How to Make a Smoke Grenade

C. Davis
By C. Davis March 30, 2015 17:13

How to Make a Smoke Grenade

Editor’s Note: This article is an update of the original – posted one year ago.  

Using a Smoke Grenade

The smoke grenade that we are about to make is similar to the US Army M18 Colored Smoke Grenade.

These smoke grenades are used by the Military for creation of smoke screens in case of a retreat or flanking maneuvers in order to provide a wall of visual distraction that reduces the accuracy of enemy fire or to signal a position for air supported attacks (or SOS signaling).

Color Meaning:

Each unit designates the meaning and purpose for each color (white tends to be used to mask movement/confuse enemy, etc. only). Sometimes each mission may dictate different color signals for different meanings (lift & shift fire, phase line reached, extract, etc.). In other situations, different colors are meant to mark positions to aircraft to verify that the force on the ground popping smoke is who they say they are.

In peacetime red typically meant that there is an injury and all training is to be halted until the injury is addressed. (Source)

RED and Orange are internationally associated with the distress signal (10 ways to signal SOS). Non-military uses of smoke grenades vary from signaling your position in case you are lost to fireworks, paintball games, self-defense, protests, spectators, airsoft enthusiasts. However, the smoke grenade class is restricted to signaling and concealment under the laws of war, and thus they are not considered weapons. The smoke grenade remains legal for civilian use and ownership in most countries.

How to Make a Real Smoke Grenade – the one hour method

One of the best methods to create a smoke grenade is basically a mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar. The former ingredient is also known as saltpeter and usually it’s not available for purchase. But you may use Spectracide Stump Remover which consists mostly of saltpeter. It works just fine!

You’ll need:

The mix will be placed in a soda can that you have to cut in half. In order to create a good mix for this smoke grenade, add two parts of sugar to three parts of saltpeter. Cook these two ingredients and mix them constantly until they create a golden paste that is rather gooey. Stop the fire now as if you keep the mix on fire any longer, you risk igniting it and you don’t want a smoke grenade in your kitchen.

While the mix is still warm and malleable, pour it into the soda can that you cut earlier. You will have half of a soda can filled with a gooey substance that will soon solidify. This is the moment when you need to put a fuse into the mix. Place a thick string about an inch inside the mix and leave at least two inches outside. Then, you can either refrigerate or freeze the soda can or wait for it to cool down and harden naturally. It will take about 20 minutes for the mixture to be solid and then, you will be able to light it on fire.

However: this is a much more powerful smoke grenade than the next one and you should ignite it only in open environments. Also, try to avoid lighting it near your neighbor’s house as he or she might not be eager to be surrounded by a thick layer of smoke. This smoke grenade is unlikely to put something on fire, because it is contained in a soda can, but you should not leave it unattended, either.

How to upgrade your smoke grenade?

1. Add a pull ring fuse:

2. Add more colors: if you want to upgrade your smoke grenade you can also add more colors. This is not something that can be done with the second type of smoke bomb, as you cannot add color into that solid mix of elements. In order to do this, you can simply use organic food color. Note that you’ll have the best (coloring) results using other formulas (point 3):

3. Use other recipes: some chemicals may not be readily available unless you have access to a chemistry lab, but it’s worth knowing how it’s done. The ingredients are sifted together and ignited to produce the smoke.

Sulfur Smoke Grenade Recipe
Potassium nitrate – 4 parts
Charcoal – 5 parts
Sulfur – 10 parts
Wood dust – 3 parts

Para-nitroaniline Smoke Grenade Recipe (Red and Orange)
Potassium chlorate – 15%
Secret Room Doorpara-nitroaniline red – 65%
Lactose – 20%

Green Smoke Grenade Recipe
Synthetic indigo – 26%
Auramine (yellow) – 15%
Potassium chlorate – 35%
Lactose – 26%

For all the preppers out there: you may consider adding a few smoke grenades to your SHTF arsenal. Especially when setting up home defenses, cover and escape paths. Here are a few efficient and unconventional fast-tips about protecting your home in time of war or social chaos from a well-known army officer vet Steve Walker.

How to Make a Smoke Bomb – the 10 minutes method (to entertain your kids)

These smoke grenades, also known as smoke bombs, are probably something you did as a child. If not, at least you had a friend who did them.

