If Christmas crackers conjure up an image of boring shop bought crackers with cringe-making jokes, terrible paper hats and awful gifts then perhaps you ought to think about making your own. It is very easy to make your own Christmas crackers and this is a great way to make personalized crackers for each family member or guest and create crackers that complement your other festive decorations. If you buy some cracker snaps your crackers will have the same distinctive bang as shop-bought crackers. No special equipment or supplies are required to make Christmas crackers at home, all that is needed is the following:
Traditionally, Christmas crackers were made with cheap crepe paper, although any type of paper can be used and this gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to thinking about designs. I use a thin craft paper as this tears easily when the cracker is pulled and creates the desired effect. Additional decoration can be added to the cracker. A sleeve to wrap around the center of the cracker is an effective way to add a touch of glamor to the finished item. Other decorations can include any embellishments from rubber stamping projects, glitter or glitter glue, ribbon, beads and anything else that takes your fancy!
At the heart of every Christmas cracker is an inner tube. Any form of card roll is suitable for this, however the inside of a toilet roll is perfect! Other options include the inside tube from kitchen rolls or making your own from thin cardstock.
Cracker snaps are what makes the cracker go 'bang'. It is not necessary to use cracker snaps, however they give the most authentic finish to your cracker. Cracker snaps can be purchased from craft stores as well as online from websites such as eBay.
Other supplies required are string, ribbon or thread which is tied around the ends of the cracker and a good all purpose glue or double sided adhesive tape.
Jokes, Gifts and Paper Hats
Making your own paper crackers is the perfect way to avoid the traditionally groan-worthy contents of shop-bought crackers. Write your own or if you fancy something a little different, look online for an illustrated family friendly joke While for many people Christmas dinner just wouldn't be the same without an ill-fitting hat and terrible jokes, this could be the opportunity that you have been seeking to share more personal gifts and tokens. Any small gift can be placed in a cracker. There are a couple of things to bear in mind:
- The gifts must be small enough to fit inside the inner tube
- If the gift is breakable or precious, consider attaching it to the inside of the tube with tape to minimize the risk of the gift getting lost or broken if it falls on the floor
- If you are making paper hats to go in the cracker, remember that they will need to fold up into a small space therefore they cannot be too ornate or made from heavy paper.
To make crackers see the the following pages for step by step instructions and the last page for ideas for jokes, mottoes and gifts.
The history of crackers - Tom Smith and the History of Crackers