How do they make fireworks explode in specific shapes?


I was at an event with a giant, choreographed firework show. Like they literally brought in Japanese masters of pyrotechnics for it. It was beautiful and all kinds of shapes like flowers and hearts and stuff.

And afaik they do different colours by burning different elements but how do they do specific shapes and like timings? Like one piece of firework having several different layers and colours and stuff. How does it not all explode at the same time in all kinds of directions?

In: 1125


For shapes, the black powder charge can be shaped so that the ‘stars’ (glowing colored bits) are propelled outwards in specific shapes and distances based on their position around it… and for multiple concentric layers of colors, it’s one color of stars surrounding the others. Color changes and other effects can be created by how the stars have those different chemicals layered in them.

The layers various shapes are structured by they way they are packed. The different layers are separated from each other and different fuses lead to each layer. Fuse length and material set the timing.


A firework with more “fuel” is going to travel farther than one with less “fuel”. A shape can be made when fireworks with different amounts of “fuel” are packed together in certain configurations. For instance, if you pack fireworks with all the same amount of “fuel”, you get a circle. If you pack the same amount of fireworks in the same configuration, but give some fireworks a little more fuel, you can get a square by making the corners travel further. The corners would have a little more “fuel” than the middle ones.

You also may not notice how many fireworks they might use to get one shape or scene. Essentially, we’ve fired so many fireworks that we know a lot about how it will act if we give it a little more “fuel” or add a certain chemical to make it burn a different color.

E: No duh this isn’t how it actually works. A 5 year old just needs to know the basic concept of *how* fireworks can get shapes and colors…