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In the spirit of the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, we wanted to pass along the genius idea of sparkless paper sparklers! Because a bunch of five-year-olds waving hot, sharp metal skewers doesn’t feel *quite* as captivating.
And here’s another plus – these beauties can last for fun indefinitely! In fact, we might need to make a couple for just general conversations over here at b&b HQ. Because everything is more fabulous when you are waving a handful of dazzling shimmery paper fringe around, right?
You don’t have to save these speckled DIY sparklers for summer either. Use them as a kids’ birthday paper craft activity and take-home favor, or pair them with a paper chain New Year’s Eve countdown for festive, fluttery flair!
Our handmade paper sparklers are one of those projects that welcome variations – strip them down to the simplest, fastest process, or add lots of your own lovely details – we’ve got lots of ideas for you in the instructions. They’re also a great way for kids to recycle and reuse their spray bottle spray paint fireworks art pieces!
To make your own kid-friendly sparkless DIY paper sparklers you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Assorted colors of cardstock
- Craft dowels, wooden chopsticks, or twigs
- Gold acrylic paint
- A foam brush or small spray bottle
- Glitter cardstock (like this)
- Acrylic paint in assorted colors
- A hot glue gun or craft glue
- Raffia or dried grasses
- Ribbon or yarn
Kid-Friendly DIY Paper Sparklers Kids Craft Instructions:
- Cut paper and gather sparkler “wands”
Gather your supplies. I cut standard letter-sized cardstock in half (roughly) so I had rectangles that measured 5 or 6 inches in length and 8.5 inches in width. I also picked out two colors of cardstock for each sparkler – it’s not necessary, but I think it adds some depth and interest.
I quickly painted these craft dowels with black acrylic paint (it soaks in fast and dries in roughly five minutes) but you can skip the paint, and use anything you prefer or have on hand. Chopsticks, straws, or even sticks would work!
- Add gold paint “sparks”
I added some simple sparkle to our paper by using a spray bottle filled with roughly 1 tablespoon of gold acrylic paint and a quarter cup of water (as we did for our fireworks process art). I stacked our paper pieces on a cookie sheet and then hit them with the spray bottle so we’d have strips of gold sparkle across the tops of each piece of paper.
For younger kids who might have trouble putting these sparklers together on their own, this step is a fun way to get them involved in the process of creation.
You can also skip the spray bottle painting and just use a foam brush or paintbrush to brush a thick strip of gold paint across the top two or three inches of each paper. OR simplify the process even more and totally skip the paint by using shimmery glitter cardstock.
Note: Once dry, I flipped our papers over and spray-painted the opposite sides. It’s not necessary, but it adds more gold sparkle, which is the real highlight of these.
- Create crinkled paper (optional)
Repeatedly fold and ball up your paper pieces to create a crinkled paper effect. This step isn’t necessary, but I think it helps the paper “sparks” catch the light from lots of different angles. Also, kids LOVE making sparkly paper snowballs – ha!
Once adequately crinkled, smooth out so each piece is semi-flat again.
- Cut strips into your paper pieces to create fringe
Cut your paper pieces in half, then create fringe by cutting thin strips into the paper – being sure to stop 1 to 1.5 inches before you reach the bottom.
- Affix the paper fringe to the dowel rod with tape
Use a sticky clear or electrical tape to affix your first piece of fringe onto the end of your dowel rod. Wrap the fringe around the rod tightly until you reach the end. Secure with another small strip of tape.
- Add layers of sparkly paper fringe
Continue wrapping the rest of your paper layers on top of your first – tightly securing it with sticky tape.
- Finish and wrap with tape
Add all four paper spark fringe layers and secure with a final 1 to 2-inch strip of clear tape or wrap with a long piece of electrical tape.
If you think your paper sparklers are going to get a lot of use, you may want to circle the bottom of your paper strips (where they meet the dowel rod) with a hot glue gun.
And now you’re officially ready to celebrate a Yankee Doodle Dandy day. Fire up our “this land is our land” playlist over on Spotify and prepare to sparkler-flutter your heart out!
Hosting a summer celebration and using these for a kids’ party or kids’ table for a BBQ? Print out a set of our summer doodle books and grab some kids’ game ideas from our HUGE collection of summer backyard play activities. Add a station where kids can make their own mini hamburger cookie treats (wait until you see these…!) and invite guests to art the sidewalks with DIY sidewalk chalk paint.