How to make a Christmas cracker from a napkin - just like Angel Strawbridge's

Dazzle your diners with these beautiful Christmas crackers using things you already have lying around the house

Paper napkin with gold ribbon with silver gold and pink Christmas table
(Image credit: Future PLC)

The best Christmas table decoration ideas wouldn't be complete without a cracker. However, you don't need to go out and buy them to make a statement. In the final Christmas episode of Channel 4's hit show Escape to the Chateau Angel Strawbridge demonstrated how to make a cracker from a napkin. 

At Ideal Home we love the idea of turning a napkin into a cracker. Not only does it make a beautiful place setting, but it saves wasting extra paper, and is a savvy DIY Christmas idea instead of forking out on expensive ready-made crackers.

Angel Strawbridge turned hers into beautiful place settings for her Christmas party, with the guests' names embroidered on each napkin. Each napkin cracker included everything and more you'd expect from a cracker including a vial of homemade eucalyptus oil, snapper and a bad joke.

If you're keen to follow Angel's example and create your own napkin crackers follow our simple how-to guide, to create crackers that can be reused year after year.

Linen napkin cracker on white plates with blue christmas theme

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to make a Christmas cracker from a napkin

If you usually use cloth napkins on your Christmas table this is a smart way to revamp them and make them work twice as hard as your festive crackers.

Shopping list

Linen napkin with loo rolls, ribbon and chocolates

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Check the sizing

'To make napkin crackers, the napkins you're using will need to be larger than the loo rolls as you will need some extra fabric at the end to secure the crackers,' explains Ryan McDonough, Interior Design Expert, MyJobQuote.

Place the three loo rolls side by side on top of the napkin, and make sure they're not hanging over the edge. If they are, trim them down with scissors.

2. Add the filling

Three toilet rolls on napkin with chocolates

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Next, place your choice of filling inside the middle loo roll. You can opt for the signature small gifts of classic Christmas crackers, or put a couple of chocolates or sweets in instead.

3. Add double-sided tape

Next, add a strip of double-sided tape to one edge of the napkin. Tape dispensers will make this part much easier.

4. Wrap the cracker

Wrap the napkin around the loo rolls, starting from the end without the tape. Hold it tightly so it doesn't crease, then secure in place with the tape from the other end.

5. Secure the string

To create the iconic cracker look, pull the end two toilet rolls out of from the middle one slightly, so they're poking out the end of the napkin. You should be able to feel a gap either side of the middle loo roll. 

Tie a piece of string around this gap. Fiddle around with this slightly until there's a noticeable crease and the string is tied firm. 

6. Add the ribbon

Blue ribbon being tied on napkin cracker

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Tie some pretty ribbon in place over the string. Trim these after tying, but leave them so they're longer than they need to be. The elaborate ribbon will make your handmade crackers look more elegant.

7. Remove the ends

Napkin cracker with loo roll

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Pull out the two loo rolls either side of the middle one to finish off your handmade cracker.

8. Repeat and admire!

Off white napkin cracker with blue ribbon

(Image credit: Future PLC)

All that's left is to repeat the above steps to create as many crackers as you like, then put them in pride of place next to each place setting.

How to make a paper cracker

If you prefer the look of paper crackers or don't have any napkins, these are easy to make too. The process is similar to that of napkin crackers, however, you can use off cuts of wrapping paper, wallpaper, or anything you have to hand.

Shopping list

White paper

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Line up the loo rolls

Paper cracker being made

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Place three cardboard loo rolls alongside each other in the middle of your paper. You don't need loads of paper per cracker, just enough so that it will wrap fully around the loo rolls, so trim this down and set the leftovers aside for the next cracker.

2. Pop your fillings in

Pop your fillings of choice into the middle loo roll, if using. These crackers can also be for purely decorative purposes, and they don't have to be pulled if you'd rather keep them for next year. 

3. Add the tape and wrap

Place the double-sided tape along the full length of one edge of the paper. Next, wrap the paper around the three loo rolls, making sure to smooth out any creases that appear as you go. Start from the end without the tape, hold this in the middle, then wrap the taped end over the top and secure in place. It's just like wrapping presents.

4. Add the string

Paper cracker with string

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Gently pull the two loo rolls on either side of the middle one outwards so they stick out the edge of the paper. Make a crease in the two gaps where the ribbon will go, then wrap string round these and tie. Pull out the two loo rolls at the end. 

5. Fasten the ribbon

Paper crackers with gold ribbon

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Tie your ribbon over the string. Raffia ribbon works well with paper crackers, and is easy to tie. The curly ends will finish off the crackers nicely.

'To finish, you could also decorate the cracker with a dried orange piece or some holly', suggests Ryan.

6. Repeat and admire!

Paper napkin with gold ribbon with silver gold and pink Christmas table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Repeat the last five steps for each place setting. Put your crackers in each place and admire your craftmanship!

How do you make a simple Christmas centerpiece?

To go with your fabulous DIY Christmas crackers, you can create a beautiful Christmas table centerpiece idea. This doesn't have to be overly complicated either; spend just a short amount of time creating a centerpiece and you and all the family can admire it for the rest of the Christmas period.

'If you have a round table, place a large flame-proof plate in the centre of the table, arrange three chunky candles of differing heights and then cover the plate in fresh greenery foraged from the garden or pile on baubles in differing sizes,' suggests Angela Slater, Gardening Expert, Hayes Garden World.

'Wind a set of battery-operated micro-lights through the vegetation or the baubles. If you have a spare pre-decorated and pre-lit artificial wreath, place it in the centre of the table,' she adds.

Or, keep it simpler still. 'If you’ve changed the colour scheme for your tree this year and have lots of spare baubles knocking about, another lovely idea for a table centrepiece is to fill a large bowl or basket with these baubles,' says Pablo Diaz Barriga, VP of International Business, Balsam Brands. 'You can keep the baubles in similar tones for a simple and elegant look, or mix and match colours for a fun and vibrant feel.'

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.