Chemistry Experiments You Can Do at Home


How can I make black snake fireworks from items around my house?

(Note: this experiment involves fire and flammable materials, so adult supervision is required. Also, check your local laws before attempting this experiment.)

  • Chemical reactions
  • Combustion reactions
  • Sand (about 2 cups)
  • Lighter fluid (a small bottle of about 100 milliliters)
  • Baking soda (1 tablespoon)
  • Sugar (4 tablespoons)
  • Cup or bowl
  • An outdoor location where you can light the black snake firework safely without damaging anything
  1. In a cup or bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. Use the sand to form a pile (in your chosen safe outdoor location), and then create a depression in the middle of the sand. This depression is where you will ignite the black snake firework.
  3. Pour a small amount of lighter fluid onto the sand to wet it. Try this experiment first with a very small amount of lighter fluid, and, if necessary, repeat the experiment with incrementally larger amounts. It’s better to start too small than too big.
  4. Pour your mixture of sugar and baking soda into the wetted depression in the sand. You don’t have to use it all at once—feel free to experiment with different quantities of the baking soda and sugar mixture.
  5. Carefully ignite the lighter fluid with a match and stand back. You should see the mixture create long snakes of black ash! The burning sugar and baking soda form sodium carbonate, water vapor, and carbon dioxide gas. The ash in the snake is composed of carbonate and burnt carbon.


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