They have provided some instructions and ideas for handmade Christmas decorations and crackers on their website www.cartridgesave.co.uk/christmas and have been running a Christmas cracker competition so I thought I'd take the plunge and have one more go!
This is what I needed to get started.
I printed off the instructions, asked family to start collecting toilet roll tubes, made a bracelet, made a poinsettia decoration, tracked down some unused hats and jokes and ordered some cracker snaps. Finally, I needed some double-sided tape, ribbon and 3D foam to put it all together.
Score 10cm in from each end of the long side of the paper and also lightly score 7cm in from each end.
Lay the snap along the long side of the paper near the top and secure with glue or strong double-sided tape at each end. It needs to be stuck firmly enough at both ends to be forced to pull apart at the centre and not just come loose at one end when the cracker is pulled.
I then used double-sided tape to stick the paper to the toilet roll tubes, keeping the gaps between the tubes glue-free. I tried placing the tubes along the bottom edge of the paper and also in the middle. Both worked but I personally found it easier to keep the cracker straight when I started with the tubes in the centre. I also placed the hat and joke inside the central tube before rolling the paper.
There's always someone who doesn't wear their party hat so any unused hats as well as the jokes, ribbons and poinsettias can be put in a box ready for next year's makes. With the gifts having been chosen with the recipients in mind it's unlikely that they can be saved for next year but that leaves a good excuse to make some more!
Will I be making more crackers in the future? Yes. Getting the toilet roll tubes to line up and roll neatly was a bit fiddly at first but it got easier with practice. The crackers themselves were inexpensive to make and some of the elements can be re-used, making them even cheaper and more environmentally friendly. The wider tubes that I used could hold quite a big present that I knew would actually be wanted and - best of all - there was a very satisfying bang when the crackers were pulled!
So thank you Cartridge Save for encouraging me to have one more go at making my own crackers. I still have lots of snaps so I could be making crackers for New Year, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries ...