Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas crackers

One of my Christmas traditions since I was very small is to make Christmas crackers for my family every year. If you've never made your own crackers, why not give it a go this year? It's really very easy (definitely achievable on Christmas Eve!) and the result is so much nicer than any of the crackers you can buy. Here's a quick and easy DIY!

You will need:
  • toilet rolls (one for each person, plus two extra)
  • cracker snaps (to give you that satisfying sound! You can find these at craft shops and most newsagents these days)
  • sweet treats to go inside
  • jokes to go inside
  • small gifts or novelties to go inside
  • one sheet of paper per cracker, measuring 30cm x 15cm (you can use any paper you like, even old Christmas wrapping, as long as it's strong enough not to tear when you tie the ends but not too strong so it won't rip when you pull the crackers - I used ordinary kraft paper this year)
  • string or ribbon
  • anything else you like to decorate your crackers!

1. Prepare all the special little things to go inside your crackers!
  • for my sweet treats this year, I used this idea and rewrapped mini mentos in cute stripey paper
  • for my small gifts, I made mini personalised magnets by using a pastry cutter to cut circles out of this fantastic air dried clay (available at art supply shops and some newsagents), then using alphabet stamps and other cute stamps to personalise them. When they were dry I glued a plain magnet to the back (from office supply shops).
  • I went for classic corny Christmas jokes this year, but other years I've included quotes, fortunes or fun facts instead (last year they were all New York themed facts!)

2. Put all your bits inside a toilet roll, making sure not to forget the snap! It can be fun to also sprinkle a bit of glitter or confetti inside your crackers to make it extra fun when they burst long as you don't mind cleaning up afterwards! If you've personalised your crackers, write the name of the person on the outside of the toilet roll so you don't lose track of them.

3. Place the two extra toilet rolls at each end of the main one (over the ends of the snap), leaving a gap of about half a centimetre. Wrap your paper around the toilet rolls and secure with sticky tape in the middle.

4. With your fingers, find the little gaps between the toilet rolls and scrunch them in a bit (this makes it easier to tie without ripping the paper). Take your string or ribbon and tie it around the scrunched area, making sure all the goodies are still inside the main toilet roll (they have a tendency to slip out if you're not careful!). Having an extra toilet roll in each of the end sections helps to give them a nice shape. Tape down one end of the snap to the paper so that it doesn't slip out. After wrapping up each one, write the name (or just a letter) in pencil inside one of the ends so you can keep track of which is which. You can rub this out later.

5. Decorate your crackers! Keeping with my sparkly theme this year, I used shards of paper covered with red glitter and I stamped the names using cute mini alphabet stamps from Remedy. I used red and white twisted twine (from Mr Sparrow) to tie the ends.

6. Give them to family and friends and watch their faces light up!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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