Aspen Cork Wassail Wrap

We are about to head up into the mountains for a family get-together, and so a little more wrapping was in order. The wassail’s bottle suggested tube wraps.

I took two pieces of fine corrugated cardboard packing material and joined them into one. That completely covered a bottle of fancy beer. I made a bottom for this improvised tube and hot-glued it in place.

I then discovered that a plug of aspen log lying on my floor just happened to fit in the tube. I made some little stop-guides out of carboard and glued them just inside the top of the tube. The aspen “cork” then fit perfectly and did not slide down in and hide its beautiful sides.

I glued some foil paper on top and also glued on a red snow-flake that I had salvaged from a holiday invitation. Next I added the purple ribbon, since the cardboard and the aspen were so closely related in color, if not in texture. The extra ribbon under the round white label completed the wrap.

In went the bottle. I lightly glued the cork in place.

Scrappy Materialism

Coffee-cup insulators are made of a delightful small-scale corrugated paper. I think of it as the elegant cousin of the corrugated cardboard that so much of our gifts travel about in during their busy lives, before and after wrapping.

This wrap sought to integrate that material into the vocabulary of wrap. I thought some scraps of silver paper constituted a perfect contrast to the flat, plain color and dimensional complexity of the coffee cardboard. I wrapped the ends of the gift with two pieces. I added some solid green, contrasting in darkness and low reflectivity to the silver. Then I added the two bands of cardboard.

Blue gauze ribbon, placed in wrap’s traditional 90-degree style, brings yet another note to our chord of textures. I did not want to cut the ribbon scrap, so I overlapped it with an offset, emphasizing its transparency and gaining two additional visual lines in that plane.

The name tag is an office-supply folder label.

Elegant Band Wrap on a Beefy Box

Many of my band wraps have been composed loosely, with an emphasis on layered diagonals. I wanted to try out a more strict composition, relying on the traditional 90-degree composition of ribbon wrapping.

I chose to do this on a very well-made dark blue box from a notable fashion company. Because the box was made of thick cardboard, I saw the opportunity to apply my bands only on the lid, allowing the collage to stay intact even as the recipient opened the box.

I made a variety of bands by cutting up magazines into strips and folding their edges. I applied only three, choosing them for their chiaroscuro qualities. After I had glued on the three bands, I realized I should have applied a horizontal band, in the style of ribbon wrapping. I slipped gold ribbon under the three bands and glue it in place. I placed the gift in the box after wrapping.

Snowy Mountains

Christmas is in two days. I’m going for simple wraps. I wrapped another person’s fed-exed gift in solid green paper. I cut strips of white foam from a food take-out box and sliced them into mountains. Hot glue holds them on the wrap. I added one piece of red ribbon, and a small name tag.

Revelation of the Gift: Thinking Outside the Box

As a member of the Colorado Yale Association Service Group I went to a  wrapping session at Florence Crittenton High School. The school serves young single mom’s.  In a unique collaboration with Denver Public Schools, Crittenton Services helps teen mothers stay in school and graduate, give birth to healthy babies, learn how to be nurturing mothers, pursue post-secondary education and acquire marketable job skills.

We were wrapping batches of five gifts targeted for a given student and her child: clothes, diapers, toys and supplies.

The stuffed animals were not in boxes. A volunteer offered me a tattered old box. It was small. Though I could have squeezed this  giraffe (with inner music box) into the box, my own child mind balked at the brutality of such stuffing. So I cut half-moon holes into the flaps of the box and enclosed the giraffe with the head happily emerging.

I then wrapped the box in a simple suit of red holiday paper, using a central folded-edge band to cover the join. I also made a collar to help the giraffe keep its chin up, to enhance it’s sculptural spirit.

I have played with exposing the gift in some semi-transparent wraps, but this is the first time I have let the gift out of the bag. It felt like a breakthrough wrap, a revelation to me and to the eventual recipient.

Plus the giraffe was clearly so eager to meet its new child, an idea perfectly in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.

I have included a detail image of the giraffe’s whole group of five wraps: a cow wrap, a two-piece wrap in foil with ribbon, an improvised triangle box with a simple band wrap, the giraffe, and soda-bottle pineapple wrap.

Cube-Box Band Wrap

Many of my band wraps have been on flat boxes or envelopes. I decided to try a variation on a small cube-shaped box.

I used pages from a magazine. And instead of working with thin bands exclusively, I began wrapping with two whole pages.

I laid the box on top of one page, folding one end and then the other just as you would fold the ends of a normal, one-piece wrap. Of course, there are only three flaps in this kind of end fold, not the usual four.

When you are done, the box will now have an empty, wrapless area all around the middle of the box. To cover that naked area, I cut one magazine page in half and made two wide bands. I folded their edges, creating the typical slightly-puffy edge of the wrapper’s band. I glued them in place.

Now the wrap was completely covered. The base was ready. I could begin the fun part of making the collage of layered imagery. I made a series of thin bands and layered them along the edges of the first, wide band. In no time I had an intriguing and engaging wrap.

Scrap Wrap

For my first wrap of the holiday season I thought I would cleave close to one of the core principles of wrap art: comfortable recycling. The gift went into a used Christmas gift box with a pattern of pine tree, pine cones, and candy canes. When I finished the wrap I noticed that I had inadvertently forgotten to cover up a small piece of it, visible here in the upper-right corner.

The wrap consists of rectangles of wrapping-paper scraps, accumulated over many seasons. I take the rectangles and make a small folded edge on all four sides. I then glue them onto the gift box.

Since none of the fragments were very large, I began the wrap by placing two thin rectangles along the center line of the gift box. I then built up the pattern of the other scraps. True to the wrap-artist principle call “messy back stage” the scraps curve around to the back, but do not cover the back side of the wrap.

I tried a couple of traditional pre-fab bows on the wrap, but their mechanical precision just did not agree with the casual, even goofy quality of the scrap wrap’s crazy quilt. So I began instead to build a scrap-wrap bow, using folded-edge strips. I started with a small circle of cardboard as a base. Then I glued a strip, folded it back on itself, and placed a second spot of glue, making one nice rounded loop. I repeated this procedure, adding progressively smaller loops until it seemed finished. As a last touch I made a small cylinder out of green paper to place, stamen-like, in the center of the bow. I took a folded-edge strip, rolled it up in a spiral-making offset rolling action. I then snipped off the bottom of the spiral with scissors, and hot-glued it into the center of the bow.

The result is wrap that takes its look from the very pile of presents that will soon be its natural environment. When used within a family tradition of giving it also has an archival quality, summarizing as it does many years of wrapping paper, and thus touching various tones of memory.