Dark Bands

Band-wrap collage produces improvised designs of rewarding complexity. While I do permit myself some level of choice in the printed materials I cut into strips to make the bands, I do not linger long on those choices. At this time of year I wrap faster and faster.

Thus the process of making band wraps allows me to become a captive viewer, as I feverishly pursue my craft, of the new hitherto unseen visual improvisation that is occurring in my studio.

Car Wrap

Toys are ubiquitous at Christmas. Why not a wrap that aspires to be a toy? Such are the thoughts a wrap artist may be driven to entertain on the 23rd of December.

I used a shiny blue mylar with built-in swirly pattern. The wheels are aerosol-can lids. I used pieces of corrugated box to make special gluing hardware whose job it was to make the lids attach to the thin and flexible mylar.

The windshield is made of soda-bottle scrap. Red chenille wires outline the windshield and passenger compartment, and make the steering wheel.

The bumpers, grill and headlights are made of fragments of a silvery shopping-bag paper.

The “C” on the hood is the present’s label.

Recycled-shopping-bag Band Wrap

I thought I might veer away from my recent fascination with discarded packaging materials and return to wrapping with paper.

Shopping bags offer some of the most amazing paper around, and it often gets discarded. I get some of my best ones from my alley dumpster. I took a red one from our supply and cut it apart apart to wrap the thin box pf this gift.

One half of the bag covered the gift. I sealed it on the back with hot glue. I then sealed both ends without trying to bend or fold the stiff paper. I snipped those glued ends to give them a precise and common edge. Then I folded them over onto the bag and glued them down.

Of course, rendered shopping bags do have their surface flaws. At this point in the wrap I had a major retailer’s elegant type crossing my wrap. Parallel to that was a crease from the lower edge of the bag. And last of all I had a neat round hole left over from the bag-handle strings.

So, I cut strips of red paper from the remaining bag fragment, and folded their edges over to make puffy wrapper’s bands. I cover the typography and the crease with two horizontal bands, gluing them to the back. I cover the bag handle hole at the top of the wrap with the third band. I placed it at an angle to make the wrap more dynamic.

I spent a bit of time looking for ribbons to add some complexity to the texture of the wrap. I settled on two pieces, a dark green horizontal to fulfill the Christmas color dyad, and then a red ribbon with a darker red velvet center and white dashes along the edge.

I labelled it freehand using a black marker.

Spiral-binder Cat’s Toy Wrap

Jan is our neighbor. She made this delightful and thoughtful wrap for our cat. The very small box contains a weight. Three document-binder coils form the attraction and action of this feline toy.

I am grateful to Jan both for the toy and also for her creative expansion of the boundaries of wrapping: wrap for other species, wrap that need not be unwrapped, and wrap that is an  active-sculpture toy.

Blue-Jean Wrap

I have seen some elegant wraps using cloth. It occurred to me that I could dig into my cloth scraps and come up with something different. Imagine my delight when  blue-jean scraps turned up.

I cut up an old pair of jeans to fit around half of the chosen box. Then I could begin to see the upper half as a shirt; digging deeper in same cloth box I found some of Linda’s old silk trousers. A little bit of matte-knife work and I had the second half of the wrap.

I  wrapped the gift’s box in rough paper. Then I began gluing the silk onto that underwrap, using fiber tape on the backside to pull and arrange the silk. Then I glued the jeans onto the box. It is messy on the backside but the front was tight.

I reached into the ribbon box and found the read and gold ribbon for the belt. And I went into the recycled bow box and found the red-green mylar bow. The name tag was a simple rectangle of paper, tucked into the jeans pocket.

Linda said it looked a bit weird. I thought it just looked silly. But it does have sculptural impact. I have strayed fairly far away from wrap traditions with this truncated human form. Let me know what you think.

Tinsel Beard

I have always been challenged when it comes to tinsel. As a child I led the opposition to tinsel on the grounds that it was just too messy. But some friends recently bequeathed me their supply of tinsel. I vowed that I would make my peace with it by finding a way to incorporate it into wrapping.

If  you like a neat and orderly wrapping table this is not the wrap for you. But, as you can see, I did find a way to apply used tinsel to a gift wrap.

