Make your own wrapping paper

December 1, 2009

Let’s get creative with Christmas wrapping.

I remember as a kid wrapping prezzies in old engineering blueprints from my dad’s office, and then spray painting them, taping suckers on them, gluing paper snowflake cutouts to them – aided and abetted by my mother (or was it the other way around?).

In the intervening years, I became more blasé and did the purchased wrapping paper bit (some scavenged from the family recycled box in the basement, from when we went “green”.) But now I’ve come full circle: the idea of more creative wrapping puts me in the seasonal mood and I get excited about giving.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves! Who has time to carefully craft yards and yards of fabu wrapping paper? Not me, and likely not you either. And, who wants to spend a bundle? Well, all right, we all spend a bundle at this time of year anyway, but who wants to spend a bundle on something that is going to be thrown away?

So here are some suggestions for cheap and cheerful wrappings for the merry season.

  1. Newsprint, tempera paint, an old toothbrush or paint brush, spatter technique.
  2. Kraft paper or cartridge paper, stencil film, spatter technique as above, or spray paint.
  3. Plain paper of some kind (see 1 or 2, above) with decorative paper like Japan Ogura Lace as an overlay. Spray, spatter or paint the plain paper for greater contrast. Or use thin strips of leftover decorative papers as decoration.
  4. Use a stiffish paper of your choice to score, fold and make boxes, envelopes and other fancy containers for small gifts. Here are a couple of links to sites for doing this:

    There are a lot more out there, so do some looking to find some you like. (See below for instructions for a simple square envelope.)

  5. Use any or all of the above methods to decorate purchased paper bags.
  6. Make or buy fabric bags and decorate with spattered, sprayed, stencilled or brushed on painted decoration that can become part of the gift or be reclaimed and re-used in the family each year.
  7. Have as much fun as you possibly can doing up your gifts in style.

Use these suggestions, or come up with your own (and I bet you can come up with many more equally good or better!) and be a cheapskate, and a great wrapper, all at the same time!

A simple way to make an envelope


You will need paper or card, a glue stick and scissors or craft knife and straight edge.


Cut 2 strips, each the same width, and 3 times as long as the width. Keep in mind that the envelope will be a square, with final dimensions based on the width you choose. Mark off lightly in pencil two lines so that there are 3 squares marked out on your pieces. Cut away the corners of the outer squares to create angled ends, having the angles slanting in the same directions. Fold the ends over the centre. On thicker paper or card, score first for neater, sharper folds.

Apply glue with a glue stick to the centre of one of the pieces, and then lay the other across it perpendicularly. Place a weight over it while it dries. When ready to use, place your note and/or small gift inside, fold the angled ends over and interlock the points.


Line the envelope with decorative paper; make a hole at one corner and attach a string so that it can become a hanging decoration; use more than one colour of paper; use ink, paint or another medium of your choice to decorate the envelope paper before cutting and folding.