Whether you want it for survival and rescue purposes or just want to have some fun, this is how to make a smoke bomb yourself.
There are a lot of meaningful applications for a smoke bomb, and for some reason it's an extremely well-searched topic on internet search engines. If you're not one to head out to the fireworks stand in early July or around the holidays for cheap commercial smoke bombs, then you've got to devise a way to do it yourself and stay safe (of course).
That's why we figured it would be worthwhile to serve up some instructions for making a smoke bomb that takes a tiny amount of supplies and very little set up.
A Ping Pong Ball Smoke Bomb?
Believe it or not, ping pong balls make excellent smoke bombs. The plastic burns hot and fast, but creates a pretty thick smoke that can be visible from quite a distance, especially from the air. You won't get a colored smoke bomb out of it (it only creates basic white smoke), but the effect is still there.
You're clearly going to want to do this outside, on account of the health considerations with burning plastic and the toxic smoke it releases, and avoid inhaling the smoke directly.
Thankfully, you can avoid any trips to supply stores, because you've almost certainly got the five things needed in a junk drawer or cabinet.
- one ping pong ball
- one pen or pencil
- lighter (or any source of steady flame)
That's it! No need to reserve a chemistry lab or seek out reliable sources of potassium nitrate. Nope, it's just a good old fashioned piece of burning plastic!
It starts simply enough: Use the knife to cut a small "X" in the ping pong ball, creating a hole big enough for the pen or pencil to fit into. Stick the pen into the hole.
Then take the aluminum foil and with the pen standing straight up, wrap it around the bottom of the ping pong ball. Bring the ends together onto the pen, and squeeze the tinfoil tight around the ball, then the pen, leaving an opening at the top.
Next, pull the pen out. You're now ready to light your homemade smoke bomb.
Make sure you place the smoke bomb in a safe place that can withstand some heat.
Light the foil from the outside towards the bottom of the foil. Once it starts smoking, step away and admire your handiwork!
Granted, there are better ways to signal distress and let people know where you are than a homemade smoke bomb. But if you're working within a strict budget, like to dabble in DIY projects, or just want at least one failsafe way to create some smoke, this ping pong ball smoke bomb is ideal.
Carrying a few ping pong balls and some foil in your backcountry pack or bug out bag isn't going to take up much room or add much weight. There aren't any small pieces to lost track of, and it's not like you're executing a high school science experiment.
It's also worth noting that this isn't the type of smoke bomb that creates huge, billowing clouds visible from extreme distances. Odds are you won't be able to execute any Native American-style smoke signals.
This is clearly an easy and simple homemade smoke bomb, but there's still a good amount of common sense that's needed to do it right. Have at least a small amount of water around to douse the smoke bomb if things get out of control. And if you really want to keep it safe, wear a filter mask when you burn it.
Ultimately, you're creating this homemade smoke bomb at your own risk. But if you're careful and don't neglect basic safety rules, you've got yourself a pretty fun (and helpful) DIY project.