Who needs patterned gift wrap? Adorning boxed presents with winsome paper, pipe-cleaner, and washi-tape tags and toppers in playful configurations makes what’s outside the boxes as delightful as what’s inside! The only potential downside: These gifts are almost too pretty to open.
Photography: Johnny Miller1 of 3
With just a bit of scissor work (and our handy templates), you can make your own paper embellishments for topping wrapped gifts -- including a pretty poinsettia, a tidy bow, and a cheerful clutch of berries. Or get a craft punch to do the work for you (the 3-D snowflake and tree-ornament designs were formed using punches). Holiday bonus: You don’t have to add a tag if you choose a paper decoration -- just write the recipient’s name directly on it.
Cut & Fold punch, by Martha Stewart Crafts, $20, michaels.com
Photography: Johnny Miller2 of 3
These crafting staples aren’t only for the grade-school set. Pipe cleaners can be bent and twisted into cool gift toppers (or tree ornaments!) even grown-ups can appreciate.
Bump-chenille and chenille sparkling pipe cleaners, in Iridescent White, $3 for 25; pom-poms, from $2 for 65; and wooden beads, 3/8", $4 for 71, michaels.com
Photography: Johnny Miller3 of 3
Until recently, this decorative tape from Japan was available only in a limited range of colors and patterns. Today, the selection has greatly expanded -- as has its popularity here in the U.S., where it’s sold nearly everywhere (from office-supply stores to big-box retailers). Here, four ideas for beautifying your presents with it.
Draw an Image
The dreidel art on the cardboard cylinder was a cinch to produce. We simply used two tape patterns in similar colors to “draw” a dreidel. Washi tape is often semitransparent, so where the pieces overlap, new patterns and colors emerge (as on the gift tag).
Instead of tying a box with ribbon or string, adhere tape down the middle and around the box, crisscrossing it with another piece of tape to mimic the look of a present tied with ribbon (as on the white gift box).
Make a 3-D decoration
We created the upright nesting-circles topper (also on the white box) by sticking a length of tape to paper, then cutting the paper into strips and bending the strips into circles. For visual interest, add another piece of tape, in a contrasting pattern or color, on the flip side of the strips.
Create a Frame
Adding a washi-tape border is a great way to highlight a design, as we did with the Christmas-tree image.