My Christmas table would not be complete without having a cracker at every place setting. We always pull our crackers just before we eat and put on the silly paper hats and read the silly jokes. They never fail to amuse.
I have always loved pulling crackers on Christmas Day and finding the jokes and the small gifts inside, they are a great source of enjoyment. Over the years though I have found it difficult to find ones that are suitable for everyone who sits around my table. I started buying "fill your own" crackers but then a few years ago I decided to start making them from scratch and they have "evolved" into the ones I make now.
link posted here.
They are still sold in the shops today, these photos are from a display in our local garden centre.
1.Inner cardboard rolls/tubes found in kitchen rolls (this longer length is better that those from toilet rolls).
2. Crepe paper, 1 or 2 colours.
3.Cracker bangs, found on EBay or in craft shops like Hobbycraft.
4.Paper hats, as above.
5.Jokes... there are lots on the Internet.
6.Double sided sticky tape.
7.Foil tying ribbon.
8.Decoration for the front, of your choice.
I start collecting kitchen roll centres from late autumn and I use these both for the centre of the cracker and for forming the end pieces. Here follows my way of making them, please use it as a guide as no doubt I have omitted some of the process..I never did get onto "Blue Peter" as a little girl!
First cut a 1/4 off one end of a cardboard tube to use as the middle section (the kitchen roll middle is just a bit too long to use in its entirety)and place it between to 2 full length tubes. This middle section will contain the joke, banger, hat and present. The other 2 tubes are just used for forming "pull" ends, the paper tends to collapse if you do not have a former in place. ( NB Please note in the photo below the top tube should also be a kitchen roll length, I didn't have enough at the time I took the photos, a toilet roll tube can do the trick too.)
Unroll the crepe paper and lie it full width and then cut 2 pieces of crepe paper that will meet around the middle of the tubes.This can be either a single colour or 2 as I have shown here.
Then cut a small piece off the end of the colour paper that you want for the outside. I use pinking shears to give a pretty edge but ordinary scissors are fine. 2 sheets of crepe paper works best as it rips well when you pull the cracker. Only using 1 thickness makes it too flimsy. Other types of paper either rip too easily or you struggle to pull them as they are too thick.
Take the middle tube out and fill it with a present, paper hat, cracker bang and joke. If necessary tie them with string or a rubber band to keep them in a bundle. Take care that you keep the cracker bang hanging out of either end of the middle tube, it has a great tendency to slip out! Put this filled tube back between the other rolls as in the photo above. The cracker bang will protrude slightly into both the end tubes. The other contents should be kept inside the middle tube.
Have the shorter length of paper on the outside and then roll up the papers around the 3 kitchen rolls . Seal them with sticky tape.
Next carefully pull one of the tubes out a little way to make a small gap. You need to feel the gap under the papers, so that you can tie off one end with curling ribbon.Repeat this at the other end so that the filled middle tube becomes a kind of "sausage", sealed away ,with 2 open ends for pulling.
You can trim the paper ends if they need neatening up but be careful not to catch the end of the cracker banger which is inside. At this point it's also not a bad idea to write some small initials somewhere on it so that you know whose cracker it is! I put this underneath the cracker out of the way.
Now that you have make the basic cracker you can put any decoration on the front. These are just some suggestions.
These will be sitting on the table on Christmas Day.
One final word of warning when making these................try to keep any naughty cats away as they SO love batting the paper,string etc-LOL
Enjoy your crackers with your Christmas dinner, either shop bought or home made I am sure they will go with a bang!
Bye for now,
Jane (plus her assistant Billy) x