Almost everyone has put candles on a cake and lit them before, but birthday cake sparklers can be a little bit trickier. Instead of a small wick, there is a piece of tissue paper covering the powder inside. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more heat to get the show started. Luckily, if you follow the right procedures, it can still be a very simple process. Below, I’ll cover the steps on how to light cake sparklers along with some additional pointers. Hopefully, you’ll learn everything from which type of lighter to use to the proper techniques. Enjoy!

Steps on How to Light Cake Sparkler Properly

Here are the steps to properly light your birthday sparklers. This process will work for any type that we sell, but they are written specifically for the cake version. If you follow them exactly, you will have the best experience at your party.

  1. Always choose a safe location to put your cake. Make sure there is nothing above the cake that might catch fire, and keep people at a safe distance.
  2. Insert the sparklers into the cake using the small spike on the bottom. The spike needs to go through the frosting and into the cake itself to be stable. Additionally, make sure they’re completely vertical so the sparks go away from the frosting.
  3. Stand at the edge of the table and put the flame from your lighter against the tips. It should be obvious once they’re ignited, and you can remove the lighter once that happens. Remember, these shoot sparks up into the air; so never put your face or other body parts directly over them.
  4. Once they’re lit, start singing your favorite birthday song and enjoy the show. They will burn out by themselves; there’s no need to blow them out.
  5. After they are spent, carefully remove each of the one and transport them to a bucket of water. Your sink works fine if you’re near the kitchen. After about 30 seconds, they should be water-logged and rendered harmless. Then it is safe to toss them into any nearby trash.

Which Type of Lighter Works the Best?

Image of a Torch Lighting a Cake SparklerThere are many different types of lighters available in today’s marketplace. However, not all of them are well-suited for the job when deciding how to light cake sparklers. To help, I’ve broken down the most popular ignition sources that people choose to compares them against one another. By reviewing this information, you should be able to make the best choice.

Regular Butane Lighter

Regular butane lighters are the most common type that you’ll find. The largest company is BIC, but there are plenty of other knock-off brands that make them, too. They work alright for lighting cake sparklers, but there are definitely better options. Sadly, they don’t offer very good angles for getting the tip ignited. Additionally, they don’t create a very hot flame; which is essential to lighting things quickly. However, if you are I a pinch, they are a reliable option that will serve you just fine.

Sparkler Torch

Though handheld butane lighters are the most common, there is another butane-fueled option that is the best of the best. Known as cake sparkler torches, they are specifically designed to handle this job. First off, they have an angled head to make lighting your items a breeze. Most lighters need to be turned sideways, but these eliminate that problem. Additionally, they produce a very hot and targeted jet of flame that maximizes what butane is capable of. This creates temperatures two to three times hotter than ordinary butane lighters! Between the angled head and the precise high temp flame, there is simply no better device when deciding how to light cake sparklers.

Grill Lighter

Grill lighters have long been a favorite among people who light candles. The long nozzle allows you to reach places you can’t with ordinary ignition sources. Additionally, it allows you to keep your hands at a safe distance during the lighting process. However, similar to handheld butane lighters, the flame does not get nearly hot enough to light your sparklers instantly. Don’t get me wrong; they are still a great option compared to some of the others on the list. However, they lack some of the key features to make them the top choice for the job.

Propane Torches

When it comes to getting the job done fast, propane torches actually do it faster than even our sparkler torches. There is simply no better way to create a flame that will light any type of firework s fast. The secret is that it uses propane instead of butane; and propane can hit temps 600° higher than butane under optimal conditions. Moreover, it’s easier to get propane to its maximum potential compared to butane. However, propane torches are bulky and difficult to handle. Furthermore, they can make many of the guests at your party very uncomfortable. Though they do a great job, they have some obvious setbacks that make them less than ideal.

Windproof Lighters

Most lighters that you buy these days have butane for their primary fuel source. However, and all but forgotten alternative are lighters fueled by lighter fluid. The most common variation of these is windproof lighters is Zippo; by far being the best known brand. Windproof lighters are really handy when lighting something outdoors because the fluid is less susceptible to being extinguished by exterior forces. However, they have some significant drawback when lighting cake sparklers. They offer the worst angles, and they almost always burn your fingers. Additionally, you can only keep them lit for a short period of time because you will burn up the wick. Though they can do the job, they are far from an ideal device for this purpose.


Matches were an item found almost everywhere until the late 90s. They are still used today, but they are far less common than they once were. One of the advantages that matches offer is the ability to customize their jacket. You can print “happy birthday” or any other message you want for your event. However, when it comes to lighting cake sparklers, they leave much to be desired. They create a small, low heat, flame that burns out very quickly. Additionally, they almost always end up burning your fingers. If you want something that will do the job quickly and easily, matches are the wrong choice.

Ideal Places to Light Cake Sparklers

Image of a Sparkler Candle Being Lit OutdoorsOnce you’ve selected your ignition source, you need to make sure you’re choosing a safe location. Most people are wondering how to light cake sparklers at their kitchen table, but that’s not the only option available. Here are your best options depending on whether the party will be indoors or outdoors.

Indoor Locations

Having your cake indoors is a natural choice for birthday parties; and it can absolutely be done safely. However, you need to make sure the location you choose is safe for the activity at hand. First, you need to make sure there is at least four feet of space above the sparklers. Additionally, you need to be able to keep people at a safe distance during the performance. Kitchens and dining rooms are the most obvious choices, but you’re actually better served doing it in your living room. Wherever you choose, just make sure you have plenty of space to do it safely.

Outdoor Locations

Choosing an outdoor location to light your sparkler candles is always the smartest choice. There are no obstacles to contend with, and you will have plenty of room to keep your guests at a safe distance. However, there are many challenges that come along with this idea. First off, wind can be a major factor when using our products. Additionally, rain or snow can quickly make it into a miserable experience. If you are brave enough to plan an outdoor event, make sure you have a backup plan. It’s better to be prepared than to be caught in a rainstorm.

Staying Safe While Enjoying the Show

Lastly, you need to be safe when you light your sparklers. As the host of a birthday party, you are responsible for everyone in attendance. Furthermore, you don’t want to end up injuring yourself over some sparkler candles! Make sure you follow the procedures outlined above, and always adhere to the sparkler safety guidelines. By doing everything correctly, you can have a fantastic birthday celebration without incident. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your birthday celebration!