Not Martha

Valentine’s Day Surprise Cracker

My love of traditional English Christmas Crackers (the paper sort, not the edible sort) has been well documented. Since it takes two people to open one they seem like a good choice as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as well. (With my apologies to traditionalists, sorry about that.)

I found the supplies I needed at a local shop and decided it was meant to be. I added a few decorative details in my instructions below that can be skipped to make it easier. All you really need are a tube (a paper towel tube will work great), some cracker snaps (a specialty crafts store should have them), some decorative paper (crepe or tissue paper) to wrap it all up in and some fun little things to put inside. I decided to go for a few handmade details:

I gathered cardboard tubes, double-sided crepe paper (red/pink), some decorative paper for the details that came in the form of a few different food treat bags, sticker paper that I drew on using colorful pens and markers, cracker snaps, candy and some wooden coin shapes that I turned into tokens.

First: the fun stuff that goes inside

I decided that some lovely IOUs in the form of tokens would be pretty sweet and redeemable when needed. I included a kiss, a hug and one set of dishes (a set for each person). There are a few other things I can think of including “come help me carry groceries in from the car when it’s pouring outside even though you’re already wearing soft pants” and “bring in the empty trash cans on Friday night even though it’s pouring outside” and “be the one to responsibly turn off all the lights in the house even though we are both so sleepy”, but hugs and kisses seemed easier to request in an area under two inches.

I used a 1 and 3/8th inch hole punch for the circles. I drew the token fronts onto sticker paper and used a roughly clipped template to create the starburst pattern.

I punched out and glued zig-zag pattern onto the back side using a regular old glue stick.

I included some candy and put it into skinny plastic sleeves. Message hearts, themed M&Ms and heart shaped candies. You might also include a small sparkler that shows how many Valentine’s days you’ve been together. (And, I responsibly add: only light it outdoors. Perhaps with glasses of bubbly in hand?)

I especially love the way these candy hearts turned out in the plastic sleeves. They are from a silly wind-up heart toy and candy tube combination. I let the wind up toy walk all the way off our dining room table.

Next: wrapping it up

I decided to use a sturdy double-sided crepe paper and decorative paper for both the center wrap and inside the ends. For me this came in the form of food treat bags I found at a packaging store. I hand decorated larger circle stickers for the label and used decorative wire twist ties to secure the ends. I used double sided tape to secure the paper when needed.

The crepe wasn’t wide enough to cover the tube so I needed to overlap two layers. Make sure the crepe will wrap around the tube once with a 1 inch overlap.

Cut the crepe to the width of the tube plus 10 inches — 2 inches on each side for the outer tube and 3 inches for the part that is gathered. If you use a narrower tube (like a paper towel tube) you might need less.

Glue the decorative paper to the inside of the wrapping paper using double sided tape.

Trim the decorative paper.

If needed trim your crepe so that the overlapping edge will fall around the middle and later be hidden by the decorative wrap and secure with a bit of double sided tape.

Wrap your tube and secure with double sided tape. (I’m having a love affair with double sided tape, can you tell?)

Use a square of said double sided tape to secure the outer corners.

Place one of the snaps inside and gather and pinch one end, secure with a twist tie or waxed cord. Make sure that one end of your snap is sticking out — overcompensate here, you can pull it back to center it out later on.

From the open end place the fun things inside!

Gather the other end and secure with twist tie or waxed cord. Double check to make sure that each end had part of the snap that can be grabbed, recenter it if needed.

Roll the tube so that the seam of the paper is in the back then wrap your decorative paper around the center and secure with a big ol’ sticker. You are done.

· comments [35] · 02-8-2012 · categories:holidays ·

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Seanna Lea // Feb 8, 2012 at 4:08 am

    That looks really cute. I’ve never seen cracker snaps before. Did you have to go somewhere special to find them, or where they in a normal craft shop?

  • 2 Herschel // Feb 8, 2012 at 7:35 am

    @Seanna Lea — I’ve never seen them before, either!

    Megan notes sources in her other cracker post —

  • 3 joanne // Feb 8, 2012 at 7:37 am

    ditto…. crackers snaps?

  • 4 Cathy // Feb 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

    These are fun to make for any holiday! It’s really hard to find the snaps in Canada, and places outside Canada aren’t even allowed to mail them to you ( I guess they’re a banned mailing item?) I was hoping to stock up this Christmas because my local Michael’s usually sells the but not this year. Any Canadians have a source for these?

