How to write with sparklers: An easy July 4th Party Idea

It’s almost July and you know what that means: fireworks! Learning how to write with sparklers is a fun summer activity that will light up your holiday memories (and your social media feeds). Make your sparkler photos extra-amazing with help from director Mark Morton, straight from Hallmark’s Union Hill Photography Studio.

DIY Sparkler Photos |

Let the Fourth of July Fun Shine On

For a kid growing up in the ’80s the Fourth of July was a time for mischief. I can remember sneaking away and getting in bottle rocket wars or watching an older kid light M-80s, and leaving my ears ringing. These are things kids could never get away with today. For a low-danger-but-high-fun activity, get those kids to try to write words with sparklers. It will keep those mischief-seekers interested…and busy!

DIY Sparkler Photos |

How to Photograph Sparklers


  • A group of people.
  • A LOT of sparkler fireworks.
  • A camera.
  • A tripod or steady surface. 

DIY Sparkler Photos |

Tips for Taking Sparkler Word Photos

  • Use one person per letter. (We used four people for “w-i-s-h”). Or use one person to write words in cursive. (See our “love” and “happy” photos.)
  • Have the group face the camera with the party sparklers in front of them.
  • Write the letters backwards so the camera sees the words the correct way. If it’s too hard to write the letters backwards, you can always flip the finished image in a photo editor later. 

DIY Sparkler Photos |

Advanced Option

  • Use a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera—make sure the shutter speed can be manually adjusted.
  • Place your camera on a tripod or another stable surface.
  • Set the shutter speed to 3 seconds. If your picture is too bright, increase the shutter speed to 2 seconds. If your picture is too dark, slow the shutter speed to 4 seconds. If you are comfortable changing your camera’s settings, adjust your aperture and ISO as needed.
  • Focus on the sparklers. Have someone light a sparkler in its final position to help focus in the dark.
  • Press the shutter button and count out loud so everyone has the same timing, “One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.”
  • The motion to create the letters should start on “one” and end on “three.”

DIY Sparkler Photos | thinkmakeshareblog.comEasy Option

  • Download an app for your smart phone that will let you adjust your shutter speed.
    • Slow Shutter Cam Free, FREE
    • Light Painter, $0.99
    • Slow Shutter!, $1.99
    • Magic Shutter, $2.99
  • Follow the instructions above to create your sparkler photos with your smart phone.

DIY Sparkler Photos |

Sparkler Photos Aren’t Just for July!

Don’t limit your creative firework photos to the fourth! Writing with sparklers is an unexpected way to capture the feel of casual summer gatherings, create beautiful wedding photos, and celebrate the shimmer of birthday parties.

Photos property of Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Tag us in your sure-to-be-incredible sparkler photos so we can see what you create: @Think.Make.Share.




Leave a Comment

  1. 6.30.16 | Reply
    Joseph C Pianta wrote:

    Ah cursive…what’s that a few of your young reader are asking. You might need a link on how to write in cursive too.

  2. 6.30.16 | Reply
    Elizabeth A Thake wrote:

    I really like the sparkle hand writing.

  3. 6.30.16 | Reply
    Pam wrote:

    Happy 4th Framily

  4. 11.20.17 | Reply
    Little Boy 101 wrote:

    The person writing in cursive looks like a ghost or a ninja flying through the photo.

  5. 12.27.18 | Reply
    Sabina J. wrote:

    Wow, thanks a lot for sharing this amazing article! I’m sure that your ideas will be really interesting for many students. Also I’ve my own article about writing, i hope that you will enjoy this! It’s here:

    • 2.4.19 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      If any of your students write an entire essay with sparklers, we’d love to see it! 😉

  6. 3.23.19 | Reply
    Sepi wrote:

    Hi , where can I buy the sparkle alphabet from? Much appreciate any advise. Thanks Sepi

    • 3.25.19 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      Hi, Sepi—
      We don’t have any sparkle letters for sale. You just need regular sparklers to create the images demonstrated in the article!

  7. 6.18.19 | Reply
    Lisa wrote:

    I think I will write my Amazon echo & echo dots name. Alexa