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Project

Foolproof Gift Wrapping

Introduction


Back away from that rack of seasonal gift bags. Our crafty packaging ideas are just as foolproof and they'll make your presents felt at the holidays -- and at birthdays, weddings, and showers all year long.

Tie One On

If it's the thought that counts, what does a slapped-on peel-and-stick curlicue ribbon convey? You can easily make package toppers that feel much less perfunctory and predictable than a store-bought bow. Grab beads, blossoms, bells, or other bling from a crafts store and knot one piece at a time onto embroidery floss or thin ribbon. To make it truly personal, spell out a giftee's name with charms, or turn a locket into a gift tag (cut dark paper to fit inside, and write your message with a gel pen). These little touches have a big impact, which means you can keep the rest of the package simple. To dress up a gift tube (which is a nice way to bestow a holiday gratuity), we just taped a strip of pretty paper around the belly.

Resources

Assorted boxes and gift mailers, containerstore.com. "Orbs" box (far left), $9, katespaperie.com. Flower (on box), $2; bells, $4 per dozen; leaves, $1 each; beads, $2 per dozen; locket, $3; flower (on tube), $1; all at Toho Shoji, 212-868-7465. Alphabet charms, $11 per pack, the Ink Pad, 212-463-9876.

Ink For Yourself

Dancing Santas not your style? Custom-print your own wrapping paper using plain old rubber stamps. For a look that's contemporary, not scrapbooky, stick to clean graphic shapes and patterns, and press beyond common color combos: Try celery ink on olive paper, or shimmery gold on natural kraft paper. You can also stamp names in block letters (or write them with a matching gel pen).

Resources

Mini square stamp, $9; circle stamps, from $6; block stamp set, $20; alphabet stamps, $15 for set; ink pads, from $6; all at the Ink Pad, 212-463-9876.

Contain Your Excitement

What they lack in suspense, these semitransparent plastic vessels make up for in drama. We smoothed gold foil tape around the bottom of every lid and topped each one with a regal tassel. Attach the tassel by making a hole in the lid with a craft drill, inserting the tail, and knotting it. To size tassels to suit different containers, just give them little haircuts. "This idea is best for small tokens that come in fun shapes, like candies and flowering tea balls," Shane says. "The outlines make an interesting visual effect."

Resources

Boxes, $1 to $3 each, containerstore.com. Metallic film tape, $10, art-alternatives.com for stores. Dremel 275-02 multiPro rotary tool (to make holes for tassels), $44, amazon.com. "Chainette" tassles, $1 each, M&J Trimming, mjtrim.com.

Stick to It

Bright stripes revive even your lamest wrap attempt much better than a sad pile of scissor-curled ribbon. "They let you create extra-crisp lines and designs that look slick and modern," Shane says. Use fluorescent artist's tape or plastic lacing (that stuff you braided into key chains during recess). Colors really sizzle when they're contrasted against paper in a rich, muted shade, like brown or mustard, or a more organic texture, such as a marbled pattern. Tiny cards with matching envelopes make nice gift tags, or you can multipurpose some mini Post-its for a neat post-modern touch.

Resources

Pro Tapes Pro-Artist tape, $7 per roll, findtape.com. Rex-lace lacing, $1 per 10 yards, craftsetc.com. Gift tags, from $3, paperpresentation.com.

Sparkles Will Fly

Bust out these bedazzled boxes, and with luck they'll deflect attention from Aunt Linda's battery-operated Rudolph cardigan. The five-minute projects shown here include gluing metallic discs to the top of a plain brown parcel, or carefully sandwiching loose neon confetti between layers of white tissue paper so it jumps out when torn open (we stuck a few stray pieces on top, too). More shining examples: Swap ribbon for sequined string, or drag a glue stick across a package and pepper it with complementary confetti. Like the other confetti box, this one is designed to create some festive messiness when opened.

Resources

Metallic discs, $2 per pack, confetti.com for stores. Assorted ribbons, from $4, katespaperie.com. Gift tags, from $3, paperpresentation.com. Sequin string, $1 per yard, Toho Shoji, 212-868-7465. Confetti, $2 per pack, confetti.com for stores. Tissue paper, $4 for 24 sheets, containerstore.com.

Time-Saving Tip

"A good time-saver is to wrap all your gifts in similar paper, then add flourishes that reflect each recipient's personality," says Shane Powers, deputy style and home editor.

Source
Blueprint, November/December 2007

Reviews (10)

  • JeanConfetti 10 Aug, 2010

    I enjoy using wall paper as wrapping paper and finish with a contrasting ribbon. Its so unusual!

  • kFRED 9 Dec, 2008

    If you click on the print icon on this page, it will bring up all of the pages.

  • jean06 8 Dec, 2008

    I agree with joanhome! I cannot get past the first page here either and this has happened before on this site. Please...somebody....fix this!

  • SerenitySeeker 8 Dec, 2008

    Where did you find butcher paper? I haven't been able to locate any?

  • joanhome 6 Dec, 2008

    This web site is a pain, I can't get past the first page..This happens quite often on this web site. Someone should drag this website into the 21st century!

  • momburd 5 Dec, 2008

    I purchased a roll of white butcher paper for everything that needs to be wrapped. Works for ALL occasions and with the help of Mother Nature (pine cones, twigs, flowers, leafs) ribbon and markers, my gifts are a class act.

  • momburd 5 Dec, 2008

    I purchased a roll of white butcher paper for everything that needs to be wrapped. Works for ALL occasions and with the help of Mother Nature (pine cones, twigs, flowers, leafs) ribbon and markers, my gifts are a class act.

  • ashleyarsenic 23 Sep, 2008

    i do the same! i can get decent sized rolls of craft paper at the dollar store! i buy about 3 or 4 year!

    likewise about christmas, jayeandy!

  • jayeandy 24 May, 2008

    I do the same thing - brown craft paper all year, with seasonally appropriate embellishments. For Christmas, I try to stick with one colour scheme for ribbon. Last year all my ribbon was combinations of red, gold, and green. The year before, it was blue and silver.

  • rsvoboda 11 May, 2008

    I buy the brown craft paper and use it all year. It is very cost effective! I wrap all gifs in the paper and tie Jute twine around the box. In the summer, insert a freshly picked flower . Fall I decorate with orange-yellow leaves. Everyone knows my gifts by the way they are wrapped!