How to Make Phosphorus

Phosphorous was invented by accident by alchemist Hennig Brandt In 1669, while trying to make a philosopher's stone (a mythical substance which could turn base metal into gold). Since the time of Brandt, newer methods for producing phosphorus have been discovered, but they require much higher temperatures and more sophisticated equipment than the average individual possesses. This article will describe how to make phosphorous the old-fashioned way.

How to Make Phosphorus

    Allow urine to sit in an open container for 7 days.

    Mix two tablespoons of finely-powdered charcoal and two tablespoons of powdered cinnamon into the urine and stir.

    Pour the urine/charcoal dust and cinnamon mixture into a glass retort with a glass tube leading into a second beaker filled with plain water.

    Heat the retort containing the urine mixture using your torch. Be sure to wear protective clothing, eye protection and a breathing mask.

    Allow the vapors from the urine mixture to bubble through the plain water. A yellow or white waxy substance will collect in the bottom of your water beaker. This is phosphorous. Do not expose it to the air or it may ignite spontaneously. After being exposed to light your phosphorous should glow very brightly in the dark for several hours.

    Things You'll Need

    • Urine
    • Charcoal dust
    • Cinnamon powder
    • Glass retort
    • Glass container
    • Water
    • Eye protection
    • Breathing mask
    • Gloves
    • Butane torch
    • Tripod for glass retort


    • Over time your white phosphorous will change into a red phosphorous if left in your water-filled beaker. Once it has changed into a red color it should be more stable in the air but still needs to be handled with care.


    • White or yellow phosphorous should not be removed from its water-base unless you are prepared for it to spontaneously catch fire upon exposure to the air.

About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.