Make Gift Wrap Paper

by : Abigail Beal

Chances are at the holidays you’ve been tempted to make holiday wrapping paper. But you may have heard too many stories about needing to use potatoes and tempura paint that bring you back to your grade school days. Have no fear – you do have options! Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.

Okay this one does involve a potato….. but it’s good:

For this one you need to get some supplies. Yes you do need a potato. I prefer using a potato for stamping rather than a sponge because the potato gives you something to hold onto, and more importantly you can create your own customized look. So keep in mind that if you find a rubber stamp you fall in love with – the potato is optional.

You will need: acrylic paint in one or two colors, metallic pens in one or two colors, paper (can use traditional butcher block paper, white craft paper, or fancy paper from the art store).

In terms of paper – think of the background color you would like to have. Your local art store will often carry many beautiful colors of handmade gift paper. Select a paper that has a porous and fiber-y texture to it – you want to be sure that the paint soaks into the paper. If you select a paper that has a shiny side to it, the paint will not set well.

Think of the design you would like to do. For this gift wrapping paper design you are going to stamp a design with your potato and then embellish it and add some writing to the paper. A good choice for Valentine’s Day would be to cut a heart stamp in your potato and then to write the word “love" or “I love you" on different parts of your paper. Or you could write a special message to the person you are giving the gift to. You could embellish the hearts with little arrows.

Good designs for your potato could be hearts, stars, lightning bolts, letters, numbers, arrows and basic shapes. Stamp your gift wrapping paper first with your acrylic paint and then allow this to dry for at least three hours.

Once the paper is dry then return to add your embellishments with your metallic pens.

Special Memories Paper:

For this paper you will use photographs that you like and visit your local copy center that does color copies.

Before you go to the copy center, think if you want to include any special messages on this paper. Such as wishing the person you are giving the gift a “Happy Birthday" or wishing your mother “Happy Mother’s Day". If you would like to do so, then type these messages out on a word document – select a basic typeface such as Times New Roman but italicize it and enlarge it to 18 or even 24 points. See how large you like the typeface. Bring a number of copies of this message with you, and a glue stick.

Lay your photographs out on the largest paper they have. This is usually a tabloid size of paper 11" x 17". Scatter your photographs, do not center them on any one part of the paper – remember that your gift will cover most of the paper. Once you have scattered your photos, add your special message to the gift wrapping paper.

Depending on how large your gift is, you may need to ask for several sheets of this paper. You may also choose to use larger photographs, or ask the clerk at the copy center to enlarge your photographs when they make the color copies. Also ask if they can make you a copy that is really shrunken down so that you can use this for the gift card.

S-E-C-R-E-T M-E-S-S-A-G-E P-A-P-E-R:

This paper is good for a humorous occasion. Probably not the best choice for a wedding gift, then again I’m not invited so what do I know?

We’ve all seen those movies where characters get a spooky ransom note made out of cut out magazines and newspapers. Why not create a special birthday wish or holiday greeting to a friend or a loved one? It will be something different and this is great for someone you have traded nicknames with and share a lot of jokes with.

Select newspapers and magazines. Tabloids are great because their letters are very large and clear. Magazines are nice too because they often use artistic looking typefaces, and this can add some variety to your message.

You will be doing this on 11" x 17" paper, so visit your local copy center and pick up several sheets of this paper. You will need this first to begin the project.

Now choose your message. Go through your newspapers and magazines and obtain the letters. Keep them in a pile.

Once you have your letters, line them up as you wish them to appear on the paper. Remember to space them out so they cover a lot of the paper and not just the middle. Use your glue stick and glue them down.

After your message is glued down, return to the copy shop and have them run your masterpiece off on the copy Xerox (if you did the other project they already know what you are up to….). Have them make you several sheets if your gift is big. Then have them make you a sheet that is very shrunken down for the gift card. As small as possible.

Leaf Rubbings Paper:

Do you remember grade school? Did you like it? One of the things I liked was doing leaf rubbings. We would pick up leaves and bring them inside and put them under pieces of paper, rubbing crayons over the paper to get an impression of the leaf.

Okay, stroll down memory lane over. I was just beginning to remember what the lunch room smelled like……

For this project that is exactly what you are going to do. Select some leaves. Get a box of crayons. I would suggest buying a box of crayons with a wide variety of colors because the more variety of colors you have in front of you, the more colorful your paper can be. Once you get started you may want to create several sheets of this paper. You will also probably want to test this technique so that you fully understand how it works on a small piece of paper and then do it on your gift wrap paper (just the way the hair dye companies remind us to do a test strip…..).

A good leaf tip: Select leaves that have good “skeletons" – that have stems and all sorts of edges to them. It will give your crayons more edges to pick up on. Small wide leaves won’t give much of an impression. But also try to select a variety of leaves. Take a nice walk through your community, picking up leaves on the way. You will be surprised by how many leaves are actually available.

Do this also one leaf at a time. Put the leaf under the paper and take your crayon and peel your crayon completely and break it in half. Then put the crayon wide side down on the paper, rubbing side to side while exerting pressure onto it. You will quickly see how much pressure it takes to get a good impression of the leaf.

There may be other items that you can use for this project. What else leaves an impression? You can do office items like paper clips – paper clips come in a number of shapes and sizes.

Well, these are just some ideas for your inspiration. As you can see, gift wrapping ideas are often right at your fingertips. You can create gift wrap out of something that is probably right in your home, office or backyard! Happy wrapping!