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Fireballs you can Hold in Your Hands!


by 1up on March 25, 2009 Table of Contents Fireballs you can Hold in Your Hands! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Fireballs you can Hold in Your Hands! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: Why Cotton? Won't it Burn Me? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Clippin' Cotton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Mr. Needle, Meet Mrs. Thread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 5: Stuck With A Needle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 6: Hardcore (W)Rap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 7: Time to get Knotty (Naughty?) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 8: Light 'er Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 9: Burn, Baby, Burn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 10: Too Hot? Try These Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 7

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Author:1up ModRetro
Sometimes my Instructables are few and far between, but I try to make them as well as I can. Hopefully you can be inspired or helped by the content in them!

Intro: Fireballs you can Hold in Your Hands!


Ooh, fire. One of the biggest fascinations of man since the beginning of time. Doesn't it seem so cool to be able to hold it in your hands? You've probably seen the video of this stunt before. If not, check it out here and be amazed. Many of you have reported being burned, scarred, hurt etc. I've made these, and tested them with different fluids. I will show you in detail how to make these, explain how they work, and share my notes on the best kind of flammable fluid to use. This trick is really fun to perform, and a great way to reuse an old t-shirt. It is still fire, though, so be careful! If you want to know the science behind it, check out step two.

Step 1: Supplies
Most of these things you should already have laying around your house. If not, a quick trip to a craft store will get you the things you need. 100% cotton t-shirt or fabric 100% cotton thread - make sure it's thick enough to hold the ball of cotton together, but not so thick that it won't fit through your needle Needle with eye big enough to fit the thread you are using Scissors Lighter Some kind of flammable liquid (details on this in step 8) Not much, huh? Make sure everything is all cotton. See the next step for reasons why. Skip to step 3 to get straight to work.

Image Notes 1. Needle 2. Scissors 3. Thread - any color (100% cotton) 4. Old T-shirt (100% cotton)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Step 2: Why Cotton? Won't it Burn Me?


Why use Cotton? You need to use all cotton because it doesn't melt. If you have polyester, your fireball will melt in your hand, which will hurt very badly. Cotton can burn, but it doesn't melt. How does this work? If you've seen the video, you can see that there is a blue flame at the bottom that turns orange as it goes up. The large surface area of your hand combined with constant movement makes it so it doesn't burn you. If you hold it in one spot, however, it WILL burn you. That is something the video does not explain. It is still fire, after all. The thing is, the flame where you are holding it is just cool enough to hold it comfortably. Shouldn't the Cotton Burn? It would if not soaked with fuel. Kind of ironic, really. When you light these, it is not burning the fuel directly but the gasses from it. The heat makes more fuel turn to gas, which gets burned. It's a cycle that repeats itself as long as there is fuel to vaporize.

Image Notes 1. ^ That.

Image Notes 1. One hundred percent, no less. Preshrunk is fine, so is unshrunk.

Step 3: Clippin' Cotton


Cut a piece of cotton about 3.5 x 4 inches. (9 x 11 cm). It doesn't have to be perfect. Roll it into a ball. No special technique here, just try to make as few "loose ends" as possible. I have found, however, that a super-tight ball does not soak up fluid as well, and does not stay lit as long. Don't make the ball too tight, but not so loose that it's falling apart.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Step 4: Mr. Needle, Meet Mrs. Thread


Take about 2ft of your thread and thread it through the needle. Tie a few knots in the end, so it won't pull through the cotton.

Image Notes 1. Aww, how cute. They like each other.

Step 5: Stuck With A Needle


Find the "end" of the cotton ball (the end of the fabric) and push the needle in to it. Push it all the way through. It can be very hard to if your cotton ball is dense, so needle nose pliers can be a big help. Pull the thread all the way through, until you get to the knot. Trim the extra thread before the knot.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Step 6: Hardcore (W)Rap


Take the thread and start winding it around your ball. Not too tight, but don't make it loose, either. Try to wrap up all the loose pieces hanging out. Keep the needle on the thread, and when you have a few inches left, stop. Then stick the needle through the ball again. Don't take it off the thread yet, though.

Step 7: Time to get Knotty (Naughty?)


