Here is a collection of different formulas for making (mostly) stars using magnesium powder. The information is a little stingy. It was all gleaned from The Wizard’s Pyrotechnic Formulary. This is a collection of more than 2600 different fireworks formulas compiled by Donald Haarmann. Even though there is zero information on how to make the recipes in the book, I don’t know of anything else like it in existence.
As you can see below, often there is very little info provided in the formulas. But where “Magnesium” is called for, you can most likely use just about any of the 80 mesh or finer magnesiums you can readily find these days. Remember that the finer the mag powder, the faster the star will burn. So you should be prepared to experiment a little.
Whenever Dextrin is called for, you can assume the solvent to use is water or water and alcohol. In that case you should coat your magnesium using potassium dichromate dissolved in water. The method is simple. Just make a supersaturated (as much as can be dissolved) solution of potassium dichromate dissolved in hot water. Add the dichromate until no more will dissolve. The add your magnesium powder to the solution and stir. Hydrogen gas will bubble and fizz out of the solution, so do this away from flames. Keep stirring until the bubbles stop. Then pour the solution and wet magnesium sludge through a coffee filter. You can wash any remaining sludge out of your mixing bowl with water. Save the orange solution to be used again (you can add more potassium dichromate again). Dry the mag sludge, and then run it through as fine a screen as you have and crush any little clumps by hand.
In formulas where you see Parlon, it is being used as both a chlorine donor (flame color brightener) and a binder. Use acetone or xylene as the solvent for these Parlon comp’s.
If you see PVC, it is also a chlorine donor and binder; use methylene chloride as the solvent to activate the PVC as a binder. If you see PVC and Parlon, treat the Parlon as the binder. Red gum is being used as a binder as well in some comps; use alcohol as the solvent.
Since so much info is lacking, I strongly advise you to experiment with very small batches at first, until you know you’ve got your star dialed in. Then scale up.
Green Electric Star
Green Flare and Smoke
Green Star Brilliant
Red Mag Star
(wet with acetone)
Red Micro Jet
By all means, write your questions and comments about these formulas in the comments below. We’ll try to answer them for you. Better to ask first before you waste time and money getting a big batch of mag stars wrong.