3 posts
Location: Bristol, UK

I am trying to make a spiral of flame.
So far I've made a cross staff with the wicks arranged like this: (folow the link)
cross diagram

The idea is that when spun the flame trails will form a spiral.
I've used aluminium poles and it is damm lethal.
I haven't lit it yet so i don't know if it actualy works.
What i want to know is if anyone else has made something like this before, did they cut off the excess pole after the wick, or would that lead to an unstable spin.
Also any tricks?


jam spoon jellyfish

34 posts
Location: Pensacola, FL, USA

I know Dangerboy has made a cross staff and there's a video of it on his sight. Here it is. Hope that helps.

-M@TTKeep the fire burning.

71 posts
Location: Salem, Oregon USA

I'm betting that you will end up with 4 circles, each one smaller than and inside of the one before it, rather than a spiral. Just a guess, though, I've never built anything like this.

Good luck, and peace.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind - Mahatma Gandhi

CharlesBRONZE Member
Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
3,989 posts
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I'm with Tracered, on the separate circle thing. I can't see the design on your link for some reason, only getting the text.

But the only way to get a spiral type pattern within normal light is to have a spiral on the surface that is spinning. Or something so close to a spiral (blocks or lines not quite touching each other) that it will have the same effect when spun.

I personally think, that even if you have made a spiral of wick, it will show up as different circles because the fuel tends to gather in certain places and/or some parts of the wick will be hotter/brighter than others. These minute differences when not in motion tend to negate the spiral effect by establishing themselves as different pieces of the circle.

The spiralling illusion only works when the lines are exactly the same colour and contrast to the background.

I've had this proven by my current double-wicked staff. Both wicks are flush with each other, with no gap between them, but when spinning, they separate into two distinct images. When spinning a standard rotor in front of me, you get two distinct circles. This also happens sometimes with my innercore staff, which has only one wick per end, but a very wide piece. It also can seperate out at times...

But hopefully, I'm completely and utterly wrong, and shall find out of my folly once you light the thing up!


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1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

Actually, I've seen it done, and the effect is, well, pretty effective. Imagine something like the umbrella-twirling in Singing in the Rain, but with a spiral made of heavy wire (probably should refer to it as "rod") at the end of a shaft. Cover the spiral in wicking and you're set. Actually, using an umbrella as a frame might not be a bad idea...

But yeah, you do need to build a "static" spiral design. You can't create the spiral effect just by spinning a cross (or whatever).

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

3 posts
Location: Bristol, UK

I lit up the cross last night: didn't work, as predicited - back to the drawing board

work in progress.........................

jam spoon jellyfish

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