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 Seven

Stand-up Tag

on Collage

The collage features three papers: a photo of archtectural sculpture from a direct-mail car ad; a red gift bag; and ripped, brown construction paper. The bow is made by capturing a square of blue paper between the ends of an orange shopping bag string. Hot glue attaches the ends of the string to the card and the center of the string to the package. The resulting tag can be placed in a variety of positions. And it works as a handle.

Contrast: image/solid. Ripped paper/flat paper.

Three-band Wrap

A photo of roses, taken from a calendar begins this wrap. Dull blue construction paper contrast with the photo and with the red-foil bottom section. The three papers are joined by red foil string on the top and a band of pale-blue folded tissue on the bottom. The name tag is a small square of green plastic that gives dimensional detail to the wrap. The red foil paper is recycled from a shopping bag.

Contrast: Shiny/dull. Photo/flat.

Easy: Band wraps are quick and use up small pieces of paper.

Side Wrap Frame

Innovation & Textures

On a brown wrap, we have added a variety of textures. First is a layer of plastic wine-bottle mesh. Next we added a "frame" of folded green mylar, itself framed with a band of orange shopping-bag string. Then we made a red-foil folded-edge medallion and applied a white name-tag "L" using a scrap of self-adhesive paper from a label. The side wrap frame is a variation on the concept of ribbons and bows, making a unique and novel look.

Contrast: Multiple, differing textures.

Easy: Perhaps this is not the quickest wrap, but mylar and tissues are amongst the most permissive of wrapping media, because they are inherently wrinkly. This kind of wrapping is, however, a lot of fun, which brings its own kind of easiness.

One-Ribbon Speed Wrap

A Ribbon Fragment to the Rescue

The gold ribbon goes on fast in this version of a white-wrap. 12 dots with a colored pencil, a name, and we're done.

Easy: Yes.

Texture Wrap

You Saved it. Now Use It.

The base is pink tissue. The plastic pearls are the "ribbon," bringing a delightful texture that calls out for enquiring fingers.

Easy: Yes.

Contrast: flat & wrinkly/ hard and spherical. White/rose.

The Ribbon Sash

Transformation by Ribbon

This white-wrap takes the idea of the ribbon and places it around the sides of package, covering up the folded ends. The gold ribbon has a white wrinkly foundation made from a two-layered plastic shopping bag. The top is left bare for the tag initial.

Easy: Wrinkly materials are the perfect cover.

Contrast: stark white paper/sensual wrinkles of white and gold.


Tissue Conquers All

Tissue is the most versatile of all wrapping materials. Many gifts come with ample supplies of it inside the gift box. It recycles easily, since it is wrinkly by nature and survives storage better than anything. And it is easy to work with, hiding errors and encouraging invention, like the pink ribbon and bow shown here, which are made with a strip of tissue that has been folded over a couple of times.

Simplicity = Speed

Competes Visually with Other Wraps

This wrap holds a six-pack of soda. It is wrapped in thick white paper, without a box. We did use a hot glue to close it up; this make the package quite dimensionally stable. We glued on the recycled bow and the hand cut monogram/label.

Easy: A bit of wrap with hot glue. Tape on a bow. Cut and tape a mongram.

Simplicity = New Form

A Sudden Idea

The same stiff paper made this unique boxless wrap for a package of chocolate cookies. Once again, hot glue holds it all together. One strip made the column. Contemplating for a few seconds how much trouble round end-caps might be to make and glue, I decided to cut two squares of the stiff paper. A few dabs of hot glue around the ends of the cylinder were all it took to attach the end caps. A recycled bow and a hand-cut initial/tag finished the job.

Easy: A bit of wrap with hot glue. Tape on a bow. Cut and tape a mongram.

notecardsNotecards by John Boak— Drawings of Colorado & Utah