Making your own Christmas crackers is very easy and you can make them as personal as you like.
Crackers date back to the 1840s. They were supposed to have been invented by a sweet manufacturer, Tom Smith, who came up with the idea as a way of promoting his bon-bon sweets, that were having a bit of a slump at the time.
My crackers have been designed with a coastal Christmas theme in mind, but you could create crackers for different events, such as a wedding, christening or birthday. For these designs I took photos of fabrics and sweet wrappers and enlarged them to create the scale I wanted. You could do this too, or even draw your own design on paper. There are lots of copyright free images to be found on the internet. You will need the design to fit onto an A4 piece of paper. I bought the cracker snaps on line, but everything else should be very easy to find. You can make paper hats from tissue paper and of course write your own jokes. The jokes can be created for different members of your family or particular friends. I put some tiny old-fashioned Christmas decorations in my crackers. You could do the same or add plastic-free toys and sweets.
You will need
- Piece of A4 Card for each cracker
- Piece of A4 paper printed with a design
- Cutting mat
- Paper scissors
- Clear tape
- Doublesided tape
- Cracker snaps
- Sweets, paper hats and tiny toys, shells, etc. (try choosing plastic-free items)
Cut a strip off the card so that it measures 16cm x 29.7cm. Lay the card horizontally, starting from the right hand side measure in from the edge 6cm both top and bottom of the card. Draw a line between the pencil dots. Repeat at 8cm and 10 cm in from the edge. Repeat on the left hand side of the card. Score and fold as shown in image.
Where the narrow folded edges are, mark out evenly spaced triangles. Make sure that there is a bridge between each triangle. Using the paper scissor cut out the triangles. Open out the card and you will have two rows of diamonds.
Roll the card horizontally to form a long narrow cracker shaped tube. Using sticky tape, attach one side onto the other. Cut the A4 paper into three strips 2 x 6cms wide and 1 x 9.5cm wide. Using double sided tape stick the paper onto the three sections of the card tube.
Push the cracker snap into the cracker, and secure it with a bit of tape to stop it falling out. Tie string or twine round one end of the cracker and then fill the cracker with sweets decorations toys etc or even your own jokes. Tie up the other end of the cracker.
WORDS: Juliet Bawden. About Juliet Bawden
Trained in textile design, Juliet has a great passion for all things fabric – particularly dyeing, colour and the way it affects our lives. Having grown up in Deal on the Kent coast, her other great love is the sea. Juliet has written a number of craft, style and design books, covering a wide range of disciplines.
For more information, visit creativecolour.org.