Loop the needle and thread under an existing piece of thread, and tie a knot so it doesn't come undone. You then have the finished fireball! Usually, they're about 1-1.5 inches in diameter. I haven't tried any bigger or smaller.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Step 8: Light 'er Up


Whoops, not yet. There are different liquids that work better than others. I've only tried two kinds of rubbing alcohol, but I can guess on others fluids based on people's comments. Rubbing Alcohol - 70% This is a good fuel for starters, but any lower percent won't work much at all. 70% rubbing alcohol burns with a decent flame, and not too hot either. It's great to get up your courage, and moderately impressive. You get an ok burn time with this, about 1 1/2 minutes. Isopropyl Alcohol - 91% This is only 9% water, meaning it burns much hotter than 70%. The result is a much bigger flame, which is obviously much more impressive-looking. This is a great option, burning at a heat just low enough to hold in one spot for a couple seconds. Recommended for those who are a bit more daring. Burns for about 3 mins. Zippo Lighter Fluid DO NOT use this. It burns way too quickly and hot. This stuff is meant to produce a hot flame, and it does. You will be burned if you use this, with not much bigger flame than isopropyl alcohol. Lighter Fluid I would say only experts should use this. It's very hot, but has a huge flame that is just plain awesome. I've heard some kinds don't work, like grill lighter fluid. Get the charcoal kind. Axe Yes, the body spray. It's very impractical to use this. You'd have to spray a ton into a jar just to get enough to soak your fireball in. I'm not sure how well this would burn, however, if at all. I've never heard reports of this being used, so I really can't say. Try it and tell me about it. I did a comparison between 70% and 91%, and the results are quite dramatic. Check the pictures.

Image Notes 1. 70% rubbing alcohol. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Image Notes 1. 91% isopropyl alcohol. Hefty, hefty, hefty!

Step 9: Burn, Baby, Burn


Hopefully not your hand. Take your fireball, and soak it in whichever fluid you chose. If you can't decide, I recommend 70% for beginners and 91% for those more experienced. Once you think your fireball has enough liquid in it, squeeze it just a bit to make sure there isn't any fluid that will get on your hands and light them up. Dry your hands off, then light it. Neat, huh? Here are a couple shots of the 91% in my hand. It's really cool to look at. :P Please be careful and have fun! This is still fire, after all. It's quite easy to drop this and catch your sock on fire. (And I would know.) If you just can't take the heat, check the next step for tips on not getting hurt.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Image Notes 1. You can see here where a little extra alcohol got on my hands and is on fire. This will stay even if the fireball is not there, which is why you want to make sure there's no extra.

Step 10: Too Hot? Try These Tips


If it's a bit too hot for you, try some of these ideas. - Get your hands wet. The extra water takes away some of the heat energy, so it's not as hot. - Add just a little water to the rubbing alcohol. - Most of the pain is mental. Convince yourself that it's not actually as hot as it looks. - Keep it moving! If it stays in one spot, it will burn you. - Use lower percent rubbing alcohol (not under 70%, though) - If you really need to, you can use leather gloves, but that kind of takes away the coolness factor. It'll also help if your hands are naturally callused. That is, the skin is harder and "tougher" that the average person's. It'll probably hurt more if you're a lady, because your hands are probably softer. Be safe and have fun! Please tell me your experiences with other flammable fluids so I may add the to the list. I'll try to take some night shots sometime soon.

Related Instructables

How to Make Fire Balls! Really Cool! to Make a Grease Bomb by (video) by iLikeCoolStuf noahw How

Non-Toxic Fire Breathing with Food for Fuel 10 Foot High Fireballs by shoemaker

Incline-activated Fireball Shooter bakeing soda by glassgiant and vinigar bomb by RastaMonkey

Bic Lighter Fireball by Legend

Comments
50 comments Add Comment view all 145 comments
Jan 26, 2011. 6:22 AM REPLY

Veteran65 says:
Can I rub my hands with Vaseline ? Will that help?

I3uckwheat says:
dont do that you will end up in the hospital it burns and is very hard to put out

Mar 6, 2011. 4:05 PM REPLY

1up says:
Isn't Vaseline flammable? Or am I mistaken? :P If it's not, go ahead and try it.

