I get there in the end!
You will need:
- Scissors, glue, a craft knife, & a forgiving surface; a cutting mat’s ideal but a thick newspaper will work.
- Cracker snaps, if your guests are not of a nervous disposition
- as many toilet-roll inners as you need crackers, plus possibly a couple extra in case of disaster – or unexpected guests!
- some tiny trinkets and/or sweets to pop inside them
- some odds & ends of wrapping paper or similar – ends-of-rolls are perfect, re-used is excellent IF there’s enough length (about 70cm) & width (about 10cm) to make the hats
- some A4 or foolscap sheets of easily-torn paper; wrapping paper works, but cut to size before starting. Printer paper’s good too.
- some terrible jokes; there are plenty of lists of them online! Printed, or hand-written & beautifully decorated; it’s a tradition!
- trimmings of some sort; ribbon, florists curly ribbon, jingle bells, pom-poms, tiny baubles, bits off previous crackers, sequins… whatever you have!
First, make your hats: cut a strip about 70cm long & 10cm wide. Fold in half widthways, then again lengthways.
Cut triangles about half-way into the long folded edge, as near as possible meeting at the top.
Unfold & snip the two strips apart if necessary. Wrap one around a convenient head – your own will work, but it’s easier to see what you’re doing on someone else! – and glue the ends together to make a circlet, trimming as needed.
Let the glue dry, then concertina-fold, making your creases nice & sharp so it keeps its shape.
Glue second hat, then cut & glue as many more as you need.
Then, the actual crackers: lay a toilet-roll inner lengthways on the inside of a piece of your easily-torn paper, laid down landscape-wise. Mark the ends, then remove and make 4 or 5 x 5cm parallel slashes in towards the marks.
Then make a line of glue on one long edge between the slashes, place your loo-roll inner on that, then roll it up towards the other edge.
Make a line of glue at that edge, and finish the roll; give it a few moments to “set”.
Take a length of trim, about 25cm long ideally. Gently grasp the easily-torn paper between your thumb & forefinger along the slashes at one end, and crush lightly in towards the loo-roll inner, leaving the end as a tube.
Wrap your trim around the crushed area, tie a loose knot, then tighten to leave a small hole visible into the loo-roll inner. Take a cracker-snap and pop one end into the open end of the cracker, then feed it down through the hole at the tied end so that it’s graspable at both ends.
Then pop a folded hat, a sweet or trinket and a joke into the middle and grasp, squeeze and tie the other end. Plump the ends up as best you can, then curl the ribbon ends, or tie a pretty bow.
Decorate to your own delight!
Some random thoughts:
You may find it easier, as you go long, to pop the snap, hat & joke in as you roll it up, then drop the trinkets or sweets in afterwards:
Buy your cracker snaps early if you need them; staff in craft emporia often seem surprised by people wishing to purchase festive supplies in mid-to-late December. (Evidently some people are more organised than I am!) You can always copy & print paper to make yours, if for example you only have one sheet of your chosen design, it isn’t easily-torn or you don’t want to waste a precious resource. (But only for your own use, as there might otherwise be copyright issues.)
You may discover, as I did, that your delightfully-atmospheric Edwardian sheet music has words that make dirges look positively cheerful… copy & print to the rescue! You will often find ends-of-rolls of wrapping paper being given away or thrown out after Christmas as people don’t want to store “last year’s” designs, especially not small strips.
I’ll tidy-up & add more to this as we go along, but we’re running right out of time for anyone wanting to make some for this year!