Sunday 4 December 2011

Guest Post: DIY Christmas Cracker Tutorial

There's a bit of a festive theme developing this week! Today I'm sharing a crafty guest post: a tutorial from Rebecca on making your own Christmas crackers!


Rebecca says.... "I'm a 32-yr-old American living in the UK with my British husband. I moved two years ago and absolutely love it here. I love crafting, but I've discovered keeping a whole house running takes a lot of my time, so I wind up pouring my creativity into cooking and baking instead. I keep a blog where I talk about whatever strikes my fancy - travelling, cooking,baking, shopping, day-to-day activities, etc. I help to run an Etsy shop for a friend of mine (Phoenix Funds) , and I can be found on twitter at @annaonthemoon."

When Tim and I were in Austria, we bought several bags of Mozart Kugel that we wanted to share with our family. I hung onto them until Christmas, and I was planning on using leftover gauze bags from our wedding to put a few pieces in and tie them onto packages as decorations. I was browsing Craftster one day when I stumbled on this post about making your own crackers, and I thought that would be a really fun way of distributing the candy.

Authentic crackers go bang! when you pull on them, and some airlines even consider them explosive. I wanted mine to snap, and I wanted to include the traditional paper hat and silly joke (or “motto” as it gets called). So I hunted online. If you are in the US, you can get your supplies from a site called Old English Cracker. If you’re in the UK, you can do what I did and order your pieces off Amazon or go directly to the seller on Amazon, Fred Aldous. I spent about £7 for 24 snappers, 12 hats, and 48 “mottos” including shipping. Next year, I’ll only need to order snappers and hats!

After you order your inside bits, and know what kind of “prize” you want (If I was in the US, I might look at Oriental Trading Co. for some inexpensive prizes), you need to start collecting your tubes. For each cracker, you will need either 1 empty kitchen roll (US: paper towel) tube or 2 empty toilet paper tubes. Depending on the size of your household and how quickly you use those products, you might have to start collecting early! You will use one tube as the middle, and cut the other tube in half to be the sides. If you are using a kitchen roll tube, cut it in half, and then cut one side in half again. If you are using a combination of TP tubes and kitchen roll tubes, check to make sure they are the same width. If not, make sure you use all 3 pieces of kitchen roll tube on the same cracker.

Other supplies include: curling ribbon, tape, and wrapping paper.

You’ll need a piece of wrapping paper that easily wraps around the three tubes plus leave some extra on either end. Our pieces were just big enough, so when I make them next year, I’m going to add a little extra to the sides.

Lay your wrapping paper print side down, with the large tube in the middle and a small tube on either side. Take your snapper and put it inside the tubes, making sure it’s not sticking out on either end, and secure it with tape to the inside of each small tube. The one pictured has the snapper taped down flat, but I also taped some in diagonally, and those seemed to snap better. At this point, put the hat and motto in the middle section (it’s a lot easier at this stage).

Next, roll the wrapping paper around the tube, securing with tape on the middle piece. You shouldn’t need tape on the side pieces, and I think it works a lot easier to leave those tape free for now.

This next step might take some practise. Cut a length of the curling ribbon and pinch together the wrapping paper between one small roll and the middle roll, being careful not to tear the paper. Wrap the ribbon around the pinched area and tie it as tight as you can (again, without ripping. Told you, it might take some practise)

Now pick up the cracker, with the pinched side down and insert your candy/prize through the other end. If it falls out the other side, you didn’t tie the ribbon tight enough. Repeat pinching and tying on the other side of your cracker.

The very last step is tucking the stray wrapping paper around the ends (if there is any) and curling the ribbon ties. At this point, you might also want to straighten the wrapping paper around the sides and tape it down.

The whole family loved them, and my SIL told me they looked like professional store-bought crackers! Can’t wait to make them again this year!

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Unknown said...

My Dad once gave me a National Lottery cracker for Christmas. It said 'Win up to £50'. And to my amazement, inside was a crisp £50 note. My brothers both won the jackpot in their crackers too. Then we realised.... they weren't really National Lottery crackers at all. They were homemade by my Dad! He had used National Lottery logos on them (downloaded images from the internet), fake barcodes and everything. It was brilliant!

C said...

This is a fantastic tutorial. I'll be making these for next Christmas for sure.

Rebecca said...

OKIFOLKI - haha that's funny!

Xenia - They're fun, and everyone loved them. I'll be making this year's soon. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I've been saving the TP tubes for ages now.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Okifolki - haha, that's such a fun story! :)