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Forums > Other Toys > How to MAKE your own fire whip.

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Flow Artist
Location: USA
Member Since: 28th Jan 2011
Total posts: 67
How to make a fire whip:

Let me start off stating that this will not be the best way to make a fire whip. I am trying to provide information to the average fire performer. Since most do not have a lot of money, access to large manufacturing equipment such as welders, or even more common tools such as a rivet gun, I have limited myself to using only tools and materials easily obtainable.

Note: Many of the details were left out because designs change and I cant think of everything nor do I wish to type everything that goes into making a whip.


I dont give dimensions because everyones preferences are different. Also prices vary depending on what you buy so this wont be the same for all.

Handle = Metal tube (Aluminum Tube) ($2 per foot)
Core = Wood dowel, threaded rod, Kevlar rope (about $9)
Belly & Overlay = Flat Kevlar
- 50 ft of 1/2 by 1/8 from HOP ($20 after discount) (enough for two whips, so $10)
- 100 ft of 1/2 by 1/16 from TrickConcepts ($20 after discount) (enough for two whips, so $10)
Hardware = Fender washer, screw, nut, wire, needle, glue, thread (about $5)
Grip = tennis grip ($3)

Total cost: ~ $29 (about $50 if you want to do it well.

For the really cheap people: 100 ft Cotton Rope ($4), pipe ($2), Screw ($0.03) ~ $6 (it works though)


Simple Easy Method: One can simply drill a hole and put a screw through the handle, thread the wick up the handle around the screw and start plaiting.

I recommend for most to find a dowel the same size as the inside of your handle and secure it by placing it in drilling a hole and either screwing it in place or riveting it. (I use a 7/8 aluminum tube, with .06 wall thickness, a 3/4 dowel, and 1/8 rivets or screws.) Even better is to first epoxy the dowel in first. (Other Manufactures will place the base of the whip inside the handle to hold even more fuel.) Make sure the dowel sits just inside, about a mm short of flush with the handle.

Drill a hole slightly smaller than your threaded rod into the dowel on the end of your handle. (I use a 3/32 drill bit with 1/4" -20 threaded rod.) and screw the rod into the hole keeping about 4 sticking out. (epoxy this too for more strength)

Place a Fender washer if you want a guard for your hand, not absolutely needed. If you can, its better to have this welded on if you have your core starting inside the handle.

Now this is where it gets tricky. To conserve Kevlar and you would need to calculate exactly how much Kevlar is needed at this stage. For most, making a single plaited whip and just cutting the 50 ft roll of 1/2 by 1/8 from HOP in to 4 lengths of 12.5 ft and using 2, 12.5 ft lengths is the easiest. However this will not hold as much fuel for behave as well as double plaiting your whip with thinner wick. The extra effort is well worth it. This is why Riz and FCB charge so much, but they have the best whips out there. I could type several pages as to the exact length you need, but if this is that important to you, youll figure it out.
(I use 4 lengths of about 8, 10, 15, and 17 ft of TCs 1/2 by 1/16 wick for an 8 foot fire whip)

Poke a hole about in the center of your 2, 12.5 ft lengths, and place the end of the threaded rod through the holes. If you are using 4 lengths of the 1/16 thick wick, your whip should look like this:

Go ahead and bolt this down with a nut.

The core:

The easiest thing to do is to just take a piece of Kevlar rope and put it over the threaded rod.
For a much better whip, you can shot load a tube of Kevlar with steel shot, in a progressive manner. This is what a real whip maker would do. A good middle ground is to buy several sections of thinner and thinner Kevlar rope and sew the ends together. Depending how you do the core, the prices and the quality drastically change. (I use 4, 1 ft sections sewn together at 1/2, 3/8, 1/4, and 1/8)

Place the core over the threaded rod. Its best to secure this to the rod with glue and wire. Its not needed; none of my other whips have ever had a problem with the core becoming loose, but its a good idea. This is the stage at which you start plaiting.



I will do my best to describe the basic 4 plait. For nicer fire whips and normal whips much higher plait counts and designs can be introduced.

There is a very pretty way to start your whip. Go somewhere else to learn it, or figure it out. Sorry, its too difficult to describe to be worth it.

Keep two strands one either side of your core ( S1 S2 Core S3 S4 )
You will bring the outside strand (S1) behind the core and between the opposite two strands (S2 Core S3 S1 S4)
Cross the strand over back to the same side but underneath the other strand on the original side (S2 S1 Core S3 S4)
The same thing happens on the other side (S2 S4 from behind S1 Core S3)
Bringing the strand back to 2 on each side (S2 S1 Core S4 on top S3)
Repeat a lot.
Basically you are doing a wraparound kern-mantle braid over/under. This will taper to the end.


Note: When doing a double plait, make the overlay looser to allow for more fuel absorption.

The ends will drop off so that you can then have a 3 braid followed by a 2 strand loop. Most likely your ends will not end in a nice taper. Cut the strands when youre done plating so they end about every 6 inches.

I recommend that if you dont know how to properly tie off whips, either learn, or just sew off all the ends with Kevlar thread. In my experience its better to try off ends rather than sewing, gluing, tucking, or even melting (for nylons) It might not look as nice, but functions much better and last longer.

I now sew a loop into the end with 1/8 rope because it makes it very easy to change the fall. The best fall and poppers I have ever come across are just 1/8 rope tied in to a loop and Kevlar thread made into a popper. Even what I get from HOP, Riz, and BC dont seem to work as well, and is much more expensive.

You can add a grip or even a handle stop if you choose and you should have a functional fire whip.
Once you get this down, youll learn that fire whips are cheaper, easier and faster to make, louder, and more durable than nylon or leather sport whips.


The one pictured cost about $40 for me to make in about 2 hrs. I now have about 12 fire whips and have made about 20.


For those curious about buying a whip here are some previous posts:

Fire by Riz is the best commercially.
Home of poi's is pretty good too, it flows smoothly, but the poppers and falls that come with it are not that good.
BearClaw's are usable, the newer one is still not as nice as Karaka's (HOP's)
So far the best in terms of quality, fuel absorption, durability and price, ss to make your own.
It really is not that difficult, you can make one in about 2 hrs, it'll cost about $30, and it will be loud and last longer than anything on the market today.
I've gone through one of Riz's pretty quickly, but it's too pricey for me.
Two of HOP's (Karaka) and they can't be repaired plus I seem to spend more on the replacement falls and poppers.
I don't use the one from bear claw at all anymore, it just doesn't feel right.

I forgot to add:
br>I have yet to use one from them, but I hear they are of the same quality as Riz's


A lot of first time users do not realize that the popper/cracker will break after only about 5 uses.
If it's less than this, then it's usually due to improper fueling.
The fall will usually last about 15 uses.

As for good whips, the top of the line that I know of is Fire by Riz; they are the only ones to actually plait their whips. If you can afford them, get them. The poppers that come with these are super loud, but you really need a tight in plane crack. (I have discovered that FCB does plait their whips too)

Second is Karaka whips, and they are weighted very nicely, but it is still just Kevlar rope with some core removed and shot loaded, not plaited. FYI, these are what HoP sells.

Next is Bear Claw Manufacturing, especially their new Fire Whip III. However, their falls and crackers are pretty crappy I've never gotten them to really pop or last more than one burn.

When it comes to the falls and poppers themselves, as a beginner, get the ones from HoP. Theirs are by far the best to start with. Fire by Riz and Bear Claw's are nothing but twisted Kevlar which the diameter and drag ratio to fray (fluid mechanics think Reynoldss number of Mach 1) is very poor. Trust me, beginners get very frustrated when they can't crack a fire whip and 80% of the time it's because the popper/cracker just can't move fast enough. Technique, length, weight and quality can help.

Now the best whip you can possibly have will be plaited. Think the 4-plait or 8-plait nylon or leather whips you see.
The cheapest way the get this is by making one yourself.

HoP sells a 50 ft. roll of 1/2 in Kevlar for $20.00 US after the 15% discount.
A metal tube, a hard wood dowel, cotton sheets, and patience will give you a very nice whip for less than $30 US.
This whip will also be about 11 feet in length if you use all the Kevlar.

But a 10ft plaited fire whip will cost you at least $300 to buy.
With experience you can make 2 of these whips in less than an hours work. I'll try to upload pictures of my old whips I made with the time stamps on the photos later to prove this. Otherwise I still have enough K&A l around I could make a quick tutorial if you really want.

Now, as I said before, and the number one compliant from customers of Bear Claw and Fire by Riz is that the cracker breaks off after 1 or 2 uses. Then they get really mad because of this and write nasty reviews when it's not the manufactures fault.

First off, fuel the whip correctly. There is no need for you to dip the Fall and Cracker in your fuel. Don't believe me? Just try it. You can still get nice fire balls and even better arcs after your cracker breaks off.

(Note: If you buy the fall cracker combo from Home of Poi, RE-TIE THE KNOT!!! HoP does not tie their poppers on correctly and they will fly off with the first crack. Glue it too, just in case. This will also help with not having the fiberglass melt into the Fall or end of the thong since HoP puts fiber glass in their Kevlar.)

Do not dunk your whip, the fuel inside will stay in the whip for just about forever, there's no need to. Instead trail or snake the whip through a painter's tray or planting tray from the end of the thong to the end of the handle. Obviously use the correct fuel. Lamp oil, K, and white gas work well. Lighter fuel will destroy a whip.

Lastly, if you have a long whip, stick with overhead and halo cracks, maybe a flick or two. Every time your whip hits the ground, this will damage your whip. Plus a photographer can then lay underneath you and get pictures of the cracks from underneath, with the recoil of the whip and a full moon. This makes for epic pictures. Ill try to find those too.

If you really dont like to use Hops falls and crackers because of the price, you can buy braided kern-mantel Kevlar rope and make your own. You can use Kevlar thread too, but that will get expensive. Cotton braided rope works surprisingly well. So does hemp. Really it does. I didnt believe this either until a show where we forgot extra poppers or the material to make them, a girl was making necklaces with hemp, we asked for some, and they lasted an entire burn with really great cracks. Plus its cheap as h3ll. You can attempt nylon, but it will melt and elongate but look really cool as long as the whip is in constant motion; actually dont; just dont.

Thats all I can think of for now. Ill try to find pictures of when I made by 11 foot plaited twin fire whips. Otherwise next time Im back home, Ill take pictures of all the different whips and show you the differences.

Hopefully this helps, otherwise if you are still confused, post what about and Ill try to explain further.

Oh wait, burn time.

If you let your whip burn a little longer at the beginning before your first crack, you will heat up the fuel in the whip and the cracks will look much bigger. However, only let the thong burn, and try to burn it flat. Lay it on the ground like a coiled snake is better because (and every fire eater knows this far too well) HEAT RISES!!! Burning with one end higher will damage the whip further. This also means that you should never, ever, EVER, let your whips burn out. Once it stops producing you can do one or two twirling tricks, angel wings, tosses, bells, whatever, but then put out the whip. When youre done, check a bight, (bend) and if your whip is not dyed black, you should still see the original color of your Kevlar in the bight/bend. Otherwise youre burning through your plaiting and burning the belly or even the core. (Id get photos of this too, but that whip is long gone.) The core should never burn; this is why even a cotton core will work with making a whip, its lighter too and will hold more fuel than one with a Kevlar rope core.


If you want more info I will do my best to check both this thread and private messages on a regular basis.

Okay, now I think thats all.

Good Luck.


Flow Artist
Location: USA
Member Since: 28th Jan 2011
Total posts: 67
Posted:I was contacted with:
After reading some of your comments of the quality of fire whips out there and the choice of making one's own, I realized I wanted to know a bit more about the process. If you don't mind sharing your manufacturing secrets with a fellow fire performer, could you please provide a little extra detail on:
- the method of plaiting you're using for your fire whips
- the type of material and purchase location
- the general feel of the home made product when compared to the Riz and Kanaka products.


The method of plaiting is pretty standard. Its just a basic 4-plait. Exactly the same as Rizs

The type of material is of course Kevlar, I get mine from either HOP or Trick Concepts.

I have been using my own whips for too long and am biased, so I will use others opinion:

Ello there! omg the fire whip is amazing i can do all my speedcracks all my 3 and 5 point cracks with it i could never do with fire by riz's whips. the design of it almost gives it the fell of a stockmans whip without it being one smile the fall did snap off the verry first time i set fire to it but the way you tied it made it ever so easy to replace im still kind of scared to light the cotton one its to beautiful to watch it blow up in my hands but it is fun to play with almost fells like a snakewhip its like learning a whole new beast

I luv this new whip! Tnks so much! I lave the way the flame looks and it seems to produce more jagged flames that the one I got from home of poi. Its much stiffer but sonds so much crisper than mine. You need to make it hold more fuel or is tat cuz the home of poi one is just like a tube? Anywho tnks again!

Thanks man! Im quite impressed by how much easier your whip is to get a good sized fire ball out of. Hehe its also a b*tch to try an put out too.

hey man your craftsmen ship is superb id love to get a set of one of everything for our store. the whip is awesome, it seems to take a bit more energy to crack than were used to. (They use Karakas whips) we run a little studio where we teach various things of the flowing nature and would love to get some more of your fire stuff for our shop as well as our vending booth for festival season.

Overall, I plait much tighter than I should (from making nylon whips) If you plait looser than I do, the stiffness that others have complained about will go away.


Member Since: 19th Nov 2011
Total posts: 1
Posted:First time whip maker here,
You said you glue 4 one ft. sections together for the core. Are these instructions and flat wick lengths for that 4 ft. core? And if so, all of the lengths for the flat wick are 12.5 ft.? It isn't clicking for me since the inner plaits are supposed to end before the exterior plaits. I may be thinking to much about it, but I really can't afford to cut and waste wick. Thanks for the instructions!

EDITED_BY: Zerocaine@gmail.com (1394346877)


Flow Artist
Location: USA
Member Since: 28th Jan 2011
Total posts: 67
Posted:I have now made over 100 fire whips including one that will be about 250 feet long (Yes, that's a world record), and got feedback from some of the world's top whip experts (including Adam Winrich).

There have been a few design changes I highly recommend:

Don't use cheap Kevlar, Don't use a fiberglass blend, and never, ever buy from Trick Concepts.

I actually glue, tape and sew the cores together, it's much stronger. Don't forget to seal the ends with glue.

Use at least a 5/16" if not a 3/8" Threaded Bolt, smaller ones have been breaking.

Now I use a 1.5' section of 5/8", 1.5' of 1/2", 1.5" of 3/8" and 3.0" of 1/4" rope for a longer cord and the 1/4" rope turns into the fall.

Use 1/4" Rope for the fall not 1/8" unless you find continuous filament Kevlar, as the 1/8" has been breaking.

Also sew, lash and glue both the end of the thong and the end of the fall to help against fraying.

I've started to use 6 and 8 plait overlays for more re-activity.

The actual measurements for the double plaited whip strands are, in order, the 4 plait belly: 11' (5' + 6') & 15' (7'+8') and the 6 plait overlay: 15.5' (7'+8.5'), 20' (10'+10') & 20' (10'+10')

I hope this helps. Happy Cracking!

Carnaval Abraxas

Member Since: 25th Sep 2012
Total posts: 1
Posted:Hi! Im french so hopefully you Will understand . I Just had that 7 foot long whip from HoP for àlmost à year with Practice hère and there. Yesterday it Just broked. I found electric Tape melted and burned inside... How Côme? Isnt it better to Just sew? And does thé plastic tape Could hâve over heated thé kevlar and melted than dry and got thé kevlar stifff and thats why it had broked at the end of the whip just before the "knot" of the fall? Why i feel this is just cheap made?
EDITED_BY: Carnaval Abraxas (1411709913)