How to Draw With Sparklers

I’m not going to lie, I wrote this post last July and completely forgot to publish it. But, since the 4th and sparkler season are fast approaching, I figured there’s no time like the present! Writing or drawing with sparklers looks so cool and is quite a way to spend an evening. When it comes down to it, it’s pretty simple once you get the camera on the proper settings and set up on something sturdy. In my Fourth of July post, I shared a few photos from when I wrote with sparklers, spelling out “freedom” and drawing a star and an anchor. Here, I’m going to give some directions on how to write with sparklers!


To draw with sparklers, you will need a DSLR camera, something to set it on, someone to help you and complete darkness. When I took my photos, I had my mom to help me and set my camera on a container of Lincoln logs on the front porch. I put the camera on self timer (10 seconds) and a low shutter speed. After pressing the shutter button, beginning the countdown, my mom would light the sparkler with a match and I would jump onto the lawn. She would turn the porch light off after I got to my spot on the grass to ensure complete darkness. Then, I would wave my arm and write or draw whatever I wanted such as my name, a word or a shape.

When writing, it is best to use cursive as the camera will pick up on all movement. With the low shutter speed, you have a set amount of seconds that the camera is taking the photo to write which creates the fluid effect of the illustration. With words, you can write as you usually do. The camera will read it backwards, but you can flip the image in editing to straighten it. I used the free app PicsArt to do so, but I’m sure you can use any photo editor to do the same thing. Taking literally two seconds to flip the cursive word is a lot easier and a lot less time-consuming than learning to write in cursive backwards!

When I took these photos in the dark, I had my camera set to shutter speed priority mode (S). I set the ISO to 100, the exposure compensation to -5 and the flash compensation to -3. Playing around with the shutter speed will allow you to figure out how long you need to write. I needed about 5-10 seconds but it will vary depending on what you’re trying to write and how long it takes you to do so. Depending on where you are, the time of day, amount of light available, the type of sparkler and the desired look, the settings will probably differ and taking these photos is a series of trial and error!

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