How to make Fire Poi
How to make your own set of fire poi…
Video of how to make the fire poi in under 5 minutes:
(And if you would like to have a soft pair to practice with, I recommend these)
Step One: Gather the materials. For this set I went to a marina hardware store, but you can find these items in your local hardware store to make fire poi. You will need the following:
Two pieces of chain 75-90” in length (this is what I prefer)
2 bolts 5” in length (make sure the bolts will fit in the chain without falling through)
2 nuts to fit the bolts
4 – 1″ Washers that fit the bolts
2 Keychain Rings slightly smaller than a quarter
2 Keychain Rings the size of a quarter
A pair of old jeans (or Kevlar Wick)
Some fabric scissors
Tape to hold the jean/wick material together
(optional) Webbing for additional finger holds
You will also need chain cutters (unless you have the chains cut at the store as I did), and a power drill with a bit that is slightly larger than your bolts to make your fire poi.
Optional – a heavy duty hand stitcher and thread to sew the webbing for handles.
Make Fire Poi:
Step Two: Start by laying the chains out and counting 5 links from one end and then place the bolt in this link. Add 2 washers and the nut to the bottom of the bolt to avoid it falling out while you work. Do this to both pieces of chain. (see photo to the left)
Step Three: Use the 2 slightly smaller keychain rings to attach the bottom of the chain in a triangle form above it (see photo below) One keychain ring per each chain.
Step Four: Measure the chain length needed for your specific body/arm. I am comfortable using a chain length of 75” which reaches roughly 20” past my fingertips. This point is where you will place the other 2 quarter sized keychain rings. I found it easier to measure one, then count the links and make the other one based on this number so that they are the exact same length. Some people prefer they are shorter (around only 26 – 30″), but I like them longer (just make sure when you hold them in your hand they don’t drag the ground – mine hover about half an inch from the floor).
Step Five: Use chain cutters to remove excess chain from the top keychain ring, as this is where you will “spin” the poi from and won’t need extra chain flying around bashing up your hands and wrists. You can also have the chain cut for you in the hardware store where you bought it usually.
Step Six: Now it’s time to build the fire heads. You can use kevlar wick which does last a bit longer, but it can cost
you around $15-$20. Or you can recycle the bottom of those jeans you made into shorts (or pick up a pair from a second hand store for 50cents) as I chose to do this time. I cut 8” strips of jean material and then roll them up until they are 4 – 4 1/2” thick. You want to leave room to place the final washer and nut on the bottom of the bolt, but not so much that you leave an excess of metal exposed.
Step Seven: After rolling the jeans up, place two strips of tape on each end to hold the material together as you prepare to drill the hole in the center. Be very careful when you do this step. I have known some people to hold it with their feet which I feel is dangerous. Imagine the drill bit slips and bam. There goes a toe or two. I used two small boards to stand on each side of the material when I drilled so if it slips the boards get it and not my feet. There are other ways to do this, just be cautious with your body and the power tool.
Step Eight: Once you have drilled the holes in both fire heads, you can put the bolts in. One washer will be on the top, the bolt goes through the material, and you end with the other washer and finally the nut. Be sure to tighten the nut as much as possible as it tends to loosen with play. Also, I recommend removing the tape before lighting your poi on fire as depending on which kind you used, it can interfere with an even burn of the poi material.
Step Nine: (optional) You can use the keychain rings to spin your poi, or for a softer feel, you can add webbing (or any other material really- even the jeans) to the rings. To do this just cut a 14” piece of webbing and insert it in the ring. Then you sew the 2 pieces together and waala! You are all set.
Step Ten: Fuel selection. You can use many different things to soak your poi in and light them on fire, but remember that each one has a different flash point and burn intensity. For example, gasoline or lighter fluid burns very brightly, but will eat up the jean material in under 20 minutes. I recommend lamp oil such as kerosene as it has a high flash point but burns much slower.
Finally, please exercise caution when playing with the fire poi. The metal ends get very hot (naturally) and precautions should be taken such as bringing a wet towel and a friend along in the very least. For more protection you can wear kevlar arm sleeves if you choose. Also, as mentioned above, the nut tends to get loose after some time playing, so bring along a pair of needle nose pliers to tighten it after it has cooled down of course. Above all, be safe, and have fun with your new poi! If you would like to leave any feedback or suggestions, please do so by clicking on the comment button below! Also, if you would like to try some other poi (LED, Scarf, Childs) you can click on this link to be taken there. Here is a short video clip of these homemade poi in action (they were only soaked slightly in lamp oil)