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 Fourteen: Band Wraps

Band Weave

In Brown Paper

Dramatic effects can be found using bands of any paper. This brown paper was came from the art store as protective wrap on foamcore I had purchased. After wrapping the gift in it, I cut strips that were 2" wide. I gave each strip two folds, making puffy half inch bands.

The strips may be taped on. I prefer using hot glue because it holds so well.

I finished this wrap with a single ribbon fragment, surmounted by a square of paper and a white ball.

Contrast: Dull paper; exciting shadows.

Easy: It is very easy; it is slower than simple wraps, because you have to make the bands.

Assymetrical Bands

Remembering Mondrian

Assymetry is liberating. I put on an off-center cross of gold-foil scrap-paper bands. Then I added the purple strip of construction paper, gluing it under the short foil band, and avoiding making it wrap ribbon-like all the way up to the top of the present. At that point I knew what to do. I added the piece of blue sparkly ribbon in a similar stop-short assymetrical way. I finished with a large rectangle of pink construction paper tucked into the long gold band, and wrapped down the side of the box.

Contrast: dull paper and foil papers. Rough and refined surfaces. Rectilinear placement and assymetry of composition

Easy: This is a very fast and easy wrap.

The Band Cross

Simplicity, Tradition & Recycling

The use of folded-paper bands is a great way to use recycled wrapping paper. The inevitable wrinkles and dings of the paper that one saves from others' gifts are easily hidden when you compose with folded-paper bands.

The base paper in this wrap is from a large sheet of florist's paper. Next come two bands of wrapping paper, and a third band of green foil paper. Lastly, I used a red ribbon. The gold cinch is made from a small piece of piece of ribbon, taped into a tube and slid over the red ribbon before it was placed.

Contrast: Dull paper and bright paper & ribbon. Flat and patterned paper.

Easy: Yes.

Mixed Bands

Haste Uses Waste

This small package was quickly wrapped with fragments from earlier efforts. The green bow was made of two scraps, glued separately under the purple band.

Contrast: Varieties of paper: flat, shiny, photographic, graphic, old & new.

Easy: Quick

Angled Band Wrap

Constructivist Recycling

The underlying green holiday wrapping paper was very abused. This loose wrap overcomes the paper's flaws. The gold and red foil-paper bands are angled, in contrast to the dominant 90-degree placement of most wraps' ribbons. To complete this constructivist composition, I added a large name tag; it is a triangle of flat dull black paper, wedged under a band and projecting past the wrinkled green holly-berry paper.

Contrast: Flat and shiny paper. Angled "ribbons" in a 90-degree world. One fat band, one skinny.

Easy: Quick, permissive.

The Band Cross

Simplicity, tradition & Recycling

The use of folded-paper bands is a great way to use recycled wrapping paper. The inevitable wrinkles and dings of the paper that one saves from others' gift are easily hidden when you compose with folded-paper bands. I added thin, transparent ribbon as a minor note of textural contrast to the repeating green holly-berry paper.

Contrast: Glossy pattern paper and flat pink label. Shadows and dimension on a flat box.

Easy: Yes. Making the bands is the most time-consuming part.

notecardsNotecards by John Boak— Drawings of Colorado & Utah