Fabric Christmas Crackers

My family loves pulling crackers at Christmas time. In recent years I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them, though, as they are filled with ridiculous plastic disposable “toys” that everybody hates, and just fill up the garbage bin.

This year I made a special effort to replace the junk disposable crackers with some really wonderful, special ones.

Picture of a cloth Christmas cracker with napkins and bows.

And I did!

These crackers are made from some beautifully coordinating fabric, wrapped around re-purposed Christmas cards and tied with some ribbon.

To make the cardboard core, take one used portrait-style Christmas card, curve the spine a little, roll it into itself, and staple it together.

These things are beautiful enough on their own to use, as the Christmas cards are glossy and designed by people with actual artistic talent. 🙂

Picture of Christmas cards rolled up like toilet paper tubes.

However, they won’t hold party favours, so I went the next step of making some fabric covers. To make these easy to re-use each year, I designed the system to be simple to put together and wash (if needed).

All you need for each cracker is:

  • A Christmas card tube
  • Two square napkins (I made mine 9 1/2 inches, with mitred corners for extra fancy)
  • Two lengths of ribbon (mine measured about 15 inches each)
  • Something to put inside — my kids wrote some jokes, and I put consumables and a candle in mine
  • A cracker snap (a mini firework) — available in Australia from online craft stores. I found mine at Art Riot, but I believe Spotlight and Lincraft do have them seasonally
  • A wide ribbon, or a length of scrap fabric to tie around the cracker

I tested my idea with existing household napkins, to make sure it would make a satisfying “pull” before I invested in the pretty fabric. I didn’t need to add velcro or snaps, but you certainly could, especially if you wanted to skip the firework insert.

Here’s how to assemble your cracker:

When overlapping your napkins, note that there should be a little offset at the top so that when you roll it up, the inner napkin (orange) is enclosed by the outer one (blue flowers).

The outer ribbon is decorative, but is useful to give a more satisfying “pull” if you wrap slightly firmly around the join in the napkins.

This year I fastened mine with either a bit of blue painters tape, or a safety pin (taking care to pin only the ribbon, and not the napkins). Next year I’m going to sew some ribbons with people’s names, so I don’t have to use a dodgy sticker! I’m thinking I might use velcro to fasten these.

Picture of a 4 x 2 inch cloth sweets bag.

I made some tiny little bags from scrap fabric that could hold little sweets (I chose Skittles and Jelly Beans) for my kids to eat, instead of a toy. The grown-ups received a beeswax tea light candle in their cracker.

One final note: Whoever is holding the inner napkin is likely to “win” the cracker! Useful if you have someone with special dietary needs or when pulling crackers with kids. *wink*

The final product is some amazing crackers that I can use again and again each year.

Picture of various fabric Christmas crackers.


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