Charlie’s Secret Green Stars

Fireworks for Fourth of July

Charley stored all the fireworks he made in a big chest-type magazine.

Right out in the middle of his backyard.

It was the middle of a nice July afternoon in 1996. And Charlie was in the mood to tell some secrets…

And I was a fireworks newbie itching to find out whatever I could from this old fireworks pro.

“I hate working with chlorate,” he said.

“I know people say it’s impossible to get a good green star without barium chlorate. Been hearin’ it all my life.

“You bleeve ‘em?”

“Of course,” I said, pretend-falling into his trap.

I watched over his shoulder as he lifted up the wooden cover of that big cinderblock chest, and started rustling around in a stack of old Goex boxes, marked with shorthand for different stars.

“That’s it…” he said, as he opened up a box, and reached inside.”

This really isn’t really about Charlie, by the way. Although I think you might wanna know the secrets he gave me that day.

It’s actually about Charlie’s connection to green stars. And what a HUGE problem green star colors have been for Skylighter.

See, we have not been able to ship green color oxidizers during this century!

But last night my ace warehouse detective, Lori, figured out a way to ship ‘em to you again. Hooo-ray!

So, I figgered you might put this green little tidbit I’m passing along to you to some good use.

Charlie held a little black square in his hand, “Now, I know it’s the middle of the afternoon but look at this green even in daylight. I call it the Emerald Green Illuminating Star.”

He lit the star and tossed it into the air by hand.

Damn! Even in daylight it really was the deepest, brightest green I had ever seen! I was impressed.

“Now, you know what, Harry? That’s a barium nitrate green, NOT barium chlorate.”

And the rest is history. Charlie shared his green formula and some others with me that afternoon. I carefully chicken-scrawled his formulas down on this piece of 30# virgin kraft, which I have carefully preserved.

Fireworks for Fourth of July
Fireworks for Fourth of July

Don’t worry if you can’t make ‘em out. We couldn’t either. But here they are as best we can make ‘em out, 15 years later.

Chemical Emerald Green Illum. Star
(parts by weight)
Yellow Star (degn)
(parts by weight)
Excellent Blue*
(parts by weight)
Silver Glitter
(% by weight)
Potassium Perchlorate 15 35 50 (or 35?) 55
Barium Nitrate 65 40
Flake Dark
Flake Bright
7 8
Parlon 16
Red Gum 5 10 10
Airfloat Charcoal 2 3 8
Dextrin 5 5 4 6
Boric Acid 2 2 4
Potassium Chlorate 25 20
Cryolite 15
Copper Carbonate 8
Sulfur 8
Antimony Trisulfide 12
Totals: 120 142 92 (or 77?) 101


I have only made the green, so beware of the others. In particular, the yellow and blue formulas look funny to me.

I have made the green many, many times and love it. It’s my standard green.

My favorite green star is to roll the Emerald Green on top of 1/8″ “silver spin” cores (but that’s another secret that I can’t let you have yet).

Tell me what you think of the blue and yellow formulas. The blue perchlorate parts may be 50 or 35-it’s not clear. And the yellow Cryolite is either 15 or 1.5-my bet’s 15.

Charlie’s green is so good, that I think, despite these questions, the other colors oughta be given a try, too. (And, oh yeah, ALL of the ingredients are available at the fireworks chemicalpage at and can be shipped to you anytime you need ‘em.)

I’m sure they can be cut, rolled, or pumped.

What do you think, star makers? Please give me your comments below.

Harry Gilliam


get in touch with
our wholesale division