This Chinese New Year firecracker craft is a fun activity to do with your kids to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Learn about the story of Nian and why firecrackers are a crucial part of the celebration.
Growing up in Taiwan, we were told the story of a monster called Nian (the word for “year” in Chinese). On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Nian would come out and eat people and destroy the village. People would lock the doors and stay inside to avoid getting eaten.
Then the villagers discovered that burning bamboo would make an explosive sound that scared Nian away. Therefore, it’s customary to make a lot of loud noises during New Year’s Eve to frighten the scary monster. And today, instead of burning bamboo, we set off loud firecrackers.
As a kid, I was both fascinated and scared by the story of Nian. But now you can see why firecrackers are an essential part of celebrating Chinese New Year.
Using toilet paper rolls, and a few dollar store items, you can make this Chinese New Year firecracker craft with your kid. We used 6 toilet paper rolls for our firecracker, but feel free to add more if you have more toilet paper rolls around the house!
If you don’t know Chinese characters, I included a free template for you. The two characters at the top are 福 (Fú), which means good luck. The two characters are the bottom are 春 (Chun), which means spring. The two sets of characters come in different fonts, one is a cuter font while the other one resembles Chinese calligraphy. Typically you see the character 福 on top of the Chinese New Year firecrackers, but I will leave it up to you!
Chinese New Year Toilet Paper Roll Firecracker Craft
- 6 toilet paper rolls
- Red-colored wrapping paper
- Construction paper
- Scotch tape
- Gold ¼” ribbon
- Glue Gun (optional)
- Glue stick
- Gold pen
- Free Chinese character PDF template
- 1 ½” wide red ribbon (not pictured)
Preparing the Body of the Firecracker:
Step 1: Measure and cut your wrapping paper for the 6 toilet paper rolls. The wrapping paper should be slightly longer than the toilet paper roll on each side.
Step 2: Wrap and tape the paper in place on each roll.
Step 3: Using your scissors, make approximately 8 cuts in the paper around each end of the roll. Repeat for all 6 rolls. Using your glue stick, roll some glue onto the inside of the toilet paper roll, just under the rim. Repeat all the way around.
Steps 4: Fold down the paper where you made the 8 cuts. Press each section into the inside wall of the toilet paper roll and hold until the glue is dry or until the piece stays in place. Apply more glue if necessary.
Step 5: Repeat Step 4 with the remaining toilet paper rolls.
Decorating the Body of the Firecracker:
Step 6: Measure around the circumference of the toilet paper roll. Cut 12 pieces of the gold ribbon ¼” longer than the circumference.
Steps 7: Apply your glue stick to one side of the ribbon. Attach the ribbon to the end of the toilet paper roll, about 1/8” -1/4” from the end.
Step 8: Repeat on the other side. Repeat this on the remaining toilet paper rolls.
Step 9: Cut a length of your 1 1/2” red ribbon that is long enough to display your firecrackers in an arrangement of your choosing as well as enough room at the top for your Chinese character banner. You also want to allow some length at the end to form a loop so that you can hang the Chinese firecrackers on the wall or door.
Make the loop at one end of the ribbon and glue it in place. Place the ribbon on a table or other hard surface and arrange the toilet paper roll firecrackers. We like to alternate the firecrackers left and right. Using the glue gun, attach them to the ribbon. Make sure you leave room at the top for the banner!
The Chinese Character Banner
Step 10: Cut a piece of construction paper the size and shape you want for your banner. Typically, you see either an octagon or a hexagon banner on top of firecrackers. You can also stick with a diamond shape banner.
Cut a piece of your wrapping paper big enough to cover the paper and or glue the wrapping paper to the construction paper. Cut out the Chinese character you want to use from the free template and center it onto your banner. You can skip this step if you know how to write Chinese characters or want to write it freehand.
Using the pencil, press down and trace the character on the wrapping paper, leaving a noticeable indent. Now using your gold pen, trace over the line.
Using your glue gun, attach the banner to the ribbon, above the firecrackers.
Now you are ready to display your Toilet Paper Roll Chinese New Year Firecrackers!
To download the Chineses characters for the banner, simply fill out the form below:
Final Thoughts on the Chinese New Year Firecracker Craft
I encourage you to to watch the story of Nian with your child before making this Chinese firecracker craft. This way, your child knows why firecrackers are so important to set off on Chinese New Year’s Eve!
Here is a video that depicts the story:
I hope you enjoyed this Chinese New Year firecracker craft with your kids! If you are looking for more Chinese New Year crafts, head over to this post to check out the fire breathing dragon craft. Your kids will love blowing into the toilet paper roll and seeing the “flames” fly!