How to Make Your Own Christmas Crackers
Crackers are an integral part of Christmas but in commercial outlets they are getting more and more expensive and the gifts you get are quite tacky. Unless you are prepared to pay a lot of money to buy "luxury crackers" you are likely to get things like plastic tops, pencil sharpeners, plastic rings and other things you could easily buy in a Pound Shop.
It is very easy to make your own crackers and they can be individually created for a special friend putting in a small gift you know they would like. Suggestions include a silver or gold chain, a small brooch, a pair of earrings, a small pen, even an engagement ring.
What You Will Need
Cardboard tubes approximately 5 inches long, old toilet rolls will do.
Cracker snaps (available to buy on Ebay or at craft shops)
Coloured tissue paper to make the hats.
Creating the Cracker
Cut three cardboard tubes, one 4" ling and 2 x 2" long. Put the long tube in the middle and the other two either side leaving a small gap between the tubes.
Lay out enough paper to go round all three tubes and cut to fit. Glue the paper round the long tube so it is smooth and fix the left-hand tube in the overhanging paper with sticky tape. Put the cracker snap inside the tube and pinch the gap between the two tubes and tie with ribbon, the cracker is now ready to fill. Place the hat, handwritten or typed motto and gift inside the tube and fix the right hand tube into the overhanging paper with sticky tape. Pinch the gap and tie with ribbon.
If you are designing individual crackers with specific gifts don't forget to put names on the crackers so the wrong person does not get the wrong cracker. This can be done with gold letters you can purchase quite cheaply at craft shops.
How to Make the Hat
Cut a long strip of coloured tissue paper approximately 2-3" wide. Make sure the circle you form will fit most people's heads, adults need longer strips than children.
Stick the ends together with glue, sticky tape looks messy and could stick to people's hair.
Fold it in half two or three times until it is about 2" wide and glue down. Cut the top into points to make a crown and stick the individual sheets together.
If you do not wish to put hats in the crackers you can create more substantial party hats with sheets of cardboard, streamers and elastic and put them on the table alongside the crackers.
You can have a lot of fun designing and making individual crackers and your guests will appreciate them much more than commercial crackers because of the time and thought which has gone into them.