Thursday, 18 December 2014

Jane's Journal goes crackers for Christmas 2014

Here we are, it's my countdown to Christmas, with just a week to go now. Thanks for coming back to share it with me.Yes it's that time of the year that I turn my hand to making my handmade Christmas crackers. I have been doing this for years, many years before I even started blogging and 4 years ago I posted a tutorial here  . Each year I have shown my creations here on my blog. These were lasts years creations . Today I have decided to update my latest techniques and share them with you here.

This is a long post so grab a cuppa and take a seat.........
Like most crafters I have found some little tweaks helpful in making better crackers each year. For some of my American visitors Christmas crackers may be something you have not seen before. Here in the UK they are a tradition dating back to 1847 when Tom Smith invented the Christmas cracker. There is a link to the history of crackers here . They are  sold everywhere in the UK...this is just one type seen in the local shops. They feature at everyone's Christmas parties and dinner tables and the corny jokes inside always make everyone laugh whilst they put on their paper hats and enjoy the little gift  found inside. The cracker makes a "bang" as it is pulled open by 2 people holding the ends and ripping it apart.

Each year I try to match my handmade crackers to the serviettes I have bought for my Christmas table.  This is my choice this year. I love the homespun/vintage look to them.

I decided to pick out the  red and white as my base colours and bought crepe paper in those colours.
I also decided to use one of Nicecrane's fabulous vintage images for my focal decoration and chose the one below, which I die cut.

This image is in Ignacio's shop here and the whole set are perfect for vintage projects.
I cut dark green spellbinder frames and mounted them up, adding some Cheery Lynn holly die cuts and little Lili of the Valley tag sentiments. A little festive red Stickles added a little sparkle for the berries.

It was then time to get my supplies together
 It involves a lot of kitchen roll tubes, crepe paper, small gifts, cracker bangs, jokes, sticky tape, double sided tape, ribbon/twine, additional patterned paper (gift wrap is ideal) and paper or foil hats. I find my own jokes on the Internet and print them out as sheets which I cut up

I also decided this year to buy some premium quality foil hats...these are really lovely.

I also have Santa's little helper, aka my cat Billy who oversees everything. I am sorry the photos are a little dark but these were made on a dark evening or 2 on my front room floor!

OK here we go...first cut about 1/3 off the length of the cracker "middles". These will hold the cracker contents. The gifts can be anything which fits inside.I have used Lotto tickets, hand creams, sweets etc (I can't give too much away here as my family do read my blog!) There are 8 of us for Christmas dinner so I needed 8 of everything.
Here is a sneak peek into my bag of gifts...
Roll up a gift with a joke, banger and hat
and put it inside the cut down roll. I tape the cracker banger to the inside or it tends to keep falling out.

Sandwich this roll between 2 full length ones making sure the banger is inside and then roll the crepe paper around.

Secure with tape and then repeat with the second colour paper, taking off about an inch from each end. I use pinking shears on the inside paper.
Ease out one roll slightly and tie with ribbon/twine etc, I used raffia.

Repeat this the other end. By keeping the rolls in place they maintain a good shape for the ends of the cracker
Cut a piece of gift wrap or any other paper you like and attach to the middle of the cracker. I found this one from last year, my Hb wrapped my presents in it so I used the leftovers. Us crafters do like to recycle don't we!

Now you can even up the ends by trimming with pinking shears (this is why I don't do this at the beginning).
Once the cracker bases are complete you can decorate them any way you like. I added double sided tape to my focals and stuck them in place.

 To remember who's is who's I always write the person's name underneath.  So here are my finished crackers......ready for the Big Day, which is now only a week away. They will be on my table to share with my dear family. Such a great tradition which goes on from generation to generation.

I would like to enter my Christmas Crackers into the following challenges;

Country View nostalgic Christmas. Crackers just have to be a part on my Christmas dinner, always.
That craft place Christmas
Pile it on anything goes Christmas/holidays
Stamp and Create anything goes
All Crafts Challenge anything but cards
The Mirror Cracked upcycle/recycle a Christmas gift
Deep Ocean Christmas is all around
Dream Valley Christmas 
Simon says stamp Wednesday winter photo inspiration I was inspired by the beautiful white snow and the the little red bird in the top right photo.
Creative Inspirations Christmas/New Year
As you like it favourite Christmas image and why I just love this Nicecrane image, it evokes Christmas nostalgia for me, We always have crackers at our table and this image is a perfect gift sharing one.
Cute card Thursday sparkle
Loves rubberstamps Holiday blitz anything goes
Simon Says stamp Monday anything goes

And to make you smile here are a couple of cracker jokes;

What disease can you catch from putting up too many Christmas decorations?

Answer; Tinsilitis .

What do you call a man with a seagull on his shoulder?

Why can’t you go fishing with a bearded man?
Answer;  Because you need a fishing rod.

