Easy Patriotic Firecrackers for July 4 Decor

A great summer craft to do with the kids! Cardboard tubes are recycled into bright and festive patriotic firecrackers with craft supplies for a colorful patriotic addition to your July 4th decor!
red, white and blue patriotic firecrackers

If you're looking for a fun July 4th craft that is both inexpensive, easy and will add festive patriotic decor, look no further than these easy firecrackers! Better yet, have the kids or grands help you make these to celebrate our nation's birthday! Full tutorial below!

How to make patriotic firecrackers

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You'll want to collect cardboard tubes to make these easy paper firecrackers! The sturdiest ones are the best, but any will work. I used a toilet paper tube, the tube from a tin foil roll and a random short and squat cardboard tube that I saved from something awhile ago. Here are the other items you'll need to create your own DIY firecrackers. 


paper, cardboard tubes, hot glue

In full disclosure, I was making this up as I went along haha, but managed to capture pictures of the process, so I hope you find these helpful. You may come up with your own method or want to modify my instructions, and that's fine. Have fun making patriotic firecrackers 🧨🎇

Step 1: Cover paper tubes

You'll want to cover the paper tubes with scrapbook paper. I have a huge stash so just went through and picked out reds and blues that complemented each other. I used my paper trimmer to cut the paper to the length I needed, and secured to the cardboard with a little hot glue.

Tip: if you're like me and have lots of scrapbook papers, you don't need to use specifically patriotic papers, just pick papers in reds and blues. You'll see I mostly used checks and polka dots because that's what I had.

glue paper to cardboard

 Step 2: Make sparklers

I was going to make a trip to Dollar Tree for their patriotic balloon weights because they're topped with shiny and sparkly little mini explosions that would be perfect for this project. However, I didn't want to make the drive, so I MacGyvered my own sparklers using what I hand in my craft cabinet. To make similar sparklers, you'll need chenille stems, wood skewers and hot glue. I experimented and found that 5 or 6 stems for each firecrackers was a good number.

Please see the steps explained below this graphic.

steps to make sparklers with chenille stems

Making chenille stem sparklers

  1. gather 5-6 chenille stems in various patriotic colors (I had no blue but used red and white - the sparkly ones are perfect!)
  2. cut stems in half
  3. gather the bundle and hold in middle
  4. twist stems around each other to secure together
  5. insert the pointy tip of a wood skewer through the bundle at the point of the twist
  6. bend the chenille stems up around the skewer point
Remember making chenille spiders as a kid? We're essentially doing that here! Simply bend the stems so they resemble a sparkler going off, bending them away from the center. You can secure the stems to the skewer with a little hot glue if needed.

red and white chenille stem sparkler

Step 3 - Building the firecrackers

At this point, you'll want to insert one or more foam craft balls into the middle of the cardboard tubes. You're wanting a snug fit so use a little hot glue if needed. If the foam ball is too big, simply trim the edges with a knife (parents, please help!) until you can squeeze it into the tube.

Paint the skewer and top of foam ball red or blue. I also painted the inside of the cardboard tube that showed. It's easier to do this before inserting the skewer (I learned the hard way!)

Poke the skewer down into the middle of the foam ball(s), using a little hot glue to hold if needed.

paint skewer

foam craft ball in tube, add skewer

Step 4 - Add ribbon

The ribbon is optional, but I find it helps to add a little extra texture and pizzazz to the handmade firecrackers! I cut 2 or 3 various ribbons to the same length and tied them around the skewer, right at the top where it's snug up to the chenille stems.

ribbon tied to skewer

So cute, right? I love crafts like this that are easy, inexpensive and use up supplies! These patriotic firecrackers are perfect for adding some seasonal decor to your table this July 4th. If you're hosting a party, gather the supplies ahead of time and have available for anyone who wants to craft their own firecrackers!

🤩🌟Fun Tip: you could even add a few candies or other treats inside the tubes for the kids! Position them between two foam craft balls, so kids can pull out the sparkler to reveal the treat! 🌟🤩

handmade firecrackers view from above

cardboard tube firecrackers, red white and blue decor

I decorated my coffee bar with a vintage coke crate, blue mason jars and my handcrafted patriotic firecrackers for a cute display. A simple paper pennant garland hung on my chippy window extends the decorations and creates a theme.

faux firecrackers displayed with coke crate

vintage coke crate, greenery, patriotic firecracker decor

paper firecrackers, vintage coke crate, flags

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patriotic paper firecrackers

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