Christmas Cracker Making Ideas for Kids
"How do I make Christmas crackers with children?" Is this a crafty question you are asking? If so, we can help you.
Children love making their own Christmas crackers, some kids will make crackers from scratch and others would prefer to use a cracker making kit. Either way, we have lots of Christmas cracker making ideas here to help you.
Our range of children's "fill your own" Christmas cracker making supplies includes the individual components and also prepacked cracker making kits to make complete crackers. In addition, we have all of the craft supplies that kids will need to embellish their home made Christmas crackers.
Christmas Cracker Making Supplies
Starting with the basics, you will first of all need to decide whether you would prefer to use a cracker making kit or purchase some cracker making components, such as the snaps, then completing these using other craft supplies and recycled materials.
Either way, you will find an extensive range of cracker making kits and components in our cracker making supplies shop. This includes cracker barrels, cracker snaps, jokes and hats - all available separately. We also sell a lovely range of prepacked kits, which include all of these components.
DIY Christmas Cracker Making
The traditional way to make "fill your own Christmas crackers", without using a kit, is to use crepe paper and toilet rolls. This has fallen out of favour for two reasons. Firstly, crepe paper is notoriously difficult to rip when the cracker is pulled. Secondly, many people have hygiene concerns when using toilet roll cores, especially if there are any foodstuffs to be added to the cracker or they are to be placed on a table.
Instead of toilet rolls, you could use half a kitchen roll core or you could cut a card sheet and roll this into a tube, securing it closed with a piece of tape. Then you could use either tissue paper sheets or thin Christmas wrapping paper as the cracker wrap.
Flat or Rolled for Decoration?
At the outset, it may appear to be sensible to decorate the crackers flat, before rolling them up. This is fine with colour in Christmas crackers, provided you colour them, roll them and then add any decorations.
However, this does not work with most cracker making as the embellishments will ping off as you roll the cracker. Crackers do need some fiddling to get them closed, otherwise they would just pop open again - adding anything before rolling and assembling the crackers that you don't need to really doesn't work.
All that having been suggested, there are cracker making ideas below that really would be best done before rolling the cracker, such as cutting the ends with pattern cut scissors, adding paper layers over the barrel and using sticky ribbons.
Our advice.... Before you roll the cracker only stick on what really needs to be stuck onto the flat cracker barrel and won't ping off when assembling it!
Tie it Up!
Our cracker kits include a roll of curling ribbon to tie the barrels closed. However, if you are buying individual components or making your own crackers, you will need to make sure that you include ribbons in your shopping basket.
You could use curling ribbon to give a nice tight closure and then either hide it beneath other decorative finishes, such as ribbons or tinsel pipe cleaners or add further curling ribbon for a fuller look, as shown in the picture below. If you have lots of curling ribbon, just curl and curl and curl - kids handmade Christmas crackers look amazing with loads of ribbon!
CAUTION! if you are going to add hats, jokes and gifts to your crackers make sure you do it before sealing both ends, otherwise you will end up undoing it all again!
Have you ever used curling ribbon? Are we talking in riddles to you each time we mention it? If so, curling ribbon is the same as parcel, balloon or thin florists ribbon.
To use it, you need to cut the ribbon into lengths and then use it on your craft project. Once in place, hold it firmly at the place it is secured to your project, then with the other hand hold a pair of CLOSED scissors at the base of the blades near the handles. Following the natural curl of the ribbon, trap the ribbon at the point where it is joined to your craft project between the outside of the blade of your closed scissors and your thumb. Hold the craft project still, whilst applying moderate pressure over the trapped ribbon, pull the scissors along the length of the ribbon. If you haven't done this before you should probably practice first. This process is very simple but difficult to explain in words! If anyone has an easier to understand explanation we would be delighted to hear from you....
If adding lots of curling ribbon, say to the neck of a Christmas cracker, it is easier to tie the neck closed with a length of curling ribbon first - without curling it. Then cut the sections of curling ribbon twice as long as you would want and curl them all up. Find the centre of these and then tie them into the length already on the cracker. You can then curl the end of the original piece.
Don't forget that as you curl the ribbon it will significantly reduce in length, so start with a decent length!
Go for Chunky!
You could make a pom pom Christmas bug to add to the top of your cracker, why not add one of our Christmas Crafty Bugs? If you are going to make your bugs from scratch you will need 35mm pom poms, 10mm googly eyes, foam sheets and 7mm pom pom noses.
Children will love to add jingle bells to their crackers for an extra "Santa's jingle"!
For kids cracker making crafts it is easiest to add these around the necks at each end of the barrel, using the ribbon or cord that you are securing the necks closed with.
We sell jingle bells in all colours. Although silver and gold are perennially popular, we do also offer them in other colours too.
Go on, give give your crackers a jingle - you know you want too!
This may not have been on your radar but coloured craft feathers work really well with children's hand made Christmas crackers. Fluffy feathers work better than quill style feathers. You could tone with your Christmas cracker barrel, go for traditional Christmas colours or just buy a mixed bag and let the kids freestyle their feathers!
To stick them, you could use a silicone glue - this works really well with many embellishments, such as curled pipe cleaner sections, bells and even pom poms.
Wrap it Up!
You don't need to leave the barrel itself plain and just embellish over the top of it.
Other Decorative Ideas
You could trim the ends of the barrel with pattern cut scissors - this can add a final little detail that will cost you nothing - lovely, just what we like! Make sure you do it before the kids assemble the crackers though, otherwise the cutting will be a bit wonky!
Also, before you roll the crackers, you could use a paper punch to punch out shapes into the end to add additional detail to the handle of the crackers.
Small sections of tinsel pipe cleaners look great, as shown in the pink and purple feather embellished cracker image above. Just set them into silicone or other strong adhesive and they will really add to the 3D look. You can also use them as part of your barrel tying - it's something different to ribbons.
Jewels and gems of all types will make a lovely embellishment on your crackers.
Why not add sticky ribbons? As these are already adhesive, they will fit snugly against your cracker for a lovely additional detail.
Our Favourite Cracker Making Idea....
We have lots and lots of cracker making experience with kids. However, our favourite idea that we have created and would like to share with you is our Rudolph Christmas cracker craft for kids.
Children love this and, as it stands on its end, it is something really different to other Christmas cracker making ideas. We hope that you will agree and have some crafty fun with this.
To make this cracker you will need:
Gold foil cracker barrels
Various jingle bells
Jumbo red pom pom - don't use anything under 50mm for this
Jumbo 25mm eyes or 30mm eyes
Brown foam for eyelashes and mouth
Now that you have the idea, assembly really is very simple! You need to start by rolling the cracker, sealing one end tight with some curling ribbon (see above). Then add the gift, hat and joke before sealing the other end. Don't add anything heavy that is going to make it fall over though!
It works well to tie the pipecleaner for the antlers into the curling ribbon to hold it firmly in place.
Then add the bells, nose, eye lashes (underneath the eyes), mouth and googly eyes.
The eyelashes are made using a small section of brown foam, snipping with scissors very close together but not right to the end of the section. By cutting in this way they develop a natural curl....
In our example, we have added bells to the antlers and around the neck. 25mm or 18mm bells works well around the neck and 13mm or 10mm bells are best for the antlers.
Supplies to Buy
To help you find the cracker making supplies that you will need, we have listed below the ones that are used most in kids cracker making crafts. Just click on the items below and you will be linked to the various items in our kids craft shop.
Christmas cracker making kits
Christmas cracker snaps
Christmas cracker hats
Christmas cracker jokes
Colour in Christmas crackers
Tissue paper sheets
Christmas wrapping paper
Tinsel pipe cleaners
Coloured craft feathers
Double sided tape
Pattern cut scissors
Jewels and gems
A Top Sticky Tip for Cracker Making
Assuming that you are going to add some non-adhesive elements to your Christmas cracker crafts, you will need to stick these with something.
Please, please, please do not use cheap PVA glue - this will not work and your embellishments will all slide off, followed by a trail of glue - we term this the "PVA slide" - you probably have the image in your mind now!
Christmas Cracker Crafts for Adults
Cracker making isn't just for kids! Adult crafters will love making and decorating Christmas crackers too.
Why not take a look at our page of inspiration for adults to make Christmas crackers too?