Last night I sat down and made all of my crackers. I was surprised how easy it was and it only took me about 2 hours to make all 12 (in fact I made 13 but the first one went quite dramatically wrong).
It's a simple process and I basically followed this guide from Kirsty's Homemade Christmas.
I didn't bother to measure anything (I like my crackers to be organic, and I'm lazy) but I regret not using luxury paper as recommended - mine was thin and ripped a bit while I was scrunching it and tying ribbons on.
I used a tiny square of double sided tape to fix the snap in place, a small piece to fix the edge of the paper to the middle tube and then rolled all 3 tubes up in the paper, fixing the long edge with a long piece of double sided tape.
Then I pulled one of the tubes out around 1-2" and scrunched the paper between the 2 tubes. I tied this with a ribbon, filled the cracker and repeated the scrunching on the other end. Since I don't have a paper perforator I snipped little holes all the way round both ends of the cracker so that the paper will rip when they're pulled - if you don't do this you'll have a tug of war over your dinner!
And that's it! Kirsty goes on to top her crackers with lots of amazing decorations and I may try to do this next week. Right now I'm pushed for time and cracker decorating comes pretty far down my list of priorities!
I bought the 12 snaps and hats on ebay for about £5. Other than that, I only needed the toilet roll innards (the one time of year I encourage wanton use of toilet roll around the house!), wrapping paper, double sided tape and ribbon.
I got my husband to pick 12 jokes form the internet (we'll see how funny these are soon) and added these, with the gifts. I find places like Hawkins Bazaar (a sort of toy and joke shop), craft shops and markets useful for finding lots of small gifts. I try to keep the price low, but if you look for nice things to put in them you will end up spending £3-5 per cracker in my experience so making several can work out expensive. Plus you end up walking around shops putting things in toilet roll tubes...
This year I've used a chocolate bar, nail varnish, a pocket tape measure, 2 key rings, a Sheriff's badge, a finger puppet and the dice bags I made. In the past I've used alcoholic miniatures, those flat pack toy planes, sweets, mini soaps, needle books, lip balms and small ornaments. I find, as with most gift related things, women are easier to buy for than men!
Has anyone else made their own crackers? Any helpful tips? Any gift ideas?