Introduction: Mega Pop Pop
Those miniature firecrackers sold under the accurate brand name "Pop Pop" can add much-needed excitement to an otherwise relaxing afternoon on the stoop or porch. One can often reach a meditative state by throwing them one after another onto any hard, dry surface and watching for the flash of their small explosion. But have you ever wished they were a little bit bigger and louder? There is a simple fix for their diminutive size: the Mega Pop Pop.
Step 1: Materials
You will need one (1) box of Pop Pops, often sold in delis, party stores and Chinese groceries. It is also helpful to have some thin, crinkly paper on hand. Cigarette paper is about the right size, shape and thickness. A tweezers is helpful for picking up small bits of gravel and/or gunpowder that might go astray during the assembly of your Pop Pop. The author also used a revolutionary how-to book to lend some gravitas to the proceedings, but this is optional.
Step 2: Remove Pop Pops From Box
Take the Pop Pops out of the box. Remember to put them on a nice dry surface.
Step 3: Prepare the Work Surface
Place book or magazine of your choice on table to slightly elevate your work surface and contain any errant particles. Place cigarette paper on work surface. To make the largest Pop Pop possible, I eventually opted to use two pieces of larger cigarette paper glued together by their adhesive strips. If using single-width cigarette paper, you may choose to use as many as four (or more) sheets to achieve the desired size of Pop Pop. Bear in mind that in order to allow for twisting and securing of the paper around the tiny explosives without tearing, you will need a lot of excess paper.
Step 4: Liberate the Tiny Explosives
Gently break open each Pop Pop without spilling any of the stuff inside. There are two things inside a Pop Pop: (1) little tiny rocks, which when thrown on the ground act as a flint to provide a spark to the (2) very small amount of gunpowder that when ignited provides the adorable explosion and loud noise. The key in this step is not to lose any of grains of gunpowder, which are the size of sand, and to ensure that all of these tiny grains are in fact removed from the original Pop Pop and shaken into the new Pop Pop.
Step 5: Combine Many Little Pop Pops
Shake the insides of many Pop Pops into the center of the paper. As you can see, a second sheet was added to the first to accommodate more stuff. It can be helpful to wear a headlamp to illuminate your workspace if you have one handy.
Step 6: Gather Lost Bits
If any gravel or more likely, gunpowder has gotten away from you, use a tweezers to gather it up and place it in the nascent Mega Pop Pop. The gunpowder grains are too small to brush effectively with your palms and will likely stick to your skin.
Step 7: Assess Size
The pictured amount of stuff turned out to be just the right amount to twist into a successful Mega Pop Pop. This picture shows about how big of a pile of tiny explosives you should make in the middle of your paper. This Mega Pop Pop used the contents of approximately ten original Pop Pops.
Step 8: Twist
Keeping the pile in the center, lift the paper by the edges, fold it around the material inside, and begin to twist gently but firmly in one direction, taking care not to tear the paper as you do so. Twist until the material is tightly contained and the twisted end is secure.
Step 9: Throw! (Or Throm)
Your Pop Pop is now ready to throw, though due to an English language error on the box you are actually instructed to "throm" your Pop Pop. It is very hard to photograph the detonation of a Pop Pop so the image here is only included as a way to imagine what it must look like from very close up, perhaps to an unlucky ant.
Step 10: Cleanup
Use appropriate sweeping tools to collect gravel bits from explosion zone or you will find them unpleasantly digging into your bare feet.
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