cloud effect. It is also a good idea to lightly prime the exposed face of crossettes made with this formula because there is a lot less exposed ignition area on a crossette compared to a regular comet of the same size. Priming is cheap insurance against one or two of them being blown blind and diminishing the symmetry of the break (not to mention wasting all that labor that goes into making each crossette that didn't work).


Chemical Parts by Weight
Potassium Nitrate 48
Airfloat Charcoal 9
Sulfur 11
Aluminum (12-20 micron, atomized) 9
Antimony Trisulfide, Chinese Needle 10
Sodium Bicarbonate or Sodium Oxalate 9
Dextrin 4

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