DIY: Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Amanda/December 09, 2012

Holiday gift giving is in full swing. You’ve carefully thought about your gifts, planned and guarded them like the great surprise they’re meant to be, or, maybe you’ve put no thought into them but want to make the recipient think that you did? Either way, resorting to drug store wrapping paper won’t do the trick if you’re looking for presentation points, and we’ve been known to wrap many a gift with a little creativity and a few household supplies. We thought we’d lend out our expertise and walk you through some great ideas for wrapping up your great ideas.

With most of these, it’s easiest to start with a plain background and packing paper from your local post office works great…you know what else works and you probably have already? Paper bags from the grocery store. Just remove the handles, split them open, turn them over so you don’t see the print and you’re good to go.

Typographic wrapping. You can find templates all over the internet for your favorite typeface, just download, trace onto the pages of an old book or newspaper, or really anything. An X-acto knife is nice for cutting out your traced letter, the more precise your cutting, the prettier the results will be.

Another good idea for jazzing up plain packing paper is to stamp it. You can get ink pads of just about any size or color at your local craft store or you can simply use paint you have lying around. Now for making your own stamps, there are a few ways to do this:

Go to the veggie drawer in your refrigerator for some great materials for homemade stamps. Cutting celery near the base makes a flower-shaped stamper and potatoes can be made into just about anything. In fact, potato stamps are a personal go-to, you can make these by simply cutting a potato in half and then carving out any design of your choice on the raw edge (see a full tutorial here).

A rolling pin is a simple and time efficient way to make a repeating pattern. Wrap your rolling pin tightly in masking tape (sticky side out) then place cut rubber bands around for a simple linear pattern. You can also use small sheets of foam from your local craft store (if you get the self-adhesive kind you’ll make your life a little easier, but the masking tape method works for these too), cut them into any shape you fancy and place on your rolling pin. Now paint on your ink with a brush and get to rolling.

Another thing that’s great for stamping is bubble wrap. We think covering your bubble wrap in a layer of white paint and then lightly again in blue paint makes for a great seasonal look, but go crazy with other colors if you’d like. Some of the smaller bubbles come in thin strips, for these we suggest  wrapping them around a toilet paper roll for easy application, or, simply using your hands to gently press the painted side against the paper…either way, the key is to be gentle when pressing against your paper. Too much pressure and your bubble will come out looking more like a blob.

One last, and very easy option for making your own stamp is using cans or jars or really anything with a round base or mouth. The raised edges of cans are perfect for stamping – our tip on this one is to use actual paint and not a stamper pad…it will transfer more easily as aluminum doesn’t absorb well from an ink pad.

Maybe homemade stamps aren’t up your alley; traditional store bought stamps can also be great. It’s all in how you use them, we like the contrast of the white numbers against the black…a not-so-subtle reminder that its not to be opened till the 25th. Hands off, friend.

Stencils. This one is obvious so we won’t dumb this down by explaining to you how to use a stencil. But, we think a nice take on this method is to do reverse stenciling. Meaning paint everything BUT the shape you want to convey. You can free hand your design or print out any shape you like, then just cut it out with an X-acto, give it a little spray with spray paint and voilà! You’ve got a cool looking gift.

Decorative tape. This one idea is very easy and for the lazy DIY-er. Let the tape do the talking and adorn your plain packing tape in anyway your heart takes you. Really anything sticky works….vintage stamps can also be a nice addition.

Stitched paper. If you’ve got a sewing machine, this one is a cinch! Any color thread will look great against your plain backdrop. We like a simple running stitch for this one, but if your machine does zigzags or loops, you can be one step ahead of us.

We’ve based all of our suggestion up until now on packing paper, which is a great and simple base, but another alternative base for all these is scrap fabric you may have lying around. Potato stamps work particularly well for this, just make sure to use paint or even better, fabric paint specifically, as ink pads don’t transfer as well. Then your wrapping can be a keepsake gift as well – two for the price of one, gotta like that.

So there you have it, some suggestions for making your own wrapping paper. The possibilities are really endless, so feel free to let your holiday spirit guide your creativity and show your love ones that this season’s gift is just a little too special for the typical wrapping job.

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