For the first step wrapping this medium sized gift, I cut down a white shopping bag and wrapped the entire box in it, using hot glue to secure the thick paper of the bag. I put a secondary blue wrap on the bottom, a piece of old Pantone paper. I then took a page from my magazine of the moment, an image with rectangular forms, a person, abstract photo detail and color complementary to the blue. I did not cover up the shopping bag’s branding, because the typography lends the whole composition a poster-like quality. Also the gift’s brand diverges completely from the this bag’s. Wrap Humor. To finish it off I took another magazine scrap and cut slices partway through it. I folded the uncut edge and glued it on top of the wrap. Carefully I shaped the teeth of this comb into gentle curves. The interplay of the rectilinear scrap & scissor-cuts with the curves of the actual spiral imagery in the photo & the shaping of the comb’s teeth adds a bow-like quality and completes the wrap.
Wrapping with newsprint is a frequent first thought for someone who suddenly decides to wrap without wrapping paper. I chose to give this old method a try using a scrap from a local chinese-language newspaper. The solution to newsprint innovation was actually quite easy to execute. I took one piece of used ribbon and wound it in a spiral around the box. The hardest part was looking through a magazine for just the right page, which would deliver a photographic abstraction up to the task of tri-partite contrast: Han characters, transparent ribbon, and photo complexities, all within my red-blue color world. I cut a wide strip from the ad and folded it along the edges to make a band-wrap ribbon, attached it to the package. Then a took the remaining scrap, folding it to create the same puffy edges; I glued this “bow” onto the wrap.
It all began with a box and the black paper. The gold pyramids had arrived a few months earlier. The contain pyramidal tea bags. The gold foil was on the inside of these beautiful little boxes. They had no glue, just folds and inserts, so I could unfold and refold them, revealing the foil. I know that ribbon would bring this wrap nearly to completion. I picked a fat one with gold edges. Next I added a thick plastic cap from some cosmetic product, an item that I had saved for a long time.
The wrap looked better standing rather than lying down. But it would not stand up on its own. So added feet. Its label was a stick-on file label.
One can start with a traditional form, and then add a slight variation which gives new visual snap. My base paper here is the shopping bag which took the gift home. I am using the inside of the bag’s paper, with images of fruits and flowers. I then proceeded to improvise with ribbon, using contrast of thick and thin ribbon, as well as contrast of light and dark, shiny and matte. I started with traditional ninety-degree ribbon placement. Then I began to look for the variation that would take the wrap a step past normal. I tried many ribbons placed at various places, but all at a forty five degree angle relative to the wraps edges. Finally I tried the black. Happy, I added another strip of silver cord adjacent to the black ribbon and then I was done. This was an easy wrap.
When you buy cut flowers they come wrapped in durable, handsome paper. And the sheet is large enough to do some serious wrapping. This particular sheet appeared to be a form of plastic. It folded and creased in a pleasing fashion. After wrapping the gift I resorted to speedy and reliable ribbon-wrap tactics. First I made a yellow band of tissue paper, gluing it on the back. I then added two strips of a thin, shiny red ribbon to back a border stripe on the yellow band. The little red square is made of craft foam, placed at a 45 degree angle. I then completed the wrap with the transparent-weave blue ribbon (which had been cast off at an awards dinner by the medal winners, and retrieved, rolled up and removed for recycling by yours truly) running transverse to the band. I made this wrap quickly: no time for innovation. A house to be warmed; a dinner to be enjoyed.
Marketing literature can deliver a lot when you are making a quick wrap. I had saved a large mailer with these tasty saguaro on it. The brochure was very large, so no words were revealed. After a bit of positioning and observation, I wrapped up the box rapidly. I added orange ribbon to complete the secondary color triad that was begun with the photo’s own purples and greens. And last of all I used a skinny piece of dark-green christmas ribbon. A delicious wrap in no time at all!
Berry packers buy some of the loveliest pieces of throw-away plastic in our world. When these two identical blue boxes passed through our recycling bin, I immediately diverted them into the wrap stash. This is the second one of these blue berry box wraps I have done. The first used foam boxes. This is shiny plastic. But, like its predecessor, it too had indentations that would happily hold transverse ribbons.
I sealed this pair with strips of thin-cut masking tape. That way I could avoid gluing the boxes together and maybe used them again. I then glued a pale orange ribbon onto the masking-tape seal.
There is a rectangular depression in the bottom (now top) of the berry box. It has debossed type. I made this type disappear by cutting and attaching a rectangle of red shopping-bag paper with rounded corners. Then I attached four pieces of contrasting and skinny ribbons: smooth white satin and rough burlap stripe. I did some simple weaving as they crossed on top. Choosing which ribbon to use was the hardest part of the wrap.
The last detail was to attach a small plastic Christmas tree that I had found lying in a path in Washington Park a few weeks ago. Besides being charming and different this wrap is relatively water-proof and even sea-worthy in minor floods.
Wrapping at the Florence Crittenton High School event this week, I was about to wrap the last gift in my assigned bag. It was a knitted cap. I wanted to put it into a box, but I could see none. They were already cleaning up. I was feeling like I should pick up the pace. The volunteers had outwrapped me in numbers of gifts. I was just finishing my first and only bag of presents.
Undaunted I grabbed a short half of a tube that had once had wrapping paper rolled around it. I took the gift cap out of its plastic bag, and carefully coaxed it into the short tube. I had two full-length tubes and I thought of pick-up-sticks and so I hot-glued the three pieces together. A beginning. It would need more tubes to stand up.
Scanning the adjacent wrapping room, I saw tubes under a table. I scuttled this treasure back to my room and commenced gluing. It takes a bit of patience, letting the hot glue cool down, before you have a structurally sound tube tangle. I waited, holding and tapping my foot, tempering my haste.
I said out loud, “What will I add for trim on the ends.” Jennifer (not Jenifer, if you have read the Purse Wrap post) said, “Bows! There’s a whole box of them.” I crimped the ends of the tubes. I glued the bows. The volunteers cleaning up kept at their work. But at last I was done. A hasty wrap, but distinctive nonetheless. The gift is behind the green bow.
The foam trays of meat packaging have a subtle beauty that emerges once they have been gussied up enough to obliterate their low-caste role in our lives. In this case I have taken the gussying process so far that you can barely see that beauty as the trim takes over.
The first step in foam-tray wrap is easy. Place the gift in a try, just as the butcher places the sausages. Apply little strips of glue along the top of the long edges (the short edges do not actually touch when two trays are placed together) and then apply the second tray face down. Hold to permit the glue to set. Alternately, you can tape the edges, if you plan to cover them with some trim.
For this wrap I had thought I would just run the blue-silver tinsel boa around the edge, my standard technique for transforming the two trays. When the paired edges of the trays disappear, the sow’s ear begins its transformation to silk purse. That change is completed by obliterating the debossed type (manufacterer and recycling info) on the underside of the tray.
Contemplating the wrap thus far, I decided against adding some new contrasting material and began a new round of the same tinsel boa on the shoulder of the tray, feeding the furry forest I saw along the edge. Then I added the silver bow over the debossed type. It becomes the central shrub in this new landscpe.
Some of the beautiful shiny black foam shows through. It is usually a central element of my foam-tray wraps. But here it becomes a subservient but sympathetic dark background to the complex light/dark texture of the mylar tinsel. It’s quite a transformation, from trash to tiara. This gift has a very eager, lively feel. It asks to pick it up and play with it.