Depending on the size of the smoke bomb, you might want to add any amount of ping pong balls you want.

smoke grenade for kids

This is all you need

However, a medium sized smoke grenade is perfect with about 5 balls. Cut all the ping pong balls. This will take you about 10 minutes. Each piece of the ball should have about half-inch in order to be packed with ease into the tinfoil later. Large shards will not burn properly and they might also puncture the tinfoil too. The alternative is to smash the balls and then rip them apart by hand, but this is much more tedious and you could also get a cut, as plastic can also be quite sharp.

Now you can either place them in another ping pong ball that was previously pierced in order for the shards to be placed inside, or you can directly wrap all of the small bits into tinfoil. If you want a single exit point for the smoke, use a pencil as you wrap the shards. Place it in the tinfoil and wrap the foil around it. Then, take the pencil out and you will have a miniature chimney from which the smoke will come out. The final step that you need to perform during this process is to light up the smoke grenade. Light the part with the ping pong ball shards until you see smoke coming out of the “chimney” and then step back.

Other Useful Resources:

Do You Make These Fatal Mistakes In A Crisis? (Video)

How to Make Your Knife as Sharp as the Devil Himself

The EMP Preparedness Guide (Video)

How to Slash your Electricity Bills by 80% or More (Video)

Best MMA Self-Defense Techniques

Here’s the #1 Killer In Any Crisis (Video)

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C. Davis
By C. Davis March 30, 2015 17:13
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23 Comments

  1. SRT April 4, 21:19

    For better results use this recipe. 60 grams Potassium nitrate, 40 grams table sugar and 40 grams of parrofin wax. Melt the wax then stir in other dry ingredients. I have made 100s of smoke bombs and this will net you the best results. Also the containers nozzle size is a big deal. If you make it to small it will blow out the plug. Too big and it’ll burn to fast and be like a smokey rocket motor. After you have made the smoke mix and inserted ingredients in a tube allow to dry for a couple days for best results. You can use it after the wax has hardened but will burn at a higher rate than if you let it setup for a day or two. “4.3 large spoons Organic Powdered Dye (found at Hobby Shops) – for color smoke bomb” This part is very missleading!!! Its not true! If you want colored smoke you must use potassium chlorate instead of potassium nitrate. Or you will have a poo brown colored smoke. Also note that colored smoke mixes are highly toxic if inhaled. The smoke mix I have provided will give you a long lasting burn and thick smoke and is non toxic even though i dont suggest inhalation.. Use it and you wont be dissapointed.

    happy prepping!

    Reply to this comment
  2. bom barter September 2, 20:49

    bla bla bla

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 30, 18:09

      Not a very helpful comment at all. Constructive comments to this site are much more helpful. Questions are always important as they help clear up potential ambiguities but a comment such as you posted adds absolutely nothing to the discussion. If the topic bores you, move on to another site.

      Reply to this comment
  3. eseberg September 13, 01:52

    don’t know if I’d trust something like this I made

    Reply to this comment
  4. mmcan October 4, 07:20

    how can you make a lancher for it

    Reply to this comment
  5. Dave November 13, 14:42

    I’ve made the saltpeter/sugar type of smoke bomb since I was 13y/o(62 now). It works. I found that when “cooking” it…add just enough water to dissolve or help dissolve the mixture…then cook it to evaporate the water. You need to stir it almost constantly. It will turn into a real thick “paste”. Then place it in your container of choice, place your fuse and let it completely dry and harden. If you use “cannon fuse”(green waterproof) coat the part that goes into the mix with a “light” coat of wax. Note: I had a batch ignite on me, once. Almost destroyed my Mom’s stove and part of her kitchen. I got careless and let it go too long. I also had to work off paying for the damage. (We took responsibility for our misadventures back then.) This stuff can be pretty amazing as far as the amount of smoke it produces…and it will set other things on fire. Don’t use your “better half’s” pans, either…;)

    Reply to this comment
  6. magglo November 13, 17:12

    Why is it you use grams,kgs or such when the standard in U.S.A. is ozs or lbs

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 30, 18:12

      Perhaps because he lives in Canada or some other country where the metric system is the one used. If you are measuring gunpowder you use grains of gunpowder which is a very small measurement of weight.

      Reply to this comment
  7. neo160 December 31, 16:20

    Add some surfer to the mix with the wax and you have a rotten egg smelly, smoke bomb

    Reply to this comment
  8. Right wing February 28, 19:53

    Left coast chuck. You are a douch.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Chemistry Crew June 20, 19:15

    By any chance, does anyone know how many grenades the 60g:40g recipe makes? Assuming we’re using a standard toilet paper roll for the case.

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