Tee hee! I hope that all your festive preparations are nearly complete and that you are starting to look forward to enjoying some relaxing family time with your loved ones. I can't wait.

Back tomorrow,

Bye for now,

Jane x


  1. They're brilliant Jane! Lovely to get a useful gift, we had a girls night out on Tuesday and I got a set of plastic lips out of my cracker....really useful! :)
    I'm sure there is lots of excitement when they're pulled on Christmas Day.
    Happy Thursday,
    V x
    P.S. BTW that last joke really made me laugh!!

  2. I say every year I will make my own crackers and never manage too. This is such an inspirational post Jane. Maybe i should start my crackers in January as would love to have these on my Christmas table. Great tutorial and love how you double layered crepe on them. Your table will certainly be full of excitement when cracking these.
    Julie x

  3. Dear Jane,

    These are just fantastic - they seem to be perfect each year and then when I see next! I love the vintage feel on them, they are just so special (and why not with inspector Billy watching it all ever so closely!)! I am just finishing the last work-related things for this year, still some mailing to do tomorrow but after that: Hooray! Holidays!

    Wishing you the most wonderful days, dear friend!


  4. Great crackers, once again, Jane! So much nicer contents than the usual penny gifts - bet I end up with the fortune teller fish again! (Though it's secretly my favourite - it's amazing how much entertainment a little piece of plastic can give!) I can't wait for Christmas Eve once hubby finishes work and we have the children's Nativity and Carol service, then it feels like Christmas! I have a few more things to do before then but have had a lovely day off crafting today - I may regret it tomorrow when I'm running around like a headless chicken, but it was worth it!
    I see you won the pretty Elisabeth Bell stamp over at Papertake Weekly - well done, that's a nice early Christmas pressie! Hugs, Lisa x

  5. Your crackers are really beautiful, Jane! What a lovely set they make, the colours and design are so pretty and festive. And so nice that you can choose your own special gifts to go inside!
    Helen xox

  6. Fabulous creation. An idea I may have to tuck away for next year. Thanks for playing along at Loves Rubberstamps.


  7. Your crackers are fantabulous! I got some crackers at World Market for our dinner last year.. I better go get some more! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
    *M*E*R*R*Y* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*
    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

  8. Gorgeous crackers Jane! So glad you joined in the fun at The Mirror Crack'd challenge.

  9. Jane these are brilliant, I hope there's one for Billy, and I definitely need to come to yours next Christmas! Thank you so much for playing along with us again at Country View Crafts, and have a very Merry Christmas. Sue xx

  10. These are fantastic and what a wonderful idea! Thank you for joining us over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog and wishing you a very happy festive season! :) x

  11. These are so pretty! I love that you customized them to match your table. Thank you so much for playing along with us in the Winter Inspiration Challenge over at the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog this week :)

  12. You have been so creative..great christmas crackers...thanks for joining the holiday blitz at Loves Rubberstamps, good luck and merry christmas,
    Hugs Blankina

  13. I saw some Christmas crackers in a store the other day. I nearly bought them. I remember them, I think we had them once whilst living in England. Thanks for the tutorial, had thought about making some. Not sure. I need to get my house in shape a bit. Just having my brother here with the 3 of us, then another get together with my son's family in a week. Traditions! Merry Christmas!

  14. Great crackers. They will be fun to pull !
    Thank you for joining us at Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge and Happy Christmas !

    Jo x

  15. Well I think you and Billy have done an excellent job with those crackers, does Billy have one of his own? Thank you for joining us at Craft My Life.

  16. This is a great idea! Thanks for playing at Creative Inspirations and we wish you a Merry Christmas! xxx

  17. What a great project. Those crackers are delightful. Thank you for sharing your talents with us over at Loves Rubberstamps. Hugs Nina

  18. Oh these are so beautiful! Thanks for playing with us over at Loves Rubberstamps!!!

  19. So long be these gorgeous crackers. Thanks for sharing on AYLI. Carol xx

  20. Very nice images and crackers. Thank you for playing along with us at As You Like It. Luv, Wilma

  21. Top notch crackers, as always Jane, and thank you for sharing your perfected technique. I had hoped to make crackers this year as I think it's really nice to have gifts specifically chosen plus you always make your look so lovely (I was rubbish and ran out of time). I hope Christmas went well and you're enjoying celebrating New Year's Eve tonight with those that matter. Here's to a healthy and happy 2015!! Bethxx

  22. These are great and what a lovely tradition to keep up. I used to make them when the family was at home but now it is just the two of us so no fun anymore. Thankyou for sharing with us at Craft My Life. hugs Mrs A. (D.T.)

  23. OMG they remind me of being at my Gran's house in the 60s. Absolutely fabulous!!

    Thanks for sharing these little beauties with us

    The Mirror Crack'd


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Jane x