Fourth of July Crackers
What you will make:
Here in the United States, we celebrate our Independence Day on the
Fourth of July with fireworks and noisemakers. This cracker is shaped
like a real firecracker and makes a pop without any fire. Best of all, you
can use it over and over again! It makes a great party favor or fun gift
box for kids. Use it for any celebration, not just the 4th of July.
project is great for family, classroom or group craft time. It requires
no patterns and uses simple materials. After a little preparation by the
adults or teens, this project goes quickly.
Related crafts: To decorate for the Fourth of July,
Stars and Stripes Pennant Banner. Or make a garland of red, white and blue
stars! See the
Patriotic Star Garland
project for complete instructions.
Here's what you need:
- Empty toilet paper tube
- Red paper
- String or yarn
- Masking tape
- White glue, like Elmer's or PVA
- Yarn needle
- Optional: Stickers, foam brush
to spread glue, decorative paper
This project is rated AVERAGE to do.
How to Make Fourth of July Crackers
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Project Preparation
If you are doing this craft with a group of children, pre-cut the
tube coverings and the cardboard for the cracker tops. Each child
will also need a toilet paper tube and a length of string or yarn.
The other supplies and tools can be shared.
- Step 2: Cut Circle
Cut a circle of cardboard to cover one end of the toilet paper
tube. First, carefully trace around one end of the tube onto a piece
of cardboard—cardboard from an empty cereal box works
well. Now cut out the circle, being careful to cut on the
- Step 3: Close End of Tube
Tape the circle in place on one end of the tube. Start by
standing the tube on end, and placing the circle on top of the tube.
Next, wrap a piece of masking tape around the tube with about half
extending above the tube. Snip the tape above the tube in several
places, then fold the tape over to hold the cardboard circle in
place. Smooth the tape to remove any air bubbles or bumps.
- Step 4: Cover Tube
Cover the tube in red paper. Measure the length of the tube and
its circumference (length around). In the US, this is usually 4½"
by 5" to 5½". You can measure around the tube with a
tape measure or just use a string and then measure its length. Mark
a rectangle on the red paper that measures the length of the tube by the
circumference. Cut out the rectangle. Wrap it around the tube to see
that it fits, and then glue it in place. It is important that the paper is
firmly attached to the tube, especially near the open end.
Tip: It's easier to make a complete and thin
layer of glue by spreading it with a foam brush.
- Step 5: Make Top for Tube
Make a tube for the top of the cracker that fits snugly over the
cracker bottom. Cut a rectangle of cardboard that is 1" to 1½" (20
to 30 mm) wide by the circumference of the tube long. Wrap the
cardboard around the tube with the cut ends just meeting. Make sure
it fits tightly but can still be moved up and down. If it is too
loose, trim the cardboard. If it is too tight or the ends don't
meet, cut another piece of cardboard. Keep adjusting until you get
the right fit. A snug fit is important!
Tape the ends of the cardboard together to form a tube and test
the fit one more time. Close the end of the top and cover it with red paper
(see steps 2-4 above). Cut a circle of red paper (or any color you
like) to fit the top of the tube, and glue it over the cardboard
Tip: Another way to make the top is to start
with a cardboard tube that fits over the toilet paper tube. Cut a
ring that is 1" to 1½" (20 to 30 mm) wide. Adjust the size for a
snug fit by snipping a section out of the ring and taping it back
together as above.
- Step 6: Test and Adjust
Test your cracker and make adjustments. Put the cracker together—slide
the top as far as you can onto the bottom. Wrap your hand around the
top and pull off quickly. Did it pop? If it did, great! You can go on
to the next step. If not, try again. If you can't move the top or
find it very difficult, your top is too tight and you need to make a
new one. If the top isn't too tight and it still doesn't pop, you
probably need to make the top fit more snugly. Either put a strip
or two of tape around the inside of the tube, or make another top.
- Step 7: Finish
Add a fuse and fill your cracker with goodies. Use the tip of the yarn needle
to punch a hole in the center of the cracker top. Cut a 6" (15 cm)
length of string or yarn. Thread it through the yarn needle and tie
a knot in the long end. Push the needle through the hole you made.
Push it from the inside of the top, then pull the string tight. Tape
the knotted end of the string inside the top.
That's it! Now fill your cracker with goodies, confetti, or
anything else you like.
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