Make trick crackers that go off like a gunshot and burst into a blinding, sparkling ball of flame.

Project Steps

Make the igniter.

Arrange a few poppers as shown.

Tie the popper strings together.

Weave a tuft of flash cotton between and around the poppers. If you have sparkle powder, coat the igniter with nail polish and roll it around in the powder.

Tie the flash cotton around the poppers with a small bit of thread or flash cord.

Tie two strong 18″ strings securely to the string bundles on each end.

Build the tube.

Find an appropriately sized cylinder (I use an AA battery) and wrap flash paper around it, gluing the tube closed with nail polish. After the polish is dry, remove the cylinder.

Insert the igniter assembly so that one string handle comes out each end of the tube. Insert the toy in the tube. Optionally, stuff in some non-flammable confetti — but not so much that it will interfere with the ignition of the tube. For a better grip, you can tie a small ring to each handle.

Twist the ends.

Twist the ends of the tube closed. Make sure the handle strings are not mechanically attached to the tube. You don’t want the tube to pull apart like a normal cracker; it should remain intact and be ignited along with everything else.

Stand away from anything flammable and keep the cracker away from people and pets. With one person holding each string, stand apart, and on a count of three, yank the strings sharply to pop it. Don’t be timid: if one person gives, it might just pull the handle strings off.


This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 04, page 179.