Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Crackers (no, not the food!)

Photo from Wikipedia
Have you ever seen a Christmas cracker before? They're primarily used in the UK on Christmas Day but my family has adopted the tradition and they're a great addition to any party or dinner. It's a cardboard tube with a toy, a tissue hat, and a joke inside, wrapped in paper and when two people pull on either end of the tube, it makes a "pop" noise. They're quite expensive at the store, though. A 6-pack can cost between $15-$35, depending on the toy. I decided to make my own from much less and you should too!

Here's what you'll need:

* Toilet paper or paper towel rolls
* Cracker snaps
* A joke
* A toy
* A tissue paper hat
* A hot glue gun
* Wrapping paper
* Card stock paper
* Tape
* Scissors
* Ribbon

First, you'll want to make a tissue paper hat. It's quite simple, really. Take a big sheet of tissue paper and cut it so it's roughly 3.5" x 24" (I just used the length of the tissue paper, I think it was roughly 27").

Tape the two ends together with tape.

Then fold it in half, then in half again, then in half again. Then take your scissors and cut one of the ends at an angle.

Unfold your hat and ta-da! A tissue paper hat -

Now that you've got your hat, you're ready to make your crackers! Take your wrapping paper and cut a 7.5"x12" square. Your toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls) should be roughly 2" x 4" (three should be able to go across the square).

Take your cracker snap and hot glue it a couple inches from the top of the wrapping paper.

Take your toilet paper roll and stuff it with a toy, a joke, and your tissue paper hat. Make sure they're in there tight enough so nothing can fall out of either end.

Next, take your roll and using two other rolls as guides, make sure your main roll is exactly in the center of the wrapping paper, above the cracker snap.

Glue the top of the wrapping paper to the center roll.

Remove the two side rolls and roll the toilet paper roll down, covering it with the wrapping paper and hot gluing it at the bottom.

Once your toilet paper roll is covered, take your card stock paper and cut 2.25"x 7" rectangles, as they'll be acting as your stiffener ends. Roll up the paper and stick it one end. Hot glue it to the wrapping paper and do the same thing on the other side.

Take one end and slightly twist it. The crease is where you'll be tying your ribbons.

Do that on the other end, tie on your ribbons, and voila! Your Christmas crackers are complete!

TOTAL COSTS: Approximately $20 to make as many as I wanted!
$3.99 for wrapping paper from Vons
$2.99 for tissue paper from Vons
$1.99 for ribbon from Vons
$7.50 for 25 cracker snaps from Olde English Crackers
Toys ranged in price from Michael's
Card stock, tape, scissors, hot glue gun, toilet paper rolls, and jokes all on hand

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: Approximately 15 minutes/cracker
This included the time it took to make the tissue paper hat, cut out the card stock stiffer ends, etc.

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 2 out of 5
It's not difficult, it's just a bit time consuming, depending on how many you make but in the end, they'll be a lot of fun to pop open on Christmas Day!

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