  • 5 Jany@SuperCuteCookies // Feb 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Thanks for sharing, they are so cute!

  • 6 megan // Feb 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I found these cracker snaps at Packaging Specialties stores here in Seattle, though I’ve also seen them for sale online here at Impress. I’ve seen them at Michaels but it might have been closer to Christmas when they’d be stocked. Above I link the snaps at Olde English Cracker which come from further away but definitely made a louder snap noise. (I’ll make the link above easier to spot.)

  • 7 Marisa // Feb 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Cute! I can think of a lot of fun uses for these throughout the year!

  • 8 carrie // Feb 8, 2012 at 10:40 am

    How cool are those!!! I can’t believe they sell the snap part… unreal. The pretty little candy sleeves are really neat-o. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • 9 Petit Elefant // Feb 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Oh my, we’re going to have to make some of these. So cute and the kids would go nuts! You clever, clever girl.

  • 10 Danielle // Feb 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Awesome! I was going to make Christmas ones this past year, but we moved and I had to put all my supplies into storage. I am definitely making these for next year’s Valentine’s dinner party!

  • 11 Maria // Feb 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    What a great idea! Love it!

  • 12 Kristina // Feb 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I love party crackers, I will be making these! :)

  • 13 ansleybleu // Feb 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Love the skinny cello sleeves. Where are those from?

  • 14 Kayla // Feb 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I love the sparkler with the number! Where did you find that?

  • 15 Estelle // Feb 9, 2012 at 4:20 am

    wow!! so cute!! definately going to make one..or two..ok, lots of them!! :D

  • 16 megan // Feb 9, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Ansleyblue – The skinny sleeves are from a packaging store here in Seattle called Packaging Specialties. They are exactly like the ones that greeting cards come in, with the little adhesive flap. I also found them at Impress Rubber Stamps, but not in either store’s online shop. I think you could find them at any place that sells a whole range of clear bags.

  • 17 megan // Feb 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Kayla – It’s made by a company called Tops Malibu and looking at their page of sparklers I see a heart shaped one that would have worked great for this project.

  • 18 SassyKay // Feb 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Really fun project for Valentine’s Day! Thanks!

  • 19 Venessa // Feb 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    These are outrageously adorable. Now I have to find some time to make these.

  • 20 Venessa // Feb 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    These are outrageously adorable. Now I have to find some time to make these.

  • 21 Mom // Feb 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

    What a lovely adaptation of a traditional Christmas favorite! Custom-made for any occasion. Great idea.

  • 22 Melinda // Feb 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    This is such a fun idea! The effort taken to make these is a “labor of Love” in itself.

  • 23 Cheryl // Feb 13, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Too fun… such gorgeous photography… you make it look so simple! What a lucky family!

  • 24 Kim // Feb 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the inspriation. I really enjoyed making these… my family was so excited to see them. Can’t wait to get home to so everyone can enjoy the goodies inside. I made small modifications but they still came out great. Posted a pic on my FB if your interested in seeing. Thanks again!

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  • 26 Marilyn // Feb 6, 2013 at 7:44 am

    We always do “Christmas Crackers” but I’ve never done them for Valentines Day…that is until NOW! :D

    I’m hosting a Loving Valentine’s Day party and I’d love for you to stop by and share this great project!

    Have a wonderful day!


  • 27 Parma Gievchovsky // May 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

    WOW This is the BEST web site I’ve ever see. I love it. You’re an amazing young woman and I’m an aging lady with 5 grandchildren I’d love to share your ideas with. I know that we’ll all have a great time going through these pages.
    Question: Why are you giving this all way free of charge? (not that I’m complaining) I wish you great success in all your projects and happiness and good health always!
    Many thanks.

  • 28 Margaret // Jun 28, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Iv’e done something very similar with towel paper/towels rolls.
    I done like the “pretzel rod sleeves” idea!

    @ansleybleu : One can find them at any cake decorating store or ie: walmart, michaels.

    Thanks for all your ideas,,,,

  • 29 Margaret // Jun 28, 2013 at 5:35 am

    opps,,,,toliet rolls<smiles

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  • 34 Sieg // May 5, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Can you PLEASE tell me where you buy the skinny plastic sleeves?? I have been searching everywhere!!

  • 35 megan // May 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Sieg – Sure, they are called Candy Tubes and I found them here at Impress:

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