WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:  If you are underage, then consult with your parents or guardians before attempting any of this.  You are on your own - I'm not responsible for your actions or harm you may bring to others because of your actions.  Making the items described below  can result in injury or death to you or people in your vicinity. Some things mentioned here may be illegal to make in your city, county, state, or country so check the laws that apply to you before you attempt anything described here. These notes are not complete on purpose. If you are reading them and new to pyrotechnics, then you are making a mistake. Stop now - this page is not for you. Get a beginning book on fireworks (see Skylighter or American Fireworks News (very quick shipping)  for a start) and read up. You can't make any of this work without more information so read up or join a club or ask someone to help you.

Precipitation (aka CIA) Method of Making BP

Note: This is not my preferred method for making BP

Source: A compendium of several places on the net, the original CIA manuscripts,  and in books such as Perigrin's Introductory Practical Pyrotechnics.
Quantity made: 500 grams

Safety Precautions: Do this outside - never do it inside!


75 grams of airfloat charcoal
50 grams of sulphur
375 grams of potassium nitrate (milled to a powder)
500 ml of rubbing or isopropyl alcohol chilled to 0 degrees C or 32 degrees F
1 liter of water
pot to boil water in (should be large enough to hold 2 liters)
hot plate (used only outdoors!)
1 snow bank or ice chest full of ice


1. Make a mixture of ball milled charcoal ('airfloat') and sulphur. By weight the mixture should be 75 grams of  charcoal and 50 grams of sulphur.

2.  Ball mill, screen, sieve or somehow combine the mixture until it is uniform and there are no chunks

3. Add 1 liter of water to an old pan and bring to boil

4. Add 375 grams of  potassium nitrate into the pan - keep stirring while adding to the boiling water and wait until everything is dissolved.

5. Add the charcoal and sulphur mixture to the boiling water until is goes into a muddy solution

6. Make sure you are outside!  Look around, do you see walls on each side of you? If so, you made a mistake. Stop what you are doing and go outside and start over.

7. Turn off any sources of heat or ignition and move away from them.

8. Pour the chilled alcohol into the mixture a little at a time - it will boil over if you just dump in the alcohol so take it easy.

9. Cool the mixture as quickly as you can - I usually do this in the winter and just stick the pot in a snow bank after I hit it with the alcohol. You can use an ice chest full of shaved ice, too.

10. Filter the mixture through an old cloth, and squeeze to get all the liquid out. Discard the black liquid.

11. Spread the ball of black filtrate out on a sheet of paper, and dry it in the sun. Don't try to dry it inside since it will produce a lot of flammable vapors from the isopropyl alcohol. When it is still slightly wet to the touch, press it through a sieve (window screen will do) and dry it more. The result will be 'pulverone'.

12. This makes 'ok' BP. I don't recommend it but it does work.