How to Use Flash Paper

By Athena Hessong

Flash paper is a staple for many magicians. It can be used to produce a flame which does not produce any smoke or ash left to clean up. The secret of the paper is that the paper is treated before with nitric acid to make it a nitrocellulose. It only takes a small spark to set off the flash paper, which burns so quickly that the paper will completely combust if dropped when it is lit.

Hold the flash paper in one hand.

Light the match or lighter with the other hand.

Touch the end of the flash paper with the flame source.

As soon as you light the flash paper, let it drop, and the paper will seem to disappear as it burns up. There will be no ash left over after it is lit.

For a flaming ball effect, crumple the flash paper into a ball before lighting it.

After you light the crumpled paper, toss it into the air, and it will look like a fire ball as it burns up.

Use flash paper to create a distraction when you are doing illusions. Light the flash paper with one hand, while doing another trick with the other hand. Flash paper is not a magic trick in itself, but it can be used as a tool to add more flair to your tricks. Use it any time you need a little something extra in your act.


As with all flammables, use caution when using flash paper and do not allow children under the age of 18 to handle it.