When I ran out of tube-shaped boxes to wrap a bunch of gift beers, I placed the last one in a smallish FedEx box and reached for a large piece of brown wrapping paper. This paper was salvaged from an exceptionally large shopping-bag from a franchise bakery’s catering service.

Once I saw that the orange band split the face of the package in half, I decided to run with the idea of a face. I took some scraps from black meat-tray foam and cut them into the pieces you see here.

I reached into my box of plastic bottle/carton caps and took two black caps for the eyes.

I sliced up a white food-take-out box to get the foam for the hair and teeth. The hair piece had an angle already molded into it, that would make it easy to glue on top of the wrap. I simply cut the overall rectangle shape and then sliced out the gaps to make the hair. The teeth were made from the scraps.

I tried a variety of ways of depicting the mouth, including two rows of teeth, and curved top and bottom borders for the teeth. But that greater realistic detail destroyed the iconic power of the four abstract teeth.

I would like to sing the praises of food-packing foam. It is an incredibly easy medium with which to sculpt shapes. It is too flimsy to be enduring in regular art objects; but that is not a problem in the highly-transient forms of wrap art. I cut it with a matte knife. Many cutters will work.

I enjoyed this mask-like design. It was second face wrap I did this season. The faces reach out strongly in a community of wrapped gifts.

Feathers on Foam

I was giving a present to a young man who likes animals and nature, so I decided to work with the contrast between natural materials and industrial materials.

I glued the gift inside two black foam meat-packing trays. I glued some thick cloth ribbon around the edge where the two trays join.

The fan of woodpecker feathers was actually salvaged from a wrap I executed a number of years ago. It was lying in the bottom of a box a miscellaneous wrapping resources.

An angled strip of gold ribbon added a flashy reference to traditional ribbon. It also has a shiny quality similar to the black foam itself; that commonality helps transform the foam from trash to lovely new material.

Lastly, I reached into my box of aspen scraps left over from sculptural work. I wrote the recipient’s name on a chip and glued it onto the wrap.

The result is a wrap with a richness of materials and texture, almost all of them unexpected in wrapping, but with a very warm effect.