Making Picric Acid from Aspirin by the Jolly Roger

Picric Acid can be used as a booster explosive in detonators, a high

explosive charge, or as an intermediate to preparing lead picrate.


Material Required


Aspirin tablets (5 grains per tablet)

Alcohol, 95% pure

Sulfuric acid, concentrated, (if battery acid, boil until white fumes


Potassium Nitrate (see elsewhere in this Cookbook)


Paper towels

Canning jar, 1 pint

Rod (glass or wood)

Glass containers

Ceramic or glass dish





Heat source






1) Crush 20 aspirin tablets in a glass container. Add 1 teaspoon of water

and work into a paste.

2) Add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of alcohol (100 millilitres) to the

aspirin paste; stir while pouring.

3) Filter the alcohol-aspirin solution through a paper towel into another

glass container. Discard the solid left in the paper towel.

4) Pour the filtered solution into a glass or ceramic dish.

5) Evaporate the alcohol and water from the solution by placing the dish

into a pan of hot water. White powder will remain in the dish after



NOTE: The water in the pan should be at hot bath temperature, not boiling,

approx. 160 to 180 degress farenheit. It should not burn the hands.


6) Pour 1/3 cup (80 millilitres) of concentrated sulfuric acid into a

canning jar. Add the white powder to the sulfuric acid.

7) Heat canning jar of sulfuric acid in a pan of simmering hot water bath

for 15 minutes; then remove jar from the bath. Solution will turn to a

yellow-orange color.

8) Add 3 level teaspoons (15 grams) of potassium nitrate in three portions

to the yellow-orange solution; stir vigorously during additions. Solution

will turn red, then back to a yellow-orange color.

9) Allow the solution to cool to ambient room temperature while stirring


10) Slowly pour the solution, while stirring, into 1-1/4 cup (300

millilitres) of cold water and allow to cool.

11) Filter the solution through a paper towel into a glass container. Light

yellow particles will collect on the paper towel.

12) Wash the light yellow particles with 2 tablespoons (25 millilitres) of

water. Discard the waste liquid in the container.

13) Place particles in ceramic dish and set in a hot water bath, as in step

5, for 2 hours.


Compiled by: Exodus