DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers

DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers

Shop bought Christmas crackers are a nightmare for minimalists and zero wasters alike. They're mass-produced novelties with miniature plastic gifts that are mostly useless and no one wants, and the more expensive crackers with "fancier" decorations often can't be recycled.

Getting people to skip holiday traditions altogether is a hard sell. It's better to offer a less wasteful alternative that lets people enjoy their celebrations without feeling like they're missing out. I don't think I've ever sat down to Christmas dinner without first pulling a cracker and I quite like the tradition. What I don't like is knowing everything ends up in the bin.

If you want to keep your holiday festivities and just reduce the amount of waste it creates, you can DIY your own Christmas Crackers that won't end up in the bin. These are so easy to create and you probably already have everything you need.


A Toilet Paper Tube
Thin Card
Tissue Paper
Cracker Snaps
Paper Tape
Mini Gifts

DIY Cracker Filler Ideas

· handmade paper hat
· handwritten messages or jokes
· small tin of hand cream or lip balm
· miniature chocolates
· reusable tea bags
· small photograph
· candy canes
· enamel pins
· a patch
· origami

DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers

How To Make Plastic-Free Crackers

To make the inner tube of the cracker, you need to create rectangles of card. To do this, use the toilet paper tube as a template. Cut the recycled card into strips that are the same width as the toilet paper tube and then wrap the card around it to create what will be the inner tube of the crackers. You may have to cut these down to size. I found you can make 4 crackers from a single A4 sheet of card by cutting into quarters. If, by some chance, you have an excess amount of toilet paper tubes, you could skip this part and just use those.

Use paper tape to hold the card in place, then slip the toilet paper tube out of it. Insert a cracker snap into each cardboard tube and fix in place with a small piece of tape. Repeat this process until you have enough for the amount of crackers you want to make. I purchased my cracker snaps from eBay, from a small business who sent them in recyclable packaging.

Measure out strips of tissue paper by placing one of the cardboard tubes with attached cracker snap on top of it. You want to be able to wrap the tissue paper around the tube a couple of times (so it's opaque) and it should be just longer than the length of the cracker snap. The tissue paper needs to be approximately 35cm by 25cm.

Once you have enough tissue paper strips to cover all your tubes you can start to turn them into crackers. Roll a cracker up in the tissue paper then secure with a little tape. Decorative tape is the best choice here, if you have any. Squeeze together the tissue paper loosely in between your forefinger and thumb, pinching it together to create the "neck" of the cracker.

Use a piece of twine to secure this closed. Add in your cracker fillers from the other end before tying it closed. Repeat the process until all your crackers are filled and securely tied.

All that's left to do is decorate the outside of your crackers, adding name tags so that each person gets the appropriate cracker, and you're done!

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DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers DIY Plastic-Free Christmas Crackers