Fake Firecrackers from Cardboard Tubes

Fake Firecrackers from Cardboard Tubes

I’ll be perfectly honest- in the months leading up to summer, I struggled to come up with a single patriotic project idea. I bemoaned this to everyone- my husband, my friends, and my mom. But it all changed on a dime when I went to a new favorite thrift store and found this star basket for a dollar. I knew right away that I could jazz it up into Independence Day decorations with some fake firecrackers!

Star basket for upcycling into Independence Day decorations

Now, mind you- I’ve already created a patriotic centerpiece project on my blog before. Remember this repurposed colander?

Star embroidery on a vintage colander as a patriotic centerpiece

But I couldn’t help but think I could go in a slightly different direction with this basket. Besides, it was literally just sitting there, as if someone else had pulled it out, mulled it over, and set it back.

As if it was on display for the repurposing blogger (ME!) that hadn’t yet made it down that aisle.

I had the vision in my head and now I had the perfect basket to repurpose it into fruition!

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

Patriotic Decor and Independence Day Decorations

First, I prepped the white wicker basket for painting (i.e., wiping down and blowing out any dust with compressed air).

While the white paint would have worked for July 4th, of course, I wanted the basket to have a bolder look that would pop and get noticed. Initially, I planned on just using some blue craft paint to bring it to life.

Painting a star basket for July 4 party decorations

But I HATED the result. The color was on target, but that was the only good thing about it.

And no, I’m not sharing a two-bit photo of my two-bit paint job, haha!

Let’s just say that I stomped my feet and set up shop to spray paint it- which was a HUGE improvement.

Red white and blue decorations for Independence Day

Next, I could focus on the fun part: Creating some fake fireworks (inspired by Country Living’s website) with cardboard rolls or paper towel tubes!

So, I gathered my craft rolls and some other supplies, including tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and scrapbook paper!

Cardboard tube crafts to make the fake firecrackers

Fake Fireworks with Cardboard Tubes

There are lots of ways to make these fake firecrackers, but this is what I ended up using:

With my craft supplies spread out in front of me, I cut a long, narrow rectangle of tissue paper, wrapped it around one end of a cardboard tube (with about 1¼” of overhang) and taped it in place.

Then, I plopped a pipe cleaner inside the tube and tightly wound the tissue paper overhang around the pipe cleaner (like a piece of hard candy is wrapped). This created my firecracker “wick”.

Crafting with cardboard rolls for Independence Day decorations

Next, I measured enough craft paper to cover most of my paper towel tubes and taped it in place, allowing a bit of tissue paper to show at the top near the wick.

Old postcards for the 4th of July

All that was left was adding the old postcards that I printed out from The Graphics Fairy!

Again, I used clear tape, but Mod Podge or a glue stick should work as well. I just didn’t want to deal with the mess!

Cardboard tubes as fake firecrackers for Independence Day decorations

How cute are those? I think these might be my favorite kind of firecracker: DIY, vintage, and silent so they won’t terrorize our kitties!

Fake firecrackers for July 4 decor from cardboard rolls

Fake Firecrackers from Cardboard Tubes for Independence Day Decorations

Now I could assemble the Independence Day decorations! First, I put a few handfuls of river stones in the bottom of the wicker basket.

This gave it some weight to prevent getting knocked down or blown over.

Then, I layered in some packing peanuts to stabilize the fake firecrackers, and I filled in the star basket with some festive party decor.

Independence Day decorations in a star basket with fake firecrackers

Perfect and fun-to-make Independence Day decorations for a 4th of July party or barbecue!

Independence day decorations with fake firecrackers from cardboard tubes

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for Independence Day decorations, then you may also be interested in my American flag decor, as well!

american flag decor with a buffalo plaid stencil

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Truly inspired! What a great makeover!

  2. CUTE! I have the same star basket! (I see a can of spray paint in the very near future! 😉 )

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Yessss!!! Someone else said they had a red one- I wondered if there was originally a red/white/blue set!

  3. Monique Bertrand says

    That is too cute! ??

  4. Cute! It even looks like it’s shooting off sparks!

  5. You are brilliant! You are the McGyver of decor!

  6. How you can see an item and visualize such a great decoration astounds me!! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  7. That is soo cute! How lucky to find that star-shaped basket! Love the idea of making the vintage firecrackers too.

  8. So really cute. I love how to did all of this. It has such a vintage/retro feel to this. I am sure it makes a great table centerpiece.

  9. That is the cutest! I just love the vintage clip art firecrackers and the basket worked out perfect! You are very talented!

  10. way cooler. and btw, I LOVE affiliate links. Make life much easier and craftier.

  11. What a great makeover & cute firecracker ideas. It would make a cute gift basket!

  12. I love this, Sarah! The star basket is great and the fireworks look terrific. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

  13. That basket was an awesome find. I love how it turned out…so cool and festive.
    Thanks for sharing at Waste Not Wednesday.

  14. This is the transformation!!! So beautiful, so inspired!!! Bravo 🙂


  15. I had a star basket like yours and gave it to Goodwill a couple of years ago. LOL now I wish it was still in my stash. Your Firecracker centerpiece is the perfect blend of vintage and sparkle.

  16. What a great centerpiece. As someone said, the mix of sparkle and retro is great together! I need to remember the Graphics Fairy when I need pix of something–I love retro and Victorian looking stuff..

  17. Love, love, love your Patriotic creation! Actually, I love all your creations! As a fellow Upstater, I’d love to know about your “new favorite thrift store”. Would you share? You are so talented!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Hi, Delanie! That was actually an older post from several years ago- right when the Brown Roof Thrift opened on Woodruff Rd (and has since closed). BUT, I highly recommend you check out Second Chances Thrift at 2425 New Easley Highway (on 123, just past downtown Greenville as you head towards Easley). It’s my current favorite thrift in Greenville- that and Red Ribbon Resale on Pendleton!

  18. You are so talented !! I love to see what you will create next !!

  19. Absolutely loved this idea. The firecrackers were so much fun to make. I re-purposed the basket from one I had from Christmas that was filled with pine and bulbs. Tore everything out and te-did it for 4th of July. I kept the star metallic gold and it turned out great. Thanks for the idea.


  1. […] DIY Vintage / Repurposed Firecracker Patriotic Decor – Sadies Seasongoods […]

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