How Fireworks Turn into a Beautiful, Colourful Explosion

If there’s one thing that stops everyone from doing what they are doing on a special day to pause and stare up the sky, it is all thanks to the beautiful spectacles of fireworks. Some of the most-awaited celebrations in people’s lives are honoured with colourful and festive fireworks, and the same goes for important national holidays and events. Fireworks have always been part of everyone’s special moments for such a long time. The beauty these displays embed in people’s memories makes them all the more extraordinary.

If you are one of those who stare and get curious about how a fireworks display works and how it came about, below are all the essential details you need to know.

The First Firework: How It All Started

Did you know that fireworks existed as early as the second century BC? It was not as amazing as to how it looks now, but the ancient Chinese discovered that when you throw a bamboo in a fire, it will explode and make a loud bang. The air pockets within the wood created the loud noise they heard. Since then, they have been using this loud noise as a way to scare away any spirits nearby. 

Fast forward to 600 to 900 AD, the Chinese people learned to add chemicals to improve the mix. They add a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, potassium nitrate, and early gunpowder into paper tubes or bamboo sticks, and that is how they created the first firework.

What Makes up a Firework: How It Turns into a Beautiful Explosion

Four main ingredients make up a firework:

  • The oxygen producer
  • The fuel
  • The binder
  • The chemical

One of the main ingredients used in the fireworks today is the gunpowder or black powder. Remember how the ancient Chinese used gunpowder as one of the earliest chemicals of the first fireworks? That is still present in the current fireworks mixture. The only difference is how the elements were enhanced to produce more spectacular display compared to before. 

In these four ingredients, the fuel is in charge of creating the ignition while the chemical is the sole responsible for producing the colours. 

How to Achieve Colours

The chemists are responsible for creating the colourful fireworks you see in celebrations. In creating a vibrant display, they need to identify the right metal that will produce a specific colour when burned by metal salts. 

Metal salts are the product of one hydrogen atom mixed with an acid. It is dry and easy to transport substance that is achieved by mixing metal, acid, and potash. They are the elements that burn the colour of the metal incorporated in the fireworks. 

Here is a little cheat sheet for those curious about which metals burn what colour: 

  • Orange comes from calcium chloride
  • Red comes from strontium carbonate
  • Yellow comes from sodium nitrate
  • Green comes from barium chloride
  • Blue comes from copper chloride
  • White comes from magnesium
  • Gold comes from iron or charcoal
  • Silver can come from burning magnesium, titanium, and aluminium

A little mixing of the primary and secondary colours will produce your desired hue. 

How It Works: The Finished Product

When a person ignites a firework, its fuse will continue to burn as the firework heads up the sky. When the burning fuse reaches the interior shell, where all the four ingredients are found, it will ignite the firework and would cause a big and colourful explosion.


A firework is not only impressive as they explode in the sky. Its story and how it is created is also colourful. However, keep in mind that mixing and creating fireworks should only be done by professionals and never in anyone’s home. 

If you are looking for the best fireworks in the UK, we have fireworks for sale online. At Let’s Party Fireworks, we have more than ten years of experience in producing high-quality fireworks for all occasions. Check out our products to see what brands and types of fireworks you can purchase.