How to Shoot a Roman Candle

The Fourth of July and the winter holidays are approaching, so it’s time for fireworks. Roman candles can be a fun addition to any celebration. If you have never shot one before or don’t know how to shoot a roman candle properly, this article will show you everything you need to know about them! But remember, safety should always be your first priority when handling fireworks.

How to Shoot a Roman Candle

What is Roman Candle?

A Roman candle is a type of firework that has smaller tubes attached to it. When the big tube explodes, small flames at the bottom of each tube light and shoot out in different directions. The length of time between when the main tube explodes and each tube lights depends on how far away from the main one is.

Roman candles are different from fireworks. Fireworks, such as sparklers and fountains, only shoot out flames. These have to be attached to something else to fly into the air.

Why is It Called a Roman Candle?

Well, it’s because they were first created in Italy. They’re named after the city of Rome, but historians believe that the original firework was invented by the Chinese. The Italians just made them more popular.

You might also see Roman candles referred to as ‘candle bombs.’ This term was popular in the 1800s and refers to how they could be used as a weapon! The tubes were filled with gunpowder that could be used to create a small explosion.

But don’t worry, nowadays Roman candles are only used for entertainment purposes and are perfectly safe when handled properly.

Needed Materials:

Now that you know what a Roman candle is, let’s get into the materials needed to shoot them.

A Roman Candle:

This can be purchased at most fireworks stands or stores. Make sure to get the correct type of Roman candle for your celebration. There are different sizes, colors, and effects available.

A Lighter or Matches:

To ignite the fuse of the Roman candle. Make sure to practice proper fire safety when handling these materials.

Safe Distance from Roman Candle

An Open Space:

Roman candles need a clear space to be shot off safely. Make sure there are no obstructions or hazards in the area.

Optional: A Stand or Holder:

To hold the Roman candle upright while shooting. This can be helpful for beginners, but it is not necessary.

Process: How to Shoot a Roman Candle

Step One: Select a Roman Candle

Roman candles are long sticks made up of several different tubes (smaller ones) attached. The size of the main tube will determine how high the Roman candle shoots up into the air. They normally range from two feet to three feet in length, but you can find longer or shorter fireworks at specialty stores.

But remember, always purchase your Roman candles from a licensed firework retailer. It’s essential to keep safety in mind when handling fireworks. It’s also illegal and dangerous to make your own fireworks.

Step Two: Prepare the Roman Candle

The first thing you must do is snap off the tips of all your smaller tubes and remove any paper from the wick. The tube will now be open on one end, allowing the fuse to fit inside it. You can also use a small knife or pair of scissors to shave off some excess wick, but be careful not to cut the fuse itself.

It’s also a good idea to use a pointed object, like a toothpick or skewer, to make sure the holes in the tubes are clear of any debris. This will ensure that your Roman candle shoots out smoothly. It’s essential to keep the tubes clean and clear so that they can light evenly.

Step Three: Light the Fuse

Lift the red plastic cap on the bottom of your Roman candle and slide your unlit fuse into it until you cannot see it anymore. This may take a little bit of force; pry up with a butter knife or something similar.

When you’re ready to shoot, make sure that the end of the Roman candle with the fuse is pointing away from your face and body. Light the fuse and get ready for a show!

Step Four: Prepare Your Shots

For every 25-gram fireworks, you will need approximately 1 cup of water. If your fireworks are smaller, adjust accordingly. It is essential to use distilled water rather than tap water and make sure it is not frozen beforehand! 

Fill a bucket (or other containers) with the water and place your fireworks in it. A little bit of hot sauce will help with your firework if you plan on shooting off a lot, but it is optional. It will not ruin your firework if you do not use it. The hot sauce helps with the initial explosion.

Step Five: Light Fireworks

Once all of this is complete, step back to a safe distance (at least 50 feet) and light the fuse! The best time to light the fuse is as close to ground level as possible. The larger the Roman candle, the higher it will shoot up in the air.

You can use a lighter, punk stick, or even a candle to help light the fuse. Be sure to stand away from the firework after lighting it. Although Roman candles are relatively safe to use, accidents can still happen. Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby in case something goes wrong.

Never Light Candle Near Dry Grass

Step Six: Safety First

It is essential to remember that fireworks can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Always make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging and wear protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves, when handling fireworks.

Also, never point a Roman candle at another person or an animal. Always light them in an open and outdoor area, away from any flammable materials. Never try to relight a dud firework, and always wait at least 20 minutes before attempting to dispose of it.

Step Seven: Keep a Safe Distance

As mentioned before, it is crucial to stand at least 50 feet away from the firework when lighting it. This distance can vary depending on the size of the firework, so always follow the recommended safety guidelines.

You should also make sure that there are no obstacles or overhead obstructions in the way of the firework’s trajectory. This will help prevent any accidents and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Step Eight: Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

A fire extinguisher should always be within reach when handling fireworks. In case of any accidents or malfunctions, you can quickly put out a fire before it gets out of control.

If you don’t have a fire extinguisher available, a bucket of water or a garden hose can also be used to extinguish any fires that may occur. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to handling fireworks.

Step Nine: Never Re-light a Dud Firework

If a firework does not go off after lighting the fuse, do not try to re-light it. It could still be active and can cause harm if lit again. Instead, wait at least 20 minutes before approaching it, and then place it in a bucket of water to soak.

Never try to relight a firework that has already been lit and failed to go off. Dispose of it properly by soaking it in water, and never try to dismantle or modify it in any way. But remember, always follow the instructions on the packaging for proper disposal.

