How to get into it
This is something you will want to do if you want to really impress people, or if you want to build up your confidence, or perhaps you want a challenge and something different to do.
You need to be good at what you want to do. If you want to get a set of fire balls then you need to be able to juggle! For most things only you can decide if you are ready and if you have the confidence to do it.
Different fuels you can use
Below is some info on what fuels you should and should not use.
IMPORTANT: READ UP ABOUT ALL FUELS BEFORE USING THEM. SOME LISTED BELOW ARE THERE TO TELL YOU NOT TO USE THEM> PARAFFIN(u.k)/KEROSENE(u.s.a)- Our advice is use this as it is probably the best fuel. It is the safest fuel. It has quite a smokey and bright flame and has a low vapour pressure (means it will not burn you easily). Trust us, it looks good aswell.
COLEMAN FUEL - Can be used. Gives off more smoke than paraffin. Is not as safe as parafin but gives a better flame. Ask for SBP4 in Shell Garages in England.
ALCOHOL-DIFFERENT TYPES -
ETHYL/ETHANOL - Clear, wimpy flame, no good in day light. METHS - This can't be used as it is VERY POISONESS. RUBBING ALCOHOL - Really cheap, really rubbish.
PETROL - Don't even think about using this. AVOID IT. VERY DANGEROUS
CHARCOAL LIGHTER FLUID/BBQ LIGHTER FLUID - This is OK. Its a lot more smokey than paraffin and not as safe.
Some circus stores sell special fuel designed for fire equipment. We recommend you use this or paraffin only.
Some Reference To The Different Fire Equipment You Can Get Diabolos
These can look really good. They are easy metal or fire resistant rubber. Metal doesn't bend out of shape but can be heavy (could be good or bad from your point of view. Would probably hurt if it lands on your head. Rubber ones may lose their shape if dropped on the floor but are the weight as a normal diabolo. Basicly they are the same as normal diabolos but have holes around the edge (for the fames to go through)and in the centre of each cup is a bit that sticks out and holds the wick. The wick is kevlar and is soaked in a fuel then lit, the fuel burns off and then the flames self-extinguish. Do Not try and light just the wick as it will ruin it. When you purchase it you'll get kevlar string to use, just replace your normal string with it.
These are a bit bigger than normal juggling balls and very weird. They have a core with two bits of wick touching each other dead centre. Around this there is like a cage with a special stringy rope stuff spiralling round. You cover the wicks in inside with a fuel and light them, then juggle, the flames will self-extinguish. Try not to spill any on the outside bits as this will cause surface flames which need to be smoothered out. Also be warned that they take getting used to, they do get a bit hot.
These consist of a longish chain with a handle, the end has the wick on it. The chain has swivels on it so that it doesn't tangle. Basically you swing it around your body to create what look like rings of fire, these can be done in patterns (like figure of 8). They pick up a lot of momentum and start to go very fast. It's recommended that you get one with padded ends to practice with as you will probably hit yourself in the head a lot whilst learning.
These are like normal juggling clubs but the end you don't catch has a wick on it for you to light. If you can't confidently juggle clubs don't even think about using these. They come in loads of different styles and sizes.
These are like very large tourches, can't really help you much with these, sorry
I've only seen these being used so i don't know much about them. Basically they're a staff in the style of a sword where the whole 'blade' can be lit to make some impressive sword fights.
Changing the colour of flames None of this is from personal experience (yet) but what we've learnt. The reason for this is it is expensive, and more dangerous than normal fire juggling (but we're not bothered about that!!). Firstly, the way coloured flames are made is by dissolving a metal salt (this is a metal compound like sodium chloride) with a fuel that will burn. BUT it wont work with paraffin, only ethanol and meths which are dearer (They can be obtained from chemists). *WARNING*-Meths is very poisoness. DO NOT drink it, wear protection when mixing it, DO NOT get it in your eyes. If swallowed drink milk of magnesia, DO NOT force vommiting, this stuff BURNS. If it gets in your eyes wash them out immediately with water.
A FEW NOTES- Try and burn off all paraffin without damaging the wicks before using meths.
There is a good chance your wicks will be ruined.
To try and avoid this burn off at least once or twice in clean meths then in paraffin before storing.
You might get a weird effect at first whilst the remaining paraffin burns off.
We don't know what equipment this works on except clubs so try it at your own risk.
O.k then. The Ingredients...
Boric Acid - Quite cheap, excellent bright green colour, mild irritant, mix as much as will go in, get from chemists and labotory suppliers.
Lithium chloride - expensive, wimpy red flame, same idea just dissolve much as pos, hard to get hold of, lab suppliers.
Blue Flames - Hard to do, need cool flame but look good, potassium acetate-crap flame not good colour but cheap, copper salts-start green go blue at end for a brief moment, cheap.
Where to get yer grubby hands on the stuff! All the chemicals can be found in chemists and lab suppliers. Try looking in the yellow pages (or your equivalent of big fat book full of phone numbers). The actual equipment can be homemade (a bit dodgy unless you know what your doing) or brought from decent circus/juggling/weird stores, and mail order services and off of the internet. We got our stuff from ODDBALLS in Brighton, England THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL. SAFETY
First important thing is DO NOT TRY TO PUT OUT THINGS WITH WATER. This can be very dangerous as on some fuels like paraffin the water makes the flames expand (go fire juggling in the rain and you'll see!!). It is best to smother out the flames if you can (many a time we've had to jump up and down on a patch of grass!!)
BURNS- There is a very good chance you'll get burned from accidently touching the hot bits, most of the time it'll be just a small blister but BE PREPARED.
IF POSSIBLE keep a fire blanket near and perhaps a small fire extinguisher suitable for kitchens cars etc.
KEEP lit things away from the fuels try not to spill or mix the fuels. DON'T try anything stupid when other people are around (if you want to kill yourself then go ahead but don't endanger others!!). Be aware of others, they tend to moan if you set fire to them or burn them (god knows why). BE CAREFUL.
Some stuff we came up with
Its probably all been done before but hey...
Soak each different juggling ball in a different fuel that makes different colours so you juggle one with a blue flame, one green and one red!!
Pretending that they burn, this can really freak people out, only do it to your friends though!!
Pretend to chuck one to someone who you heard say would never touch the things, again be careful who you do it to.
Burn some parffin off of your hand whilst screaming, preferably in the middle of doing something so that everyone thinks you've set fire to yourself.
Do tricks around your legs and stuff because it looks like you'll set fire to your clothes (especially if they're baggy like ours!!)
REMEMBER that the flames aren't as hot as they look... lick them and stuff to freak people!
More coming soon...