Jan 26, 2011. 9:08 AM REPLY

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

Shadoww says:
Could you hypothetically make a big one, like the size of a baseball? that would be impressive.

Jul 27, 2009. 12:36 PM REPLY

HANKS965 says:

Feb 10, 2011. 7:32 PM REPLY i did it with those water balls and it soaked it in and didnt go out for a while, we even played soccer, but trying not to light are shoes on fire!!!

1up says:
Sure, but it might be a bit difficult to put out. ;)

Jul 28, 2009. 10:56 AM REPLY

hintss says:
what if you dumped it into a gallon container of water (with the top cut off)?

Dec 21, 2010. 12:27 AM REPLY

hound55 says:
be careful i burned my eyelashes. otherwise very fun if you use 100% or more.

Aug 4, 2009. 8:42 PM REPLY

hintss says:
yay, %120 rubbing alcohol. tell me, did you get the doctor (doctor who) to help you?

Dec 21, 2010. 12:25 AM REPLY

hound55 says:
no i was playing haky sack with my fire ball. it smelled bad but that is all.

Dec 21, 2010. 3:49 PM REPLY

hintss says:
still, more than 100%?? and they make kevlar ones for playing flaming-hackey-sack with...

Dec 22, 2010. 11:54 PM REPLY

CeGarra says:

Jul 28, 2009. 4:25 PM REPLY I hate getting burned so when i make min i am wearing oven mitts, has antone just done that b4? also is there a way that i can add another chemical to change the color? or will it not work?

hintss says:
I got an idea for a flat pad of cotton, that you soak in water and set the ball on top of

Dec 21, 2010. 12:27 AM REPLY

starburst552 says:
you could maybe put copper inside the ball somehow, im unsure tho

Aug 6, 2009. 5:01 PM REPLY

1up says:
Oven mitts would be ok, but probably a little difficult to maneuver in. As for color, try this Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Colored_Flames/

Jul 29, 2009. 1:21 PM REPLY

CeGarra says:

Jul 28, 2009. 4:38 PM REPLY Hey, here is something else for fire, i heard that if u spray windex on batteries they blow up i am not sure if it works, and if so how big or how long it takes to explode

1up says:
I think that might just be a myth. ;)

Jul 29, 2009. 1:15 PM REPLY

hintss says:
windex is ammonia based, right?

Dec 21, 2010. 12:26 AM REPLY

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

King Julien says:


What about gas from a car? I will try it. jk

Nov 16, 2010. 5:58 PM REPLY

hintss says:
how's you're little JJ doing :P penguins of madagascar is awesome

Dec 21, 2010. 12:21 AM REPLY

W trouble says:
so you light it and throw it at your sisters hair or something?

Dec 16, 2010. 9:42 PM REPLY

nitsuj1098 says:
In this particular situation, wouldn't the thread be the Mr. and the needle be the Mrs.? Just saying... ;-)

Dec 2, 2010. 7:51 AM REPLY

imgeek1337 says:
can you use ronsonol?

Feb 26, 2010. 8:18 AM REPLY

Jimmy Proton says:


you could probably use anything with a cool flame (all flames are hot but some more than others)

Dec 1, 2010. 6:32 PM REPLY

claclarina says:
can I use alcohol in making that fireball? PLEASE ANSWER FAST :(

Oct 23, 2010. 5:03 AM REPLY

1up says:
You mean like beer? :P Maybe, there might be too much water.

Oct 24, 2010. 4:05 PM REPLY

Electroinnovation says:
what about something stronger like vodka? lmao

Oct 29, 2010. 3:28 PM REPLY

1up says:
Actually, it's a higher alcohol-to-water concentration than beer. It would work better.

Oct 29, 2010. 9:58 PM REPLY

nerd12 says:

Aug 13, 2010. 8:09 AM REPLY you know you don't need to dip it in or there will be too much liquid. just spray or drop it on also zippo is not so hot unless you put too much on you can also use perfume

NatureBoom21 says:
what if you soak the ball and let it dry first before lighting it?

