I know Christmas crackers aren’t traditional in the USA but they are here in Ireland and in the U.K., Australia and Canada. They’re a lot of fun and you really are missing out!! So, why not start a new tradition in your home and make a few as they are fairly easy to make.
Traditionally we have them as part of our dinner table setting on Christmas day, so I decided to personalize mine with family member names. This way they can double up as place card settings!
Inside the cracker, there’s always a little gift, a tissue paper hat or crown, a joke written on a piece of paper and a cracker bang. (Just in case you haven’t heard of Christmas crackers- a cracker consists of a cardboard tube decorated in paper. The cracker is pulled by two people, the cracker splits unevenly and there’s a little bang from the cracker snap. Traditionally the person who pulls the larger portion gets to keep the surprise inside!)
For my crackers I decided to give them a vintage feel, so I used papers from Noel – A Vintage Christmas Paper Pack by Mari Koegelenberg (MKC) and Vintage Christmas Tags by Roben- Marie Designs (RMD). Make sure the paper you print on isn’t too thick or it’ll be tricky to tie the cracker. Choose the borderless option when printing. You need some toilet roll inserts (or kitchen roll if you prefer), cracker snaps/bangs (I got mine on ebay), some string and ribbon. (Optional)-Lace, mini tags, little bells. Your usual kit, glue, scissors, ruler, double sided tape etc.
You can make a cracker from a single A4 sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″). On the unprinted side, place your insert in the centre of the long side as shown, mark either side and measure 1 inch from that point on both sides. Draw two lines with a pencil and ruler as shown.
Score these lines (gently) and fold in the directions shown.
There’s a couple of different ways to do this part but I find this is the quickest method. Fold the section shown back and using a scissors cut half way in (about half an inch). Cut all the way along the folded edge creating a fringing effect. You don’t have to measure the spacing. The reason for doing this is to make it easier to tie and to weaken the point, so when you’re pulling the cracker it’ll break at one of the ends.
You need to do both sides – it should look something like this when you’re finished.
Add a small piece of double sided tape to the centre of the insert to secure to the paper. Add the cracker snap and secure with a little tape.
Add some double sided tape along the other end of the paper as shown. Before you start to roll the cracker, add two more inserts at either end of the centre (don’t stick these down). These will be removed later, they are just to keep the shape of the cracker.
Remove the backing on the double sided tape and start to roll the cracker, keeping it tight and neat all the way to the end.
Pull the inserts at the ends half way out before you tie them.
Using some string, carefully tie one end directly over the cuts in your paper. This part can be a little tricky depending on the thickness of your paper.
Push together to get a nice shape and finish.
Before you tie the other end, make sure you pop in your little gift/sweets, hat and joke (if you want, you could just have the gift).
I added a piece of contrasting paper from the Noel – A Vintage Christmas Paper Pack by MKC around the centre of the cracker. At the ends I attached some ribbon with double sided tape.
To add a little extra to the vintage feel I attached some gathered lace with double sided tape. It’s important to leave the two inserts at the end in at this point to keep the shape of the cracker. Once you’ve finished decorating the ends you can take out the inserts.
Add some ribbon to the tied ends (this is important if your ends turned out a little less than perfect!). I added a vintage tag from Vintage Christmas Tags by RMD on top of my cracker. I also added a little tag and personalized with a name.
To finish mine off I added a green seam binding bow and some bells but these are optional! These crackers are pretty fancy but you can make them as simple or as decorative as you like. I like to match the color of my crackers to the colors we use to decorate our Christmas dining table. It really adds something special.
Other Articles by cbuswell:
- Trinket box with vellum flower - February 18th, 2011
- Love coupons - January 24th, 2011
- Keepsake box - December 8th, 2010
- Vintage Halloween Banner - October 20th, 2010
- Fabric flower gift box - September 22nd, 2010