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  • Writer's pictureandrew wood

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Christmas Crackers with Bright Stem Recyclable Wrapping Paper

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


One of the most beloved holiday traditions is pulling open a Christmas cracker to reveal small surprises inside. These festive party favors are not only fun to have on the dinner table but also make delightful gifts. If you're feeling crafty this holiday season, why not try making your own recyclable Christmas crackers? Its a good way to save some money and a lot of fun to make. In this blog post, I will guide you through the process step by step.

No need for toilet rolls!

Yes you heard it folks there will be no toilet rolls used in this 'How to Make Christmas Crackers' blog post. Usually when making Christmas crackers people use a cardboard tube for the centre. Thats beacuse most standard wrap is too floppy. bright stem recyclable wrapping paper however is thicker meaning it can hold its form. So the cardboard tube isn’t necessary.

Paper Hats

The paper hat you can see in the tutorial is also made from bright stem wrapping paper I'll be showing you how to make that in a future tutorial. However if you're in a rush to get these made standard paper hats can be bought separately.

Choosing what goes in the cracker

I’ve decided to skip the small trinket as I find these often go straight in the bin but that’s the joy of making your own. Maybe you’d prefer to spend some time to find something really special for each person. Just make sure whatever you use fits in the cracker.

How to Make Christmas Crackers with Bright Stem Recyclable Wrapping Paper, patterns used include robin, gingerbread, stars  and abstract design

Materials Needed:

  • Bright Stem wrapping paper

  • Christmas cracker template (PDF file bellow)

  • Paper hats, jokes, or trinkets

  • String/thread (I'm using book binders thread as its thin and strong but normal thread should work fine)

  • Scissors and scalpel knife

  • Metal ruler

  • Cracker snaps (you can buy these online or at most good craft shops)

  • Paper tape

  • Pencil

How to Make Christmas Crackers with Bright Stem Recyclable Wrapping Paper materials needed: template, paper hats, jokes, string, scissors, cracker snap, paper tape

Step 1: Print the Christmas Cracker Template

Bellow is the 'Bright Stem Christmas Cracker Template' I've designed. Download and print it on standard plain a4 paper. Remember when printing to keep the scale at 100% so the cracker remains at the correct size.

Bright Stem Christmas Cracker Template
Download PDF • 22KB

Step 2: Cut

Begin by measuring and cutting your chosen wrapping paper into a rectangle, 25 cm long and 17.5 cm wide.

Step 3: Attach template

On a flat surface lay the paper template on top of the rectangle of wrapping paper that you previously cut out. Line up the two sides of the the template with the two sides of the wrapping paper. Then turn them over and tape the wrapping paper to the template at the edges. Check the template and wrapping paper are correctly lined up by holding them up to a light source. (You could layer multiple sheets of wrapping paper at this point to speed up production but just make sure you have a sharp enough blade to cut through them all.)

Step 4: Cut out Template

Using the scalpel blade cut out all the red lines on the template. Use a small metal ruler for the diagonal lines, cut the curved edges of the nodes by hand and then use a larger ruler to cut the straight edges. Then remove the template.

Step 5: Add the Cracker Snap

For the classic cracker experience, insert a cracker snap. A cracker snap is a small explosive strip that makes a noise when the cracker is pulled apart. Attach one end of the cracker snap to the inside edge of your wrapping paper, ensuring it is centered along the length.

How to Make Christmas Crackers with Bright Stem Recyclable Wrapping Paper attaching cracker snap to inside of cracker

Step 6: Roll and Attach Nodes

Carefully roll the paper around, tucking the individual nodes into their corresponding slits. Make sure the nodes are slotted from the outside in. This can be a little fiddly but just take your time. If you need to widen the slits do so carefully with the scalpel knife.

Step 7: Seal one end

At one end of the cracker, wrap the thread around where you have cut the diamond shapes. Pull the thread tight so the paper is pulled together and tie a double knot. Then cut away any excess thread.

Step 8: Fill with Surprises

Gather paper hats, jokes, or trinkets that can fit inside the cardboard tube. Make sure they are wrapped or securely fastened to prevent them from falling out. Place them inside the tube, leaving enough space at each end for the cracker to twist and snap. Repeat step 7 for the other end of the cracker.

Step 9: Trim Cracker snaps

Trim the excess so that each end is just inside the cracker. Dont trim too much off as you need something to grab hold of when pulling the cracker.

How to Make Christmas Crackers with Bright Stem Recyclable Wrapping Paper cutting excess cracker snap


Continue making as many crackers as desired. Once complete, display your homemade Christmas crackers on your holiday table or give them to your loved ones as delightful handmade gifts.

In conclusion, making your own Christmas crackers can be a wonderful way to add a personal touch to your holiday celebrations. With a few simple materials and a bit of creativity, you can create fun and memorable moments for your family and friends. So gather your supplies, have fun with the process, and enjoy the excitement as your loved ones open their homemade Christmas crackers!

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