Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Crackers

Well, the big day has come and gone. I have to say that I'm happy for the rest today, although my arms are sore from playing Just Dance 3 with my daughter. If only I had the stamina of an 11 year old girl!

I wanted to share a project I worked on for Christmas this year. My mom had some old Christmas crackers that she gave me to use for our dinner table. Now, if you've bought these from the store, you know that you normally get a keychain or something inside. I wanted to make these more personal, and also have them match our Christmas decor. I know what you're thinking... "Rona, are you channelling Martha?"  Well, no, as they didn't turn out perfectly (more on THAT later).

I had been thinking of making my own this year, anyways, but if you try to buy the parts individually, it's more expensive than buying cheap complete ones for the parts.

Above, you can see the original purple and gold cracker that my mom gave me. I started by removing the gold tinsel and ripping off the paper. Be careful not to break the strip of paper that makes the cracker noise (I'm going to call this the "cracker strip"). You can separate it from the cracker if you want, or leave it attached on one end.

I wanted to have a silver/green/red colour scheme, so I used alcohol ink to die the gold tinsel that I removed. I was going to buy green tinsel, but the gold stuff had a wire in the middle that made it easy to wrap around the cracker so it was easier, not to mention cheaper, just to colour it myself. I put it all in a ziploc back and added several drops of "bottle" coloured alcohol ink and rubbed it all together. Then, I let it out to dry for a bit.

Next, I needed to wrap the crackers. Through trial and error, I found that the space between the centre and the end must be at least as wide as the diameter of the cracker, otherwise it wouldn't close up tight enough to hold the prize inside. I'm pointing to this space with my pen below.

Now, here's a word of warning... be sure to use a paper that tears easily. I loved the look of this paper but it turns out that it had a plastic coating on it.  So, when we went to actually pull the crackers apart, it was a lot of work!  Definitely a non-Martha moment.

Close up one end of the cracker, tying a ribbon (or green tinsel) to keep it tight. Be sure that one end of the cracker strip stays attached to the end.

Slide your prizes inside. I reused the tissue crowns and jokes from the original crackers, then added my own prizes. Everyone got a lottery scratch card (nothing says "Christmas" like gambling :) ), and a goodie such as a little hand sanitizer.

Then, close up the other end. Be sure that the cracker strip makes it all the way through.

And attach it to the edge so that it STAYS out.

Now that the technical part is over with, the fun really begins!  I printed off everyone's names on some cardstock...

... and then punched them out with Spellbinders Labels 4. Also, I punched out some really glittery paper in green and red in one size larger for matting.

They were really flat, so I wrapped them around a small paint bottle for an hour or so to get a nice curve in the label. This helped it attach more nicely to the cracker.

I had a sprig of sparkly holly that I bought from Michael's last year. I snipped off pairs of leaves to use.

Then, using the same technique as I used for recolouring the tinsel, I dyed some clear teardrop gems red. I had tried just using a big blog of stickles, but they dried flat and I wanted more of a berry shape. If I had had more of a skittles shape, I would have preferred it, but the teardrop did just fine.

Here's the finished product. I used a glue gun to stick down the labels, holly leaves and berries.  They looked great at our Christmas dinner table.


  1. Loved the Christmas card you sent. You are so so many ways.

  2. Rona, you are very good at this

  3. Having seen many of your other designs, your ability to think 'outside of the box' never fails to amaze me.

  4. Amazing - great idea to start with a pre made one - I have always wondered about making these myself. Maybe next year (-: