Is Glitter Flammable? The Burning Question

Glitter is a shimmering, magical substance that adds a touch of sparkle and glamour to our lives.

Whether it’s used to adorn our crafts, enhance our makeup looks, or bring a festive atmosphere to special occasions, there’s no denying the allure of this tiny, dazzling material.

But have you ever wondered about the hidden secrets behind its mesmerizing charm?

Today, we embark on a journey to uncover the truth about glitter – its properties, its mysteries, and perhaps even its potential dangers. So, buckle up and get ready to delve into the world of glitter like never before.

Is Glitter Flammable?

What Is Glitter Made Of?

Glitter is a decorative material with small, shiny particles reflecting light and creating a sparkling effect. Traditionally, glitter was made from materials such as glass or metal, but modern glitter is typically composed of a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

PET is a lightweight, flexible, and durable material that can be easily cut into tiny pieces.

To create glitter, PET is typically coated with a thin layer of metal, usually aluminum, to give it its reflective properties.

The metal-coated PET is cut into small, uniform shapes, forming familiar glitter particles. The shapes can vary, ranging from tiny squares to hexagons or even more intricate designs.

Glitter comes in various colors and sizes, and it is widely used in arts and crafts, cosmetics, textiles, and other industries to add a vibrant and sparkling touch to products and designs.

Is Glitter Flammable?

To answer the burning question, yes, glitter can indeed be flammable. However, it’s essential to understand the factors contributing to its potential flammability and the precautions one should take when working with this enchanting substance.

Glitter is typically made from various materials, such as metalized polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of plastic.

PET is highly flammable, especially in its thin and delicate form, precisely how glitter is produced. When exposed to an open flame, the thin layers of plastic can catch fire and burn rapidly.

Additionally, the flammability of glitter can also depend on the presence of other substances. For example, if the glitter is applied to a highly flammable material like paper or fabric, the risk of ignition increases significantly.

In such cases, the heat from a fire source might be enough to ignite the surrounding material, leading to a potential fire hazard.

Is It Safe To Put Glitter In Candles?

Putting glitter in candles can be potentially unsafe and is generally not recommended.

While glitter itself is not inherently hazardous, there are a few reasons why adding it to candles may pose safety concerns:

Fire Hazard: Glitter is made from plastic; when exposed to heat, it can melt or catch fire. If the glitter particles come into contact with the candle flame, they could ignite and cause a fire hazard.

Release of Toxins: When the plastic glitter burns, it can release toxic fumes into the air. These fumes may contain harmful chemicals that can be inhaled and pose health risks.

Candle Performance: Adding glitter to candles can interfere with their performance. Glitter particles may clog the wick or interfere with how the candle burns, leading to uneven melting or erratic flame behavior.

Is Glitter Safe To Burn?

One of the primary concerns with burning glitter is the release of microplastics into the environment. Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that can harm human health and the ecosystem.

When glitter is burned, these microplastics can be released into the air, contributing to pollution and potentially causing respiratory issues if inhaled.

Another concern is the potential release of toxic fumes when glitter is burned. Some glitters contain chemicals or additives that can be hazardous when exposed to high temperatures. These fumes can be harmful if inhaled or come into contact with the skin or eyes.

Furthermore, burning glitter can pose a fire hazard. Glitter is highly flammable and can ignite easily, leading to accidental fires.

This risk is particularly concerning if the glitter is used near flammable materials or in poorly ventilated areas.

At What Temperature Does Glitter Burn?

The specific temperature at which glitter burns can vary depending on the composition of the glitter and the conditions in which it is exposed to heat.

However, as glitter is typically made from plastic, it generally has a low melting point and can start to degrade and potentially catch fire at relatively low temperatures.

Most types of plastic, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly used in glitter production, have melting points ranging from around 250 to 300 degrees Celsius (482 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit).

When exposed to high heat, such as an open flame or direct contact with a hot surface, the plastic in glitter can begin to melt, releasing fumes and potentially igniting.

Is Polyester Glitter Flammable?

Polyester glitter, which is a common type of glitter, is generally considered to be flammable. Polyester is a type of plastic, and like most plastics, it can melt, burn, and release toxic fumes when exposed to high heat or flames.

Polyester has a relatively low ignition temperature, typically around 410 degrees Celsius (770 degrees Fahrenheit). When polyester glitter comes into contact with an open flame, it can quickly ignite, potentially causing a fire hazard.

