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 Six: 5 Gifts, Six wraps

Sometimes you want to put a little more into the project, using your wrap art skills to make a splash. This gift was a constellation of little gifts. I bought a fancy lunch box to hold them. Then I wrapped each present, fit them in the lunch box and wrapped it too.

The Outer Wrap

A Collage

The collage is fragments of brochures and flyers that came in the mail. The "bow" is made of thick white paper strips glue gunned in place. A ring of fat cord, taken from a shopping bag, is glued around the base of the bow; it pushes the white strips up.

The label was made on my computer.

Contrast: image/solid. angled collage & ribbon/rectangular box.

The Inner Wrap

A Lunch Box

The inner wrap is a gift itself, a flaming lunch box, containing a group of five wrapped presents. A piece of festive, clear wrap surrounds the team of gifts

A Team of Five Packages

Inside the lunch box are the five presents with a contrasting variety of wraps.

Contrast: many different papers. Multiple different textures.

#1: Big Sticker

With Ribbon

Commemorative postage stamps often have large images alongside the stamps. This one came from stamps honoring Hollywood and film making. The image is of producer Otto Preminger on a set. The recipient of this gift is a video producer. Red foil ribbons complete the job.

Easy: There are three parts to this wrap. The sticker goes on quickly.

#2: Junk Mail

Just the Right Piece

The wrap artist can, in this instance of multiple wrappings for one gift, permit the wrapping of small packages in a single piece of paper. This one was a piece of direct mail.

Easy: Yes: one piece of paper.

#3: Big Sticker

On Solid Wrap

Another postage stamp leftover is stuck onto a wrap of pink paper. When wrapping a group of small presents, the group benefits from contrast of visual style.

#4: Foreign Newsprint

Sculptural "Bow" of Natural Artifacts

This is a study in contrasts. The base wrap is a Pakistani newspaper pick up in a cab ride. Gold and red ribbon bring that vital extra element of complexity. On top I have glued on a carved twig and an acorn. The twig has two contrasting surfaces itself: a russet and gray natural surface and the fresh bright wood revealed by the carving. Altogether, the subtle contrasts between all the materials add up to a delicious whole, with a unique feel.

Easy?: No

Contrast: divergent materials. Flat wrap/sculptural "bow." High materials (ribbons)/ low materials (newsprint).

#5: Tissue

Foil Ribbon

Tissue adds another contrasting texture of paper to the team of packages. Foil ribbon contrast well with the tissue. And a commercial Christmas sticker adds the finishing touch.

Contrast: gloss ribbon/ dull wrinkly tissue. Red/green.

notecardsNotecards by John Boak— Drawings of Colorado & Utah