I’ve found a blog that can easily suck up a pyrotechnic geek’s (or anyone’s) day. Sure, it’s attached to a commercial company, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Confessions of a Fireworks Man has stories from the business, fireworks history, and loads of instructions for projects that you should not try at home. The latest post contains everything you ever wanted to know about Roman candles, including how to make your own. With videos.
I once made the mistake of thinking I could hold a one-inch display candle in my hand as it fired. The first shot propelled a star skyward, and the rest of the candle backward out of my hand to who-knew-where. I had to quickly find it and stabilize it with my foot as it finished firing. I still haven’t lived that down in my local fireworks guild. I don’t recommend you try any similar stunts.
With these larger Roman candles, it’s best to tape them to a stake and firmly secure them to the ground before ignition.
I made the mistake of playing one of the videos for my boyfriend. He was just a little too interested for my taste, considering he has been thinking up recreational projects to involve our total of seven kids in this summer. I’ll have to bookmark the site for my own use with an innocuous but false title, so neither he nor the children will recognize it.