Make Pyro Smoke

Smoke bombs offer a safer alternative to real bombs.

Pyro smoke bombs allow you to enjoy the effects of a smoke screen without the danger of large fires. These little bombs give off tons of smoke, obscuring you from view during games of capture the flag and advanced hide-‘n-seek. Though you can purchase smoke bombs in many parts of North America and Europe, you can save your money for essentials by making pyro smoke at home. You can also use these “bombs” as part of a science demonstration for older children and college students.


1. Saw a wrapping paper tube — the thick, sturdy kind — into as many 5- or 6-inch pieces as you can. For instance, if you have a 30 inch tube, saw it into five 6-inch pieces or six 5-inch pieces. Each piece will become a pyro smoke bomb.

2. Cut a circle of cardboard for each tube piece, snipping them 1 inch in diameter larger than the openings of the tubes. For instance, if the tubes measure 1 inch in diameter, each circle must measure 2 inches in diameter.

3. Snip 1/2-inch wide, 3/4-inch long fringes into the edge of each circle. Place one circle over one end of each tube, smear the fringes with glue, and press them against the body of the tube. Allow the tubes to dry overnight.

4. Measure out exactly 6 oz. of potassium nitrate, 4 oz. of white table sugar and 3 oz. of paraffin flakes for your first smoke bomb. It’s extremely important to measure the weights perfectly.

5. Add the sugar and potassium nitrate to one disposable cup and the paraffin flakes to another. Melt the paraffin flakes in the microwave and add the sugar-potassium nitrate blend a little at a time to the melted wax. Stir constantly with a plastic spoon to keep the wax from cooling too quickly.

6. Quickly spoon the mix into a cardboard tube. When the tube is halfway full, slip a fuse into it. Pack the rest of the mix around the fuse.

7. Wrap the top of the tube with an aluminum foil square, poking a hole into the center of the foil for the fuse. Fold the edges of the square down around the top of the cardboard tube.