Main Next » Print


Black match is perhaps the single most widely used type of fuse, and, due to its simplicity (relative to other fuses), it can be easily made by even the most novice pyrotechnician. However, its simplicity may deceive some. It requires a lot of patience and practice before one is able to make good and consistent black match every time.


  1. Intimately mix (perhaps in a ball mill for 30 minutes) 20 parts of meal-grade black powder with 1 or 2 parts dextrin (depending on your burn rate preference; more dextrin makes it burn slower), and put this mixture in a bowl or similar container. Boil some water, and slowly add it, while mixing, to the black powder/dextrin mixture until a paste with a uniform consistency (about as thick as porridge) has been obtained. 

  2. Obtain some cotton string (ideally about 1/16" diameter). Drop a length of the string into the paste-filled bowl, and stir it around with a plastic rod for about 3 minutes. Then, put on some latex gloves (which can usually be obtained from your local pharmacy), remove the string from the bowl, and rub in the paste that remains on the string with a circular motion between the thumb, middle and index fingers. Place the string back into the paste and stir it around for another minute. 
  3. Use a thin piece of sheet metal, lexan, plexiglass, or other nonabsorbent material (definitely NOT wood!) and drill a 1/8" hole through it. This will be used to control the overall diameter of the fuse. Put one end of the paste-coated string through the hole and pull until the entire string has passed through the hole. This will take off any excess paste and ensure that the black match is 1/8" diameter.

  4. Clip one end of the fuse to a rack or similar item and allow it to dry completely.

The black match is finished!


Quick match is basically slightly modified black match which has been enclosed in a 1/4" paper tube. 
When the quick match is lit, the tube surrounding the black match core will cause the sparks generated b the burning of the black match to flash through the tube instantaneously, igniting the rest of the black match core with incredible speed.