Saturday Art Club – Christmas Art Activity Packs

The Gallery of Modern Art was originally built as a private house for the ‘Tobacco Lord’ Cunninghame. You can still see some of the original features of the house today. The Tobacco Lords in Glasgow made vast sums of money through the Atlantic slave trade of sugar and tobacco. Their houses would have been decorated with expensive furniture. Try to imagine a Christmas celebration in a house such as this?

2. History of a Building Christmas Crackers

For our second activity in the art pack we look to the history of the Gallery of Modern Art building and all of the different uses the building has had over the years. From a house, bank, business centre, library to an art gallery. Use this as inspiration to create a set of 4 Christmas crackers.

You will need: toilet roll tube, glue, scissors, coloured tissue paper and ribbon


Decide on a theme for your four crackers. This will help you make the tiny paper objects to fill each cracker.
We made tiny books, a hat, a fan, an artist palette and brush, and some goods that would have been sold at the Royal Exchange. We drew the tiny objects on cardboard and used string, newspaper and glue to make them. You can chose this theme or your own one. 

Make your tiny objects first so you can place them in your toilet roll before you wrap it into a cracker.
Cut your coloured paper into a rectangle shape, large enough to be able to wrap around the toilet roll. Place your toilet roll in the middle making sure you have enough space at each end. Fill the toilet roll with your objects. Glue the outside of your toilet roll and roll press the coloured paper around it. Scrunch the ends and tie them with ribbon. Cut a gold circle shape and write on a piece of paper your theme such as ‘Georgian Mansion’.

Did you know: Christmas crackers were first made in the 1840s by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. He had seen the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) on a visit to Paris. He came back to London and tried selling sweets like that in England and also included a small motto or riddle in with the sweet. But they didn’t sell very well. Legend says that, one night, while he was sitting in front of his log fire, he became very interested by the sparks and cracks coming from the fire. Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half. In 1861 Tom Smith launched his new range of what he called ‘Bangs of Expectation’!

This activity was supported by a Glasgow City Heritage Trust – Heritage Grant.

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