First I wrapped the box in a piece of yellow paper that came from a direct-mail piece. Then I pulled out a batch of tinsel from one large ball that was part of my tinsel inheritance. I shook it out to give it a mostly vertical alignment. With my left hand I applied a strip of hot glue along the top of the wrapped box. I then placed the top edge of the tinsel onto the hot glue.

I then took a small strip of scrap paper, applied glue to it and then placed it on top of the tinsel in alignment with the underlying first band of glue. I pressed down to fix the tinsel in place.

With scissors, I made a preliminary trim of the lower end of the tinsel. Then I followed the above procedures to attach more and more tinsel around the wrap.

Next I took a piece of red-foil paper, gave it one folded edge where it would overlay the tinsel, and wrapped it around the top of the box using both glue and tape. I shook out the wrap to get red of loose tinsel. Grabbing my scissors I gave the wrap a tonsorial trim.

I folded some gold paper, rubbed on white dry-transfer letters for recipient initials.

Then I got out the shop vac and cleaned up the tinsel that littered my studio.

This wrap is very dynamic and silly when handled.

Little Holiday Lights

I was in a gift shop in Leadville over Thanksgiving. I saw some Christmas-lights necklaces for sale, and took the uncommon tactic (for Wrap Art) of buying wrap-art supplies.

What I had not expected was how difficult it was to turn this idea into a practical wrap. My first effort led to the black wine-bumper wrap that I made two posts back. That dark wrap simply looked better without the lights.

So this time I tried placing them on a plain white wrap. Indeed they looked much better. The lights are complicated visually: the contrast between the lights that light up and those that do not demanded the simple, bright background.

But the next problem was how to place them. I tried a system of four rows of six lights, but the fact that the necklace is a closed circle not a finite line made it very difficult to figure a path for the wire. I undid the hot-glued lights and placed another layer of white paper on the wrap. Then I pursued my final design, a meandering placement.

The little switch and battery case is hiding on a side of the wrap.

Some wraps go together with the greatest of ease. Others are full of surprises and obstructions in the path to completion. This simple idea was not simple in execution.

Once completed, however, this little wrap has a delightful power when placed into a group of gifts; the blinking lights are visually insistent.

Pine Cone Christmas Wrap

I was hiking in the foothills yesterday and noticed small pine cones that resembled both little pineapples and Christmas trees. It seemed they might be useful for wraps. So I gathered a number of them over the course of the hike. My left cargo pocket was so full the cones began to poke my leg.

This morning I took the cones and cut them in half on my scroll saw. Then I fired up my airbrushes and gave them some quick coloring: green on the left and red on the right.

The next step was to determine what was the best background paper to show the cone-trees. I had imagined it would be plain white. But a large remaining piece of shiny black shopping bag turned out to be the best. I used hot glue to seal up the black paper, which is very thick, needs to be fixed firmly, and does not look particularly good with lots of tape.

I then glued on the cones. The resulting wrap has a subdued holiday look, with dimensional richness.

Sliced-Box Tree with Wine-Bottle Bumper

In keeping with my fascination for cubist ideas, I took a small flat box of long proportion and drew a line from one corner to its opposite corner. I then placed the box on the table of my scroll saw and cut the box in half. By rotating one of the halves and joining it to the other with two pieces of tape, applied to the pointiest ends, I had a box shaped like a christmas tree.

I wrapped the box with paper from a large marketing flyer that had lots of solid black areas. This kind of coated paper makes easy folds and creases. With care I slowly folded with gentle finger work and trimmed with occasional scissorwork. I taped the folds and had a nicely wrapped black tree.

Next I took one of those green-plastic web sleeves that they put on one’s wine bottles to keep them from hurting each other, and trimmed it to wrap around the box. Its dimensional grid added symbolic pine branches, and, coincidentally, matched the angles of my sliced box.

Since the plastic was not large enough to cover the whole wrap, I was left with a triangle of space at the bottom. I added a patch of red metallic shopping-bag paper.

I thought the tree needed a star. I cut it from gold ribbon and mounted it on a small piece of twist-tie using hot glue.

And I finished the wrap with initials made with my ancient supply of rub-off type.