Crafty Christmas

Your guests will get a bang out of these homemade holiday party favours

Get a bang for your buck this holiday season — literally — by making your own Christmas crackers.

It’s not as daunting as you may think, and you may rethink buying those fun post-dinner crackers once you start shopping around.

Toronto crafter Erin Calhoun-Mangat says she remembers pricing crackers a few years ago and was astounded at the price — 12 for $35.

The Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, paper-craft instructor and blogger said she took a good long look at the store crackers and decided she could make them herself.

She’s now been crafting crackers for her family for three years and even makes them on a commission basis for clients, charging between $2–5 each depending on the treasures inside. You can make your own for an average of 90 cents each, she says, minus the treats.

Many think making a Christmas cracker is hard, says Calhoun-Mangat but it’s really not.

“People are so flabbergasted as it looks really difficult,” she says.

Truth is, any one age six and up can make Christmas crackers. And it can be a great family activity to get in the holiday spirit.

Not to say that grown-ups can’t get in on the fun. Calhoun-Mangat says adults can customize the crackers for adult get-togethers by putting more sophisticated baubles like jewellery inside.

With a glue pen, some glitter and ink stamps or rub-ons, you and the kids can make a host of holiday decorations and accessories, such as napkins, cards, centre pieces and more, she says.

Calhoun-Mangat will be featuring tutorials on these specific items on her website in time for the holiday season.


Erin Calhoun-Mangat on how to make a Christmas cracker

Supplies:

For one cracker you will need
:

1 — cardboard tube (such as a toilet roll), or create a tube with a 14 cm x 10 cm piece of cardstock

1 — 15 cm x 23 cm piece of Waffle paper (or tissue paper)

1 — 15 cm x 10 cm piece of decorative holiday scrapbook paper (one 30 cm x 30 cm scrapbook page will produce six wraps)

2 — 15 cm pieces of wired tinsel trim or ribbon;

1 — Cracker Snap

Suggested inserts: Fortune/joke slip, treat and paper crown.

Tools:
Scissors
Ruler
Glue (Snail Adhesive or Glue Runner recommended)
Sticky Strip or Super Strong double-sided glue strips.

All supplies used for this project can be found at Stampinup.com (except Cracker Snaps); alternatives may be available at craft supply stores.

Fortune, Treat and Paper Crowns
Before making the Christmas crackers, you’ll want to get the inserts ready. Whether you decide to insert a fortune greeting or a joke, the Internet is a great place to find silly messages to print.

Treats can be anything you want, just as long as it fits the diameter of your cracker. These instructions will leave about one inch of space to fill. Dollar stores are full of tiny items that will have your guests laughing as they pull out their treasure.

Instructions:

To start, apply glue using along the opposite sides of the waffle paper length-wise, where the cardboard tubing will sit (roughly 15 cm in length across the midsection). Press the tube onto the glued area, and roll both paper and tube together, until the roll is completely wrapped and secured.

Insert the Cracker Snap, ensuring that tips can be seen from both ends.

Tie off one side of the cracker with one piece of tinsel or ribbon. It’s best to begin the tie as close to the end of the cardboard tube as possible.

With one end now closed, place all of the insert treats into the tube and then tie off the open end.

To decorate, glue one end of the scrapbook sheet width-wise and apply a sticky strip as close to the opposite end as possible. Start by placing the cracker on top of the glued side, and then roll, enclosing the cracker with the sticky strip glue.

Note: Depending on the thickness of the scrapbook paper, regular adhesive will not keep the outer-end closed permanently.

Cut off any excess from the Cracker Snap tips, then apply a small amount of sticky strip adhesive to the ends. Press the ends down so that the snap is secured to the waffle paper (otherwise, the snap will fall out).


About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Dec 17 2010 2:55 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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