Step Ten: Dispose of Fireworks Correctly

Once you have finished shooting off your fireworks, it is essential to dispose of them correctly. Soak any used fireworks in a bucket of water for at least 20 minutes before throwing them away in a trash can.

Do not throw away used fireworks in a regular trash can, as they can still be active and cause a fire. Instead, dispose of them properly by soaking them first and then throwing them away in a designated area for fireworks disposal.

Step Eleven: Consider Professional Displays

If you are inexperienced with handling fireworks or do not feel comfortable doing so, consider attending a professional fireworks display instead. This way, you can still enjoy the show without any of the risks involved in handling fireworks yourself.

If you do decide to handle fireworks, always follow these safety precautions to ensure a fun and safe experience. And remember, never let children handle fireworks without adult supervision.

Hazardous if Not Used Properly

Following these steps and safety guidelines on how to shoot a roman candle will ensure a fun and safe experience with roman candles. Remember to always handle fireworks with caution and respect, and have a happy Fourth of July or holiday celebration!

Things To Consider When Shooting a Roman Candle

  1. The Roman Candle needs to have enough powder on the wick for it to shoot high into the air. If not enough powder is added, the result will be a dud.
  2. Never light one Roman candle from another, as this can cause great damage to the person lighting it.
  3. Always wear safety glasses when shooting a Roman Candle if sparks fall back down to the area you are standing or sitting in.
  4. Be careful not to light more than one candle at a time, as this can cause great damage to your hands and body if the candles ignite immediately after being lit.
  5. Never light a Roman Candle near dry grass, walls, trees, or any other flammable material as this can cause great damage to your surroundings and/or person.
  6. If you cannot find a Roman Candle launcher, try using a sparkler instead. The sparkler will light the candle in the same way an igniter would.
  7. Make sure you have a bucket of water or hose nearby if the fireworks fail to launch all the way into the air and land on your property. This will help prevent any fires from starting.
  8. Do not try to re-light a Roman Candle if it does not ignite, as doing so can overheat the waterproof seal, causing the firework to explode in your hand.
  9. Always follow the instructions on the packaging for proper disposal of used fireworks.
  10. If you are unsure about any aspect of handling fireworks, it is always best to leave it to a professional display or someone with experience in using them. Safety should always be the top priority when it comes to fireworks.
  11. Be mindful of your surroundings and considerate of your neighbors when shooting fireworks, as loud noises and bright lights can be frightening for pets and people with sensitivity to loud sounds.
  12. Check the weather conditions before setting off any fireworks. High winds or dry conditions may make it unsafe to use them, and you should always prioritize safety over entertainment.
  13. Do not consume alcohol while handling fireworks, as this can impair your judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents.
  14. Always follow local laws and regulations regarding fireworks, as some states or areas may have restrictions on when and where they can be used.

By following these additional tips and considerations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience with shooting roman candles. Remember to always prioritize safety over entertainment and have a happy and fun celebration!

How Long Does a Roman Candle Last?

Roman Candles are those delightful little firecrackers filled with gunpowder. They have an outer shell of paper or other material to hold the gunpowder and a fuse (act as a wick). So, it is what determines how long it will last. As the fuse burns, it creates a flame that travels down the inside of the candle and ignites the gunpowder. Some fuses are different lengths for different sizes of candles, and they burn at different speeds.

The fuse will normally reach about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down before it ignites all the powder. The amount of powder inside the candle determines how long it will burn. The more power there is, the longer it will burn. Some fuses are made with small grains of gunpowder wrapped in paper, and others use a bituminized material as a slow-burning fuse.

The average Roman Candle will last between 20 and 40 seconds, depending on its size and the amount of powder used. Many people prefer to purchase larger candles to enjoy longer displays, but it is always crucial to follow safety guidelines when handling any size of a Roman Candle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I Add My Own Powder to the Wick of a Roman Candle?

A: No, it is not recommended to add your own powder as it can cause malfunctions and possible injury. But you can purchase larger Roman Candles that have more powder in them for a longer-lasting effect. The best option would be to buy a larger size rather than trying to modify the fireworks yourself. It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings when handling fireworks.

Q: Can I Shoot off Roman Candles in My Backyard?

A: It depends on your local laws and regulations. Some states have strict laws regarding the use of fireworks, while others allow them with certain restrictions. It is crucial to check with your local government or fire department before shooting off any fireworks in your backyard. You should also keep in mind the safety of yourself and others when determining a suitable location for shooting off fireworks.

Q: What Should I Do if a Firework Malfunctions?

A: If a firework malfunctions, do not try to relight it or handle it. Wait at least 20 minutes before approaching it and then soak it in water before disposing of it properly. It is essential to always have a bucket of water or hose nearby when shooting off fireworks to prevent any potential fires from starting. If a firework causes an injury or starts a fire, seek medical attention and contact emergency services immediately.

Q: Can I Light Multiple Roman Candles at Once?

A: It is not recommended to light multiple Roman Candles at once as it can cause a safety hazard. If one firework malfunctions, it could ignite the others and potentially cause harm. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when using fireworks. But if you do choose to light multiple Roman Candles at once, make sure they are a safe distance apart and that you have a clear area for the fireworks to shoot off without any obstructions.  As always, safety should be your top priority when handling fireworks.


Roman candles are fun to shoot off on holidays and events. We hope you learned a few tricks from this blog post on how to shoot a roman candle! Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know in the comments below what your favorite way is to set up or light a Roman candle. Remember always to stay safe and follow the instructions carefully. Happy shooting!

Jennifer Branett
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly