Setting up your fireworks – Fountains & Lancework

In terms of explosive performance fountains and lancework are quite gentle but all the same time and care should be taken setting them up. Lancework in particular is fragile so take care and get it right.


Getting started

Another reminder that UKFR guides are not intended as a replacement to the instructions on a firework which you should of course always follow. Common sense must at all times prevail here. For example in the event of a conflict between the firework’s instructions and the advice here, always follow the directions on the label. Most guidance and tips here can however be used in addition to the firework’s own instructions to enhance safety. Lancework may come in sections and usually includes an instruction sheet which is separate to the firework’s warning label.


Setting up fountains

Fountains are usually quite stable in action and as a result, some labels simply advise you to place it upright on firm ground. This normally applies to the smaller garden fireworks. It is still recommended to stake them out however especially if they are being fired on a lawned surface which can be uneven. You can also steady them by placing a brick or paving slab on the lawn and putting the fountain down on that.

Very small fountains in selection boxes often direct you to insert into soft ground. This means to carefully push it into soil or the lawn until it is secured and cannot fall over. The use of sand in a bucket is not recommended despite being an old tradition. The sand is usually far too loose and the firework can move around.

Firework Fountains

Fountains set out on wooden boards to give a firm base and protect the grass

Where directed to attach the fountain to an upright post, this means the fountain itself should be on firm ground and secured to a post next to it which will stop it from falling over. Conic fountains often catch people out since no part of the fountain’s side touches the upright post. In this case, angle the post at 45 degrees and tape it to the fountain where it crosses the side, keeping the fountain upright.

Fountains eject a lot of sparks which come down to ground level so do not set them up near other fireworks; crackling effects are the most energetic. You also get a lot of soot from them, so consider using a wooden board to protect the grass.

Firework Fountains

Fountains in action on an arched frame. Note the large area of hot sparks.


Waterproofing fountains

Follow the same instructions as for cakes and candles, using clingfilm or bags.


Setting up lancework

First things first, lancework is very fragile so handle with care. It only takes one knock in the wrong place and your “GOODNIGHT” will read “GOO—–T”.

Second, please take care to mount it the right way around. If not you won’t be the first person to display “THGINDOOG” instead of “GOODNIGHT” to the audience.

Fire writing in lancework

Lancework – very fragile and easy to damage. Handle with care.

Place your lancework carefully on the ground and take a moment to get it the right way up. Consult the instructions for assembly details if it comes in multiple parts. Lancework normally works best mounted as high as possible, so you will need to spend time assembling some posts. The lancework can be attached to this with nails or cable ties according to the instructions.

This should of course be mounted at the front of your display area to give spectators a clear view, taking into account the safety distance required which is nearly always 25m.


Waterproofing lancework

Polythene sheeting works best since tarpaulin is a little too heavy and can damage the delicate lances or fuse tape. Cover it in such a way that it can be removed easily and without damaging the lancework itself.


Further information

The other articles in this section will guide you through setting up various other types of firework.

The busy UKFR Fireworks Forum is always a good place to ask if you want more advice or if you want to get a little more creative with your fireworks.

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