Wrap It Up!


Give your gifts personal style and panache with some fantastic hand-decorated gift wrap!

By Kathy Oberman

 Wrapping piles of gifts can be daunting. Don't let it overwhelm you! Instead, spend a quiet afternoon making your own fabulous gift wrap to make your gifts extra special.

Gift wrap can be simple or elegant, extravagant or modern - or just plain fun.

Use any kind of paper, as long as it's not too fragile. You will also need craft paint, glitter, stencils, stamps, and markers for the perfect touches.

In case you're worried, you don't need to be an artist to decorate your own gift wrap. When you decide to wrap the box, think outside the box. You'll be surprised at how little time it takes to make something look truly wonderful.

Wonderfully Simple Ideas
The easiest way to begin is with a roll of parchment paper, craft paper, or butcher's paper. Unfurl the entire roll across a room or large table, or cut generous pieces large enough for specific gifts.

Use a stamp or stencil with a festive design to decorate plain white paper. Stamping is the fastest, although once you hit a rhythm, stenciling is pretty speedy.

For stamping, choose red, green, gold, or silver ink pads. Use a ruler to stamp patterns in horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines.

To stencil, use a homemade or pre-cut stencil, doily, or cookie cutter to trace or outline an image. Once the images are on the paper, outline them with a colored or metallic marker, colored pencils, or craft paint. Or, fill the outline in completely with color.

If you use paint, sprinkle it with glitter before it dries. If you outline the stencil with craft glue, sprinkle glitter over the glue to make your paper sparkle. Either way, the glitter really dresses up the paper.

Be sure to let the gift wrap dry thoroughly before wrapping your gifts.

Elegance and Modern Minimalism
Use white, silver, or gold cellophane or tissue paper to fashion elegant, modern-looking packages. Gifts wrapped in these papers need nothing more than a bow, fringe, or beautiful ribbon to tie them up.

Craft stores and sewing shops have arrays of ribbons in various widths, fabrics, and colors, as well as fun fringes and tassels. They may be more expensive than the standard ribbons and bows at other stores, but they make all the difference.

Carefully stamp tissue paper with metallic colors, or scroll festive words on it with metallic markers. Use two or three sheets of plain, unadorned tissue paper beneath the stamped sheets to highlight the designs.

Another clever idea is to sandwich a sheet of tissue paper between two sheets of cellophane. Rotate the sheets so that none is centered on the other. Place the gift in the center and pull up the sides to gather the paper on top. Tie the paper with a ribbon.

Spray cellophane with clear spray glue found at craft stores. While the glue is still wet, sprinkle it with glitter or metallic confetti and then layer a second sheet of cellophane over the glitter. The top sheet keeps the glue from sticking to the gift.

Anyway you decide to personalize hand-decorated gift wrap will surely dazzle everyone who receives a present from you. The extra effort will make them feel a little more special and treasured during the holidays.