Making Colored Smoke Devices, The Right Way

Pyrotechnics are fun, and, with the proper precautions taken, safe enough to play with at home (usually). While it’s typical to purchase fireworks and smoke devices off the shelf, it’s actually possible to brew these up in a properly stocked home lab. [Tech Ingredients] is here to share the techniques behind producing your own super vibrant colored smoke devices at home.

Producing colored smoke requires a slightly different tack than making a simpler white smoke device. Colored smokes use dyes that are temperature sensitive, and thus the reaction temperature must be controlled carefully. This is achieved by choosing a potassium chlorate oxidiser, and combining it with magnesium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, which help stop the reaction getting too hot. Sugar is used as the primary fuel, with both lactose and sucrose being fit for purpose. Color is then added with solvent-based dyes, readily sourced online. These are stable at higher temperatures than typical water-based food grade dyes, and thus are the best choice for creating thick, vibrant colored smoke.

[Tech Ingredients] does a great job of explaining both the theory behind the work, as well as the practical considerations necessary to be successful. The video is the result of much experimentation and work off-camera, which shows in the final presentation. If you’ve been working on your own pyrotechnic creations, be sure to hit up the tips line. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Setvir for the tip!]

15 thoughts on “Making Colored Smoke Devices, The Right Way

  1. ughhh… ughhh ughhhh… don’t try this in home (only in the garden)
    Cool to see these kind of project too on hackaday. Interesting to learn that “Colored smokes use dyes that are temperature sensitive”.

  2. is it safe to inhale? once i thought to put one of these to my rc car and have some fun, but because it cannot be stopped once you lit it and also the police can catch you easily i forget the idea :)

    1. Safe? Depends…
      It’s not acutely toxic, but then again there are all these weird allergies which you might not know about and also inhaling any kind of particulate is never good for you in the long term.

      TL;DR – don’t inhale the pretty smoke :P

  3. I swear that as soon as youtube put up the 2x speed option people started making their videos twice as long. Do we need a 4X option now or how about using AI to cut out all the balel. 39 minutes is long for a fireworks show, no less to give an overview of smoke devices.

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