What is a Party Cracker?
As Told By OldEnglishCrackers.com
"Crackers" are decorative party favors widely used in Great Britain to celebrate a variety of special occasions and festive events. They consist of a beautifully wrapped and decorated cardboard cylinder containing a paper crown (tissue party hat), a motto (British joke or riddle), a snap (popping device), and a small gift or novelty item. At dinners and parties, crackers are used to decorate individual place settings and are usually opened prior to serving the meal or refreshments. The pulling of crackers and donning of the party hats creates a relaxed, festive atmosphere certain to get any party function off the ground. Crackers provide a colorful and exciting start to any celebration, and also present each guest with a gift by which to remember the days events. At Christmas, crackers make great tree ornaments, stocking stuffers, and welcoming gifts for visiting friends and relatives. They can also be used as invitations, promotional gifts, an advertising medium, shower and wedding favors, and individualized gifts for special occasions such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. A BIG thank you, to OldEnglishCrackers.com, for allowing me to publish their instructions on my site. The paper hats, snaps, cardboard tubes and rollers can be purchased on their site. Check them out!
Required Supplies and Equipment
Wrapping paper (cut to 7.5 x 12 inches) -- crackers made with lighter weight papers will tear apart easier when pulled.
Stiffener ends (cut into 2.25 x 7 inches -- use 60-70 weight white card stock, such as 67# Exact Vellum Bristol.
Fortunes, jokes or riddles.
Small gifts or novelty items (at least one per cracker).
Cracker rollers (1 pair).
Cardboard tubes (2 x 4 inche)
Low temperature glue gun.
Step by Step Directions 1 -- Insert rollers into ends of cardboard tube (if fit between tube and roller is not snug enough, add a little masking tape to smaller (red) end of roller).
2 -- Lay roller-tube assembly on back of wrapping paper making certain tube is centered across length of paper. Apply a small drop of glue from glue gun to bottom middle edge of paper and roll tube back over glue.
3 -- Place snap under front (leading) edge of roller-tube assembly, making certain snap is centered across length of paper.
4 -- Roll paper onto roller-tube assembly to within a half inch or so of paper's end. Make certain paper rolls evenly (straight) onto tube.
5 -- With glue gun, run a narrow bead of glue along back of paper about a quarter inch in from top edge. Roll paper over glue keeping glued seam pressed against work surface for several seconds to allow glue to harden (placement of glue bead may have to be adjusted slightly inward if glue flows out of seam onto outer surface of wrapping paper).
6 -- While holding paper cylinder in middle (one hand grasping cardboard tube), remove roller from each end of cylinder.
7 -- Roll stiffener end into slightly smaller diameter cylinder than cracker and insert into end of cracker until even with outer edge. Do not cover snap during this procedure -- it must remain free in end of cracker.
8 -- Spread stiffener out firmly against inside wall of cracker end and glue into place with glue gun.
9 -- Repeat step 8 on other end of cracker.
10 -- Using thumb and forefinger, crimp (gather) one end of cracker between tube and reinforced (stiffened) end.
11 -- Securely tie a 10 - 12 inch length of curling ribbon onto the gather of the cracker using a double knot. Then clip off the loose ribbon ends.
12 -- Insert gifts/messages into open end of the cracker. The fillable central part of the cracker measures 2 inches in diameter by 4 inches in length. Your items must fit comfortably into this space in order for the cracker to be closed and finished. When filling your crackers, make certain you do not push the cracker snap into the center of the cracker.
13 -- Repeat steps 10 and 11 for open end of cracker.
14 -- Check the finished end of the cracker to make certain the snap is located near the outer rim of the cracker and not too far down into the cylinder. Reposition with fingers as necessary.
Your cracker is now finished and ready to be shared with your party guests.
Some practice is usually required to make a consistently well-wrapped and formed cracker. Techniques such as the one described above using solid core centers, rollers, and stiffened ends have been found by many people to be among the easiest methods for making nice looking crackers.
How do you open Crackers?
Crackers are usually shared between two individuals, one pulling on each end. With the ends firmly gripped, the cracker is slowly pulled apart using steady pressure and a twisting motion. This will tear the cracker open along the gathers and activate the "cracker snap" producing a small **BANG**. To ensure that the cracker pops, we recommend that the thumb and fore-finger are used to pin the "snap" against the inside wall of the cracker end while pulling apart.