Jul 29, 2010. 10:23 PM REPLY

1up says:
Then all the rubbing alcohol will have evaporated and it won't work right. ;)

Aug 1, 2010. 12:21 PM REPLY

che567 says:

Nov 21, 2009. 2:29 PM REPLY crash ethanol and alchahol are the same ethanol is the chemical name for it, dont believe me check youtube, by the way use lighting fuel for barbeques it burns but it is so cool

mettaurlover says:

May 8, 2010. 10:59 PM REPLY No, they are not. Ethanol is a specific type of alcohol. Methanol is the same thing minus one carbon link involved, while propanol is the same as ethanol with one more carbon link. Alcohol is just a classification of substances with a specific group of atoms on one end that happens to be highly combustible. You learn a lot of things when you pay attention in chemistry class. Throwing ethanol on the chalkboard and igniting it helps, I guess.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

kappaema says:
Can i use colored a colored cotton shirt.Its brown.

Apr 30, 2010. 1:26 PM REPLY

twonkie12 says:

Apr 2, 2010. 1:15 PM REPLY i have string but im not to sure if it is 100% cotton. any way to tell if its cotton or not. also mybrother sprayed axe on my hand and lit it. it will burn and it gets a pretty good flame.right in between 70% alchohal and91% ALCHOHAL i recomed it for people who are to scared of 91 alchohal but bored with 70% alchohal

1up says:
You can't tell, really. You could dip it in some rubbing alcohol, light it, and see if it melts. If not, it should be fine to use.

Apr 3, 2010. 12:28 PM REPLY

strcrusher says:
hey you play assault cube? just askin

Apr 27, 2010. 5:27 PM REPLY

knexfan100 says:

Apr 11, 2010. 5:46 PM REPLY wow!!!!!! I remember doing this in my 7th grade science class! (we had to get a permission slip signed though so that when someone gets hurt, no one will be sued and it will keep the principal happy and not pissed) it was fun until someone dropped it on my foot!!!!!

milamber says:
lol ya all wimps iv been using lighter fluid fom the start ... lol anti zippo sooks

Mar 31, 2010. 9:10 PM REPLY

FFVIIBOY says:
"Hey mom look my hands on fire" that would be so fun

Mar 20, 2010. 2:55 PM REPLY

imgeek1337 says:
I used 91% alcohol and the cotton string burns through. The embers stay on my hand and burn me.

Feb 26, 2010. 9:47 AM REPLY

1up says:
Then you're either letting the string burn even after the fuel is all used up, or it is not completely 100% cotton string.

Feb 26, 2010. 6:22 PM REPLY

achuristic says:
please is it okay if we use tommy cholone/perfume?

Feb 20, 2010. 1:35 PM REPLY

Huntman00 says:

Jan 7, 2010. 4:20 PM REPLY could i use a cottonball instead??? and to make the color flames comming from it... do u just put the chemacal into the ball or what??? plz get back to me soon plzzz

big-jamie says:

Feb 12, 2010. 2:51 PM REPLY cotton balls are good themselves just to burn, they are very light and dont hurt when lit, and simply disappear after it has burned away :)

1up says:

Jan 8, 2010. 6:56 PM REPLY There's an Instructable somewhere about making colored pinecones to burn. Try looking that up. You would just mix the metals into the rubbing alcohol before soaking the ball. As for a cotton ball, sure, but make sure it's all cotton. You might want to put a bunch together to make it a bit heavier.

godofal says:
wow, im so going to try this when i get that rubbing alcohol :D nice instructable, very clear, nice pictures and even kinda safe :P

Dec 18, 2009. 6:16 AM REPLY

Sasuke8 says:
Can I use kerosene ? please help.... Its my science project........I've to submit it in 2 days.............

Dec 6, 2009. 5:02 AM REPLY

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/

1up says:
Yes, probably. Make sure you don't use too much, or get it on your skin.

Dec 7, 2009. 10:04 AM REPLY

tommylovesjamie says:

Apr 13, 2009. 9:23 PM REPLY Where I am from, we do this with strips of burlap sack cloth soaked in kerosene. It does burn a little warm, but it makes for one heck of a redneck party trick the first time you do it at a family get together. Ours tend to get about the size of a softball...some bigger if you are daring.

view all 145 comments

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fireballs-you-can-Hold-in-Your-Hands/