How to make fireballs that you can juggle

You, yes you, can make fireballs that you can hold, throw, and juggle. The secret comes from low temperature fuel, the right medium, and a reckless disregard for any kind of safety.

Look, this is an article about creating fireballs you can juggle with your bare hands, and that's good, but I think we all know that things will go badly if this is taken any further. So learn something from the piece below, and keep that knowledge tucked inside yourself, contributing to rich inner resources that make you a unique and fascinating person. Don't actually go around trying to juggle fireballs, okay?

To make the base for the fireballs, cut up a full-cotton t-shirt into strips and roll the strips into compact balls. Use a needle and all-cotton thread to secure the balls by piercing them with the thread and then winding the thread tightly around the ball. Soak or spray the balls in naptha or kerosene, or in isopropyl alcohol, and then set them on a fire-proof surface. Use a match to set them alight. Using tongs, carefully place one ball on the palm of your hand, without winding your fingers around it. It'll be hot but it won't, if you use care and keep it moving, burn your hand. With time and practice, you should be able to pick it up and move it around.

Why?

The cotton isn't actually burning. It just is a way to store and channel the fuel. Different materials burn at different temperatures. Cotton is relatively high and kerosene is relatively low. The flashpoint of kerosene and naptha is a mere 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and they burn at about 400 degrees. This sounds plenty hot, and it is, but it's only as hot as the average pizza coming out of the oven. (Or cake or pie, for bakers.)

People use oven mitts to get baked goods out of the oven. And what are the mitts made out of? Cotton. They don't burst into flames when they're being used to pull trays full of cookies off of the oven rack, so it's clear that it the cotton itself doesn't burn at such a low temperature. This is why all-cotton material has to be used. Synthetic material will melt and drip, spilling themselves and hot kerosene over a jugglers hands.

If they grip a tray of cookies, hands will burn, but only because baked goods weigh a lot. A pan full of cookies, baked at 400 degrees, will press against the flesh and burn whoever picks it up. But most of us have snacked a single cookie off of the pan as soon as it came out of the oven. The light weight of the cookie keeps the heat from being applied too forcefully, and as long as we quickly moved the cookie back and forth over our skin, we don't get burned.

We also know, when snacking impatiently on baked goods, to keep our hands flat under the cookie, both to keep from gripping it and to keep from being burned by the steam. The same works with the little cotton fireball. It's light enough that, if we keep it moving and don't grip it, it won't burn hands. The most concentrated heat is above the ball, so keeping your hand below it keeps you safe. This is why juggling is so ideally suited to these little fireballs. The quick, light contact with the fire makes it possible to keep from being burnt. The cotton is even reusable, since it doesn't burn.

Which doesn't mean you should do it. If you get the urge to juggle balls of fire . . . just eat a warm cookie instead. As we've shown, it's basically the same thing.

Via About.com twice.