How To

How to Make New Year’s Eve Crackers

Easy instructions on how to make New Year’s Eve crackers using empty cardboard tubes, pretty paper, ribbon, and small toys.

By Bonnie Thomas

Dec 26 2017

Photo Credit : Bonnie Thomas

New Year’s Eve is a holiday I am never prepared for, so I like the idea of making homemade New Year’s Eve Crackers — they are quick and easy to make at the last minute with items I most likely have on hand.

New Years Eve Crackers
New Year’s Eve crackers are a popular party favor.

New Yea’s Eve crackers (just like Christmas crackers) are decorated tubes filled with toys, trinkets, candy, confetti, and many times, tissue paper crowns. They can be put on dinner plates or a table setting at a meal, or handed out at a party. The recipient can either pull on both ends of the cracker, or one person can pull one side and another person pull the other. Either way, when opened, confetti and other items come spilling out. Commercial crackers often come with a chemically impregnated card strip inside (similar to what you find in a cap gun) that creates an impressive “POP” once the ends are pulled and the cracker breaks, but it’s tough to recreate that effect at home.

There are several ways to design easy homemade New Year’s Eve crackers, but I prefer this simple method. Here’s how to make New Year’s Eve crackers at home.

New Years Eve Crackers
New Year’s Eve Crackers


Materials to Make New Year’s Eve Crackers:

  • Recycled cardboard tubes (i.e. paper towel tubes or leftover tubes from wrapping paper)
  • Tissue paper
  • String
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Decorative papers (scrapbook papers, old book pages, newspaper, sheet music, wrapping paper, comics, wallpaper, etc.)
  • Embellishments to tie at the cracker ends– this can include curling ribbon, twist ties (i.e. I snipped some gold ones from the end of a holiday decoration), string, wire, or twine.
  • Things to put inside the crackers. For adults you can include candies, lottery tickets, fortunes, and confetti. For children you can include trinkets or toys, confetti and candies.

Instructions to Make New Year’s Eve Crackers:

  • Cut the cardboard tubes into 6″ length
  • Cut the tissue paper into 10-12″ length. Some people prefer crackers to have shorter ends, some prefer longer ends.
  • Place the cardboard tube in the center of the tissue paper and wrap the tissue around the tube. I use a piece of tape to secure one end of the tissue paper to the tube then roll the tube till it is covered with tissue paper. I then secure the tissue paper in place with another piece of tape. I trim any excess tissue paper as needed.
  • Use a piece of string to tie one end of the cracker.
  • Now that one end of the cracker is secured, fill the cracker with the items you set aside for filling them.
  • Tie the other end of the cracker with string.
Undecorated crackers
Undecorated New Year’s Eve crackers
  • Decorate the crackers by wrapping them in colorful, patterned, and/or recycled papers. You can cut thin strips of paper for the edges, longer and wider strips for the centers.
  • Decorate the ends of the crackers by adding festive wire or twist ties, curling ribbons, wired garlands, or twine.

I made these crackers using pages from a vintage school book:

New Years Eve Crackers
New Years Eve Crackers, ready for cracking.

For the next set of crackers I used pictures from a book of copyright free images.

New Years Eve Crackers
Colorful New Year’s Eve crackers.

And last, I decorated this pair of crackers using a recycled paper gift bag with thin strips of scrapbook paper on the ends.

New years Eve Crackers
A pair of festive New Year’s Eve crackers.

Do you celebrate Christmas or the New Year with festive crackers?

Happy New Year!

This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated. 

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