The simple act of wrapping gifts takes on a ritual grace at holiday time. With each crease of the paper and knot of the ribbon, you are creating a tiny drama that will be played out when the package is opened. The ideas shown here are designed to be something of a tease: Colored tissue peeks through sheer white vellum; cutouts reveal hidden textures beneath. You can use specialty papers such as colored tissue, glassine, and waxed paper, but even ordinary materials become beautiful when used in an unexpected way.
A pine-tree profile cut into gold tissue paper folds back to reveal a layer of silver tissue beneath. First wrap a box entirely in silver paper, then fold gold paper around it, leaving impressions where the edges and corners should be; remove. Outline half of a tree on the center of the wrong side of the gold paper, cut along the outer edge of the tree with a utility knife, and fold it outward in a neat crease. Wrap the package with the gold paper, centering the tree.
Tower of boxes
Several boxes are stacked and tied up in two giant ribbons. Each box is wrapped first in colored tissue paper, then frosted over with a sheet of glassine, available by the sheet or roll from archival-supply houses.
This package is made from a sheet of heavy, textured paper folded around a tissue-wrapped gift. The outer layer is a 12-by-27-inch piece of Japanese kozo paper (commonly known as rice paper and available from specialty paper stores) backed with green paper. Use a ruler or bone folder, available from art-supply stores, to make neat creases 9 inches, 12 inches, and 21 inches from a short side of the paper. Enclose the gift, bind the package with a green satin ribbon, and finish it off with a slim brown ribbon tied in an elegant knot.