The Crafty Mom: Patriotic Party Poppers
By Mary Lyon

These are great little place markers, table decorations or party favors for a Fourth of July party - or any other gathering to which you'd like to add a ruffle or flourish! You can easily expand this craft to any other occasion on the calendar, simply by changing the color scheme. Red, white and blue enhance a patriotic theme, but red with green will make it Christmassy, pastels will work for spring, Easter, and baby showers, and orange and black will get you into a Halloween spirit. You can use school colors for special school or graduation occasions. And don't forget, you can also customize the treats or prizes tucked inside. This easy, affordable project pieces together in minutes, with stellar results for all ages.

What You Need:

  • 3 sheets of tissue paper - in red, white and blue
  • 1 package of multicolor metallic pipe cleaners
  • 3 "chenille stem" pipe cleaners in red, white and blue
  • 1 empty toilet paper tube
  • 1 bag of hard candy
What You Do:

1. Start with the metallic pipe cleaners. Choose two each of the colors you want. Bend one of each color into a star:

  • Make a fold 2 inches from one end.
  • Then fold back, 1 inch from the first fold.
  • Repeat this folding, seven more times.
You'll have a pipe-cleaner that's accordion-pleated with five "peaks" and a little extra length of pipe cleaner on either end. Gently pull to open up the peaks and pull the long ends together. Twist them securely, 1 inch down from the "peaks" around them. Continue opening each peak until you have a star with a little stem on it (where you twisted the two odd ends together).

2. Whatever color pipe cleaner you used to fold into a star shape, get the mate to it. Twist the stem of the star to one end so the star is now on a "wand." Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for as many stars as you want to create. Then set them aside.

3. Arrange the tissue paper sheets in a stack. They don't have to be lined up perfectly. You're going to want to gather them and leave poofed-out ends, so position the individual sheets so that all three colors will show.

4. Stand the toilet paper tube in the middle of the three sheets of tissue paper. Fill it with the candies of your choice. Poke the star-topped pipe cleaner "wands" you made in Steps One and Two into the candy-filled tube, so they stick far out from the top.

5. Get the red, white and blue "chenille stem" pipe cleaners. Gather the tissue paper sheets together, up around the filled toilet paper tube. Tie it all securely in place with the red, white and blue "chenille stems," as though they were twist-ties. Bend each end into a spiral to bury any pointy, wiry ends. And voila! You have a festive popper for your summer party table!

The Crafty Mom, Mary Lyon, is the author and illustrator of The Frazzled Working Woman's Practical Guide to Motherhood and former host of DIY Crafts TV show.


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