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How to make Napalm (a recipe for simple homemade napalm).

Napalm mixture in beaker

What is Napalm and how is it used?

A U.S. riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War

Napalm is the generic name for the mixture of a flammable petroleum substance, typically diesel gasoline, with a thickening or gelling agent to give the fiery substance “sticky” properties. Napalm-like fiery substances have been used since early Greek times for war purposes (they called it “sticky fire”).

Napalm as we know it today, was developed at a secret Harvard University laboratory in 1942 and was intended to be used as an incendiary device for buildings and structures.  However, more recently Napalm was used as an incendiary substance that sticks readily to victims prolonging the burn, and damage, to the victim and proved especially effective against dug-in enemy personnel (the use of napalm is forbidden by modern-day “rules” of war). Napalm is also a common fuel for incendiary devices such as the Molotov cocktail.

For more peaceful purposes, napalm can be used in animal traps and to focus a burn on a given area for a prolonged period of time (for instance, to kill certain crops by burning off their seeds).  It can even be used as a cutting device in a survival situation.

How to make homemade Napalm

There are several different types of modern-day Napalm mixtures, including Napalm-B, the more modern version of napalm. Commercial versions are typically formulated from hard-to-find agents such as naphthenic acid and palmitic acid (hence the name: naphthenic + palmitic) but homemade versions of Napalm are fairly easy to mix. Homemade napalm can be made as follows:

  1. Fill a large container about half-way with gasoline (diesel works best).
  2. Break a Styrofoam (polystyrene) plate into small pieces.
  3. Add the pieces to the gasoline mixture and stir.

The gasoline will dissolve the Styrofoam into a jelly-like substance.

  1. Pour out the extra gasoline leaving the white, jelly-like substance.

This sticky, white substance is the “napalm” which when lit, will burn for several minutes. Engine oil can be added to the mixture to reduce (slow) the burn time of the substance.

Other uses for Napalm

Although initially developed for wartime purposes, several other uses of napalm have been discovered, making it a versatile substance. Some of these uses include:

Using Napalm for controlled burns

Napalm can be used to start controlled fires in areas where there is a need for a controlled burn. This can be useful in preventing wildfires or clearing land for agriculture. Controlled burns can also be used to manage ecosystems by promoting the growth of native plants and preventing the spread of invasive species.

Using Napalm as fuel for heaters

Napalm can be used as a fuel for heaters in extreme cold conditions. It is especially useful in areas where other types of fuel may not be readily available. This can be a lifesaver in emergency situations, such as during natural disasters or in remote areas.

Using Napalm in construction projects

Napalm can be used in construction projects as a sealant or adhesive. It can be used to seal pipes, roofs, and other structures. Napalm’s adhesive properties make it a valuable tool in construction, as it can help keep buildings and infrastructure in good condition.

Pest control using Napalm

Napalm can be used to control pests such as insects, rodents, and snakes. The intense heat and flames generated by napalm can be used to eliminate pests and their habitats. This can be an effective way to control pests in areas where traditional pest control methods are not feasible or safe.


Napalm has been used in various forms of entertainment such as pyrotechnics and special effects in movies. Its bright flames and unique properties make it a popular choice for creating visual effects in movies, TV shows, and live performances.

The dangers of Napalm

Remember, this is “napalm” and as such, includes all the dangers inherent with other flammable substances with the added dangers that (1) it sticks to you, (2) it produces unhealthy, toxic smoke and fumes. In other words, the substance is very dangerous – handle it with care (the heat from this napalm is so hot if you burn it on an asphalt street, it will leave a hole in the street surface).

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

A U.S. riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War via Wikimedia Commons by U.S. Naval War College Museum with usage type - Public Domain. Circa 1968

Featured Image Credit

Napalm mixture in beaker via with usage type -


1 thought on “How to make Napalm (a recipe for simple homemade napalm).

  1. I’ve always wanted to try a form of powdered hydrogell, and add it to a fuel or similar to make fun gravy.

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