Today I’m sharing how to make your own crackers (and I’m not talking about the savoury kind!). This is a fun idea for Christmas, New year or even for birthday parties.
This holiday craft idea was first published in 2013 and has been updated and reshared for today’s audience.
Check out over 30 Free Christmas Craft ideas
We love making our own Christmas crackers! They are always a hit at our extended family celebrations and it’s a team effort each year to put them together. The girls love helping and as they have grown they have taken on different parts of the process, from making the paper we wrap them in, to making the trinkets we put inside.
Check out our marble art crackers here
DIY Christmas crackers would make a gorgeous handmade gift for somebody who already has everything. They are usable so they won’t add clutter to somebody’s home and they are so much fun to have on the table on Christmas day too.
What’s a “cracker” anyway?
Including crackers (or bonbons, as some prefer to call them) as a table decoration is a tradition Australia adopted from the UK. In our supermarkets and department stores right now, commercially produced crackers are doing a roaring trade. They’re extremely wasteful to the environment and our pockets IMO, but they ARE a lot of fun, especially if you make your own DIY recycled version.
For our American readers and any others who don’t typically include crackers as a part of their holiday table setting, here’s a brief explanation …
Each cracker is a prettily wrapped paper roll with a small toy or surprise inside, a joke, a party hat, and it pops with a “bang” when you pull it open. The idea is each person pulls their cracker with someone else at the table, and the person who ends up with the bigger half “wins” the contents of the cracker.
Usually, the toy is a piece of plastic rubbish, the hat is too big for anyone’s head and the joke is so bad it’s almost funny.
As a kid, crackers were one of the things I remember loving most about Christmas. Now it doesn’t seem the same without our homemade version!
This tutorial is for tie-dyed crackers, which requires an additional step to create the ‘wrapper’ of your crackers. If you don’t have time for this you can just use regular tissue paper like we’ve done here.
Tie-dying the paper towel
This is a fun process art activity that even small children can help with. The results are bright and colourful and the paper towel is perfect for wrapping crackers in.
You can find the full instructions for tie-dying paper towel here.
How to make your own Crackers
You will need
- Paper towel which has been tie-dyed
- Paper rolls – either paper towel rolls cut in half or toilet rolls. You will need as many as the number of crackers you wish to make
- Cracker snaps (I can’t find this item on US Amazon, but you can get them at ETSY). Crackers are still fun without the snaps so they are not essential, but they do add a “bang” to your crackers so we always use them
- A small toy, trinket or sweet to have as the surprise (note—if you live in a hot country like Australia chocolate is a bad idea because it can melt inside the cracker before you pull it)
- Tissue paper
- Double-sided tape
- A stapler
- Ribbon, twine or coloured yarn to tie the ends
- Free Printable Christmas jokes or Christmas would you rather questions
- Make the hats to put inside the crackers. Partially unfold a sheet of tissue wrap. Cut a jagged line across the centre. Cut across the base, unfold and you will have sheets of paper crowns. Instead of sticking them into crowns place a piece of double-sided tape on one end of each crown so that they can be made to fit each head. Fold each piece into a small bundle that fits inside a cracker, it may help to tie it with an elastic band
- Place a joke, a hat and a surprise along with a cracker snap inside each paper roll
- Wrap with a square of tissue wrap, twist one end around the cracker snap and staple together with the snap so it stays in place. Repeat with the other side.
- Wrap with a sheet of tie-dyed paper towel, and tie with string, yarn or ribbon
- Make as many as you need for your Christmas table
Make your crackers in any colour combination to suit your Christmas theme.
If corny jokes aren’t your thing, you could also try filling your crackers with some fascinating facts about Christmas around the world, or Christmas would-you-rather cards to generate conversation
More handmade Christmas ideas:
- Here are some easy cookie cutter Christmas cards kids can make
- We have 12 easy paper crafts in our Christmas Paper Crafts Collection
- These printable Christmas shapes are perfect for kid-made ornaments
- Here are 17 easy Christmas sewing crafts for beginners