How to Make Yellow Glitter Firework Stars

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

Gold brocade and silver glitter aerial shell

Click Picture to Enlarge
Photo Courtesy of Tom Handel

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

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

Yellow Glitter Firework Stars
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 size firework star, from 1/4″ t o 3.” Firework stars 5/8″ and smaller tend towards the “glitter cloud” effect and are great in shells by themselves or mixed with color firework stars in a volume ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 (color : glitter). Firework 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 you 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 for these stars although some people like to prime the stars when going for the cloud effect. It is also a good idea to lightly prime the exposed face of crossettes made with this glitter formula because there is a lot less exposed ignition area on a crossette compared to a regular firework comet of the same size. Priming is cheap insurance against one or two of the stars 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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