Is Glitter Toxic

The good news is that most glitter, particularly the cosmetic-grade variety, is considered safe for use. Cosmetic-grade glitter is manufactured with strict guidelines and regulations to meet safety standards. It is designed to be used on the skin without causing any harm.

However, it is important to note that not all glitters are created equal. Some glitter products, especially those made for crafting or decoration, may not adhere to the same safety standards as cosmetic-grade glitter.

These glitters might contain chemicals or additives that can be potentially harmful if ingested or inhaled. Therefore, reading the labels and opting for reputable brands that prioritize safety is crucial.

Is Glitter Bad For The Environment

One of the main concerns surrounding glitter is its contribution to plastic pollution. Most traditional glitter is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of plastic that is not biodegradable.

Glitter entering the environment, whether through manufacturing processes, product use, or waste disposal, becomes part of the ever-growing plastic waste problem.

Due to its small size, glitter often escapes filtration systems in wastewater treatment plants and ends up in rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Once in these water bodies, glitter can threaten aquatic life. Fish and other marine organisms may mistake glitter particles for food, leading to ingestion and potential harm.

Additionally, the accumulation of glitter in water bodies can disrupt natural ecosystems and affect the overall health of aquatic environments.

The environmental impact of glitter extends beyond aquatic ecosystems. When glitter ends up in landfills, it can take hundreds of years to break down, releasing harmful microplastics into the soil and potentially contaminating groundwater.

These microplastics can enter the food chain, posing risks to animals and humans.

Types Of Glitter 

Various types of glitter are available, each with unique properties and uses. Here are some common types of glitter, along with their typical uses and information about their flammability:

Polyester Glitter

Uses: Polyester glitter is one of the most common types and is widely used in arts and crafts, cosmetics, and textiles. It is versatile and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes.

Flammability: When exposed to high heat or flames, polyester glitter can melt, burn, and release toxic fumes.

Cosmetic-Grade Glitter

Uses: Cosmetic-grade glitter is specifically designed for cosmetics, such as eyeshadows, nail polishes, and body glitters. It is often finer in texture and comes in various colors.

Flammability: Cosmetic-grade glitter is typically made from non-flammable materials. However, following safety guidelines and avoiding exposing it to high-heat sources is still important.

Biodegradable Glitter

Uses: Biodegradable glitter is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic-based glitter. It is typically made from plant-derived or naturally occurring materials, such as cellulose or mica. It is used in various applications, including crafts, cosmetics, and decorations.

Flammability: The flammability of biodegradable glitter can vary depending on its composition. Some types may still be flammable, while others may have lower flammability risks than traditional polyester glitter.

It is recommended to check the specific product information or consult the manufacturer regarding its flammability.

Metal Glitter

Uses: Metal glitter is composed of small metal particles, such as aluminum, and is known for its high shine and reflective properties. It is often used in industrial applications, automotive finishes, and decorative purposes.

Flammability: Metal glitter is generally non-flammable. However, caution should be exercised when using it near open flames or high-heat sources, as the surrounding materials may be flammable.

Holographic Glitter

Uses: Holographic glitter contains multiple layers that create a prism-like effect, resulting in a multidimensional sparkle. It is used in various applications, including arts and crafts, nail art, and fashion accessories.

Flammability: Holographic glitter is typically made from materials like polyester or metal, which can be flammable. The flammability will depend on the base material used, so it’s important to consider the specific type of holographic glitter being used.

Safety Precautions Of Glitter

Keep glitter away from open flames: Avoid using glitter near candles, stovetops, or any other source of open flames that could accidentally ignite the sparkly particles.

Choose flame-retardant glitter: When purchasing glitter, opt for products that are specifically labeled as flame-retardant or fireproof. These glitters have undergone additional safety measures to reduce their flammability.

Use glitter in a controlled environment: If you’re working with glitter in a craft project, ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area away from potential fire hazards. Avoid using glitter near heat sources or in a cluttered space that could increase the risk of accidents.

Store glitter safely: When not used, store glitter in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This helps prevent the glitter from deteriorating and reduces the risk of accidental ignition.

Educate children about glitter safety: If glitter is part of a child’s craft activities, supervise them and teach them about the potential flammability of glitter. Encourage responsible handling and ensure they understand the importance of using glitter safely.


Glitter, especially polyester glitter, is flammable and can melt, burn, and release toxic fumes when exposed to high heat or flames.

It is important to exercise caution and avoid exposing glitter to direct heat or flames to reduce the risk of fire or hazardous situations.