How to wrap presents creatively,
using fragments of paper and
miscellaneous items from around your house


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All you need are pieces of paper, tape, glue sticks, hot glue or double sided tape, and these three ideas.


Absorb these 3 ideas


You can use small fragments of paper.

You can use odd, non-wrapping materials, such as twigs, bottle caps or even colorful breakfast foods.


Focus on the front of the package.

The back of the package is backstage; it's ok to let it be messy.


Contrast of color.

Contrast of light and dark.

Contrast of texture or material.

Contrast of line (angled paper on rectangular boxes).


wrap art book

40 pages, 7"x7", full color, hardcover or paperback.

Gallery Thirteen

Popsicle Exoskeleton

With Signage

This new design helps the present to avoid being lost in a pile of presents. Your architect friends will be amused, too. The package is wrapped in a scrap of foil paper. Popsicle sticks have then been glued on with hot glue. Black paper triangles, cut from a corporate pocket folder, went on next. A tiny billboard of red foil christmas paper adds counterpoint to the blue foil wrap. Lastly, a white name sign is glued perpendicularly to the package surface.

Contrast: Contrast of papers. Contrast of expected plain package and unexpected superstructure.

Easy: Mid-level degree of difficulty. Popsicle-stick gluing is not that difficult. Improvised design of all elements is a bit more difficult.

Feather the Ribbon

Wrap Materials are Everywhere

While walking in the park this summer I came upon the aftermath of a woodpecker's bad day. The bird was gone, but I gathered up a substantial pile of feathers, which had remained.

This wrap is a two-paper using brown rough wrap and blue construction paper. I glued on the feather pairs, then ran a small fragment of dull-green ribbon down the center. I finished with three small wooden spheres from my box of random useful things. The label consists of messy, quick handwriting consistent with the rough brown paper.

Contrast: Blue & green vs. orange feathers. Contrast of textures. Simple paper surfaces vs. feathers, spheres and ribbon.

Easy: If you have the materials, this goes together very quickly.

Dental Wrap

Wrap Materials are Everywhere

While at the dentist I noticed what a delightful purple paper they had placed upon my chest. I asked for a sample, which they gave me along with some dental floss. I used them both. The green ribbon is a scrap of actual ribbon.

Contrast: Contrast of textures. Contrast pain of dentistry and the pleasure of giving.

Easy: very.

Image Collage


Magazines and mailers offer a wealth of wrapping paper with delightful image textures. This collage uses a magazine image, a fund-raisers map, and a scrap of seasonal foil paper, along with red and black scraps.

The angled composition places the five pieces in 2 groups: tilted pieces and not-tilted pieces.

Contrast: Contrast of image textures. Foil and flat. Photo and map (image and abstraction.)

Easy: Yes.

Ribbon Cross

On Shopping Bag

Sometimes a more traditional approach is requisite. This wrap starts with the disassembly of a pewter shopping bag from a major retailer. Then I added a brown-paper band with folded edges. Black ribbon is next, bold on top of the developing low-key palate of colors. I wanted to add some transparent gold ribbon and should have done it first. I passed it twice under the brown band, taping it on the back (for easy recycling). Then I took a small fragment of red wire-edge ribbon, folding it back and forth like ribbon candy, shaping its curves. It is fastened to the black ribbon with a paper clip (again, for easy recycling). Last of all I made the label, a rhomboid of white paper, and hot-glued it at an angle, to cast a shadow and more dimensionality.

Contrast: Ascending levels of color/texture contrast from pewter/gold/brown to red, black, white.

Easy: This is one is pretty easy.

Image Collage


One magazine image and one marketing flyer image combine with ribbon and black paper to make a unique chord of feeling in low-key color.

Contrast: Nature and factory. Ribbon and photography,

Easy: Yes.

Bottle Wrap

The Recycler's Gift Box

For the avid recycler, here is a wrap with a smooth shiny modern feel. The white wrap is a facial cream bottle. The clear plastic labels can be completely removed. The bottle has had its neck removed and it has been cut almost in half to make a hinged container. The short ribbon hides the cut. The gold ribbon is stuffed into the neck hole.

Contrast: Smooth plastic, frilly gold ribbon. Contrast of the materials and purpose: everyday product vs. unique gift

Easy: This is one for the avid crafter. The bottle needs a bit of preparation, including the use of cutting devices.

How to: Click here for a page on technique.

notecardsNotecards by John Boak— Drawings of Colorado & Utah