The left image is a block of TNT in a field and the right image is that same block of TNT flashing white after being primed to explode.

How to Make TNT in Minecraft

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Explosives in Minecraft can be both bad and good. TNT can be used for excavating, defense, or even just for having a little fun. To make TNT, you’ll need 2 ingredients: 1 that’s easy and 1 that’s deadly to obtain.

Table Of Contents

    What You Need to Craft TNT

    The player making TNT on a crafting table by using 4 sand and 5 gunpowder.

    There are only 2 ingredients that you need for making TNT on a Crafting Table: Sand and Gunpowder. For every block of TNT, you’ll need 4 Sand and 5 Gunpowder. On a Crafting Table, place the Gunpowder in an ‘X’ shape and then fill in the other slots with Sand. You can also use Red Sand in place of regular Sand.

    Where to Get Sand

    This type of block is found near water, such as around lakes and rivers. Furthermore, it can be found in desserts that stretch across the land. Red Sand, however, can only be found in the Badlands biome.

    You can mine Sand the fastest with shovels, so bring a few of those kinds of tools when harvesting. Be wary that Sand is affected by gravity and will fall if the block below it disappears. If a column of Sand falls on top of you, it can suffocate your character.

    How to Get Gunpowder From Mobs

    Gunpowder can most easily be gained as a drop from Creepers. While there are other mobs that drop Gunpowder, Creepers are by far the most common. This makes them the best mob to farm for Gunpowder. When a Creeper is defeated, it has a chance to drop between 0 to 2 Gunpowder.

    Another type of overworld monster that drops Gunpowder is Witches. While they spawn much more rarely than Creepers, Witches can drop between 0 to 6 Gunpowder. This means that if you’re in need of TNT, you should fight every Witch that you see. Just make sure to have a Milk Bucket handy, as Witches will try to poison you with their throwable potions. Milk is the easiest way to get rid of the poison, and it can be acquired from using a Bucket on Cows.

    The most dangerous kind of mob to get Gunpowder from is undoubtedly Ghasts. When a Ghast is taken down, it can drop between 0 to 2 Gunpowder, just like a Creeper. However, since they attack from long-range, it can be tricky to collect the Gunpowder after defeating a Ghast–especially if it was flying over some of the Nether’s lava lakes.

    Alternatively, you can also buy Gunpowder from Wandering Traders with Emeralds. Wandering Traders can be tricky to find, and they aren’t guaranteed to have the Gunpowder trade option, so don’t rely on them for your TNT needs.

    Where to Find Gunpowder in Randomly-generated Structures

    You can also find Gunpowder in the Chests of various randomly-generated structures. However, the amount and the odds of finding some differ greatly.

    The Type of StructureThe Possible Quantity of GunpowderThe Odds of Finding Gunpowder in a Chest
    Desert Temple1 to 859%
    Woodland Mansion1 to 857.8%
    Dungeon1 to 857.8%
    Shipwreck1 to 520.8%

    Where to Find TNT in Randomly-generated Structures

    If you want to skip the entire crafting process, you can instead find complete blocks of TNT in certain structures. TNT can be mined with an open hand or any kind of tool. Don’t worry about accidentally setting off TNT that you can see, as breaking it while mining won’t cause it to explode. However, you should be wary of hidden TNT, as it is commonly used in traps.

    Between 1 to 2 blocks of TNT can be found in Buried Treasure Chests with an appearance rate of 62.7% in the Java Edition of Minecraft and 34.3% in the Bedrock Edition. You can also find 1-2 blocks of TNT in Chests aboard Shipwrecks but at a universal appearance rate of 7.5%.

    While exploring Woodland Mansions, it’s possible to find 2 blocks of TNT that are set as a trap on either side of a Chest in a hidden room. Be sure to mine the TNT first before opening the Chest, otherwise, you and the Chest will both explode.

    Desert Pyramids (also known as Desert Temples) are the best place to find blocks of TNT, as those of this structure type that have traps each possess 9 blocks of TNT. In the central area of a Desert Pyramid, there’ll be a chamber with colored Wool blocks inside of the floor. Beware of this area, as below, there is a deep pit lined with rigged TNT.

    To get to the TNT, as well as the Chests in the pit, you’ll need to mine down carefully. Dig away from the Wool blocks so as to avoid falling onto the Pressure Plates at the bottom of the pit that triggers the TNT to explode. You can mind the Pressure Plates to remove them safely when you reach the bottom.

    How to Use TNT

    The player holding the flint and steel tool and is about to prime a block of TNT in a grassy field by setting it on fire.

    To use a block of TNT, you’ll need to place it and then prime it. You can place a block of TNT like how you would place any other kind of block item. If you place it and don’t like where it is, you can break it with an empty hand or any non-flaming tool to pick it back up.

    There are multiple ways that you can prime a placed block of TNT. The easiest and most common manner is to use fire in some way but there are also other methods. After you prime the TNT, it will turn from a block into an entity and can no longer be picked up. When a block of TNT is primed, it will flash white for a few seconds before exploding.

    Every Way That You Can Prime TNT

    • Flint and Steel can prime TNT manually
    • You can shoot a Flame Charge at TNT to prime it
    • If you hit TNT with a tool that has the Fire Aspect enchantment, this will prime it
    • A signal sent through a Redstone circuit can prime TNT
    • Shooting TNT with a Flaming Arrow will prime it
    • Being hit by the fiery attacks of Ghasts and Blazes will prime TNT
    • Getting hit by the exploding skull attack of the Wither will prime TNT
    • Coming into contact with fire or lava will prime TNT
    • Being caught in an explosion will prime TNT
    • Firing a block of TNT out of a Dispenser will prime it
    • Getting hit by a bolt of lightning will prime TNT
    • Being activated by a trap device will prime TNT

    What You Can Make With TNT

    You can craft a Minecart with TNT by using the ingredients in this item’s name. Combine a Minecart with a block of TNT on a Crafting Table to get a cart with an explosive payload. You can send this item along some rails as a destructive mining tactic or even as an attack against enemies.

    Protection from TNT

    You may want to have some safety procedures ready when using TNT, as, if things go wrong, your character can end up dying in an explosion.

    The most passive way that you can negate the damage from a TNT explosion is to wear armor that has the Blast Resistance enchantment.

    Additionally, the explosion damage from TNT gets greatly reduced by water. Even being separated from the site of an explosion by 1 layer of water blocks will be enough to significantly reduce the damage you take.

    Strangely, blocks of TNT placed on top of fence posts will drop through it when primed and the explosion will be contained to the fence post that it has phased inside of. This is likely due to the TNT turning from a block into an entity, which can pass through fence posts.