Fed up of peculiar plastic shapes, bad jokes and pricey shop-bought Christmas crackers? The options for making your own are endless. Forget cheap key rings and tacky treasures and instead fill them with thoughtful gifts from the kitchen, include jokes that actually make you laugh or pop in a festive fact alongside your personalised party hats.
How to make easy Christmas crackers
What you'll need:
- Roll of quality wrapping paper
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Three cardboard rolls for each cracker - each the same size as the inside of a toilet roll
- Cracker snaps (available in craft shops such as Hobbycraft)
- Tissue paper in festive colours
- Some card (to create a template for your hats)
- Glue stick
- Your gifts to put inside the crackers
1) First make your paper hats. Draw and cut a template from card - approximately 30cm in length (shorter for children). If making multiple hats, place several sheets of tissue paper on top of each other and carefully cut out using your template. Take two cut out shapes and gently use glue stick to glue the ends together to make your hat.
2) To make your cracker place three cardboard rolls close together onto the plain side of your wrapping paper. Put a cracker snap through the tube and secure to the middle roll. Make sure you'll have enough paper to cover and overlap the cardboard rolls when wrapped.
3) Next, cut your paper so it is the same width as the three cardboard rolls. Place three pieces of double sided tape along one end of the wrapping paper, each piece in line with each cardboard roll. (This should be the side that sticks to the wrapping paper - not the cardboard roll.)
4) Roll the wrapping paper over the cardboard rolls to completely cover. Overlap the paper (with the side with the tape on top) and press down to stick the double-sided tape firmly to the paper.
5) Gently pull the two cardboard rolls on either end slightly away from the middle. Between one end roll and the middle roll tie a loose knot with your ribbon round the paper and gently tighten to create your cracker end. Remove the end roll and continue to tighten until there is only a small gap when you look down the end of the cracker then tie a bow and cut any excess ribbon.
6) Fill your cracker with your hat and chosen goodies and then repeat step five on the still open end of your cracker.
How to fill your crackers
For surprises that won't keep for too long, pre-make your crackers and, a couple of days before Christmas, fill with indulgent sweets like choc hazelnut truffles, white chocolate chip fudge or bramble marshmallows and refer back to step five to complete your unique crackers.
If you're making your own crackers this year, share your efforts with us on Facebook or tell us how you got on below.