I have finally run out of the stash of wrapping paper that I stockpiled back when I designed for a company that manufactured the stuff. This year I turned to simple materials that were lying around and dried flowers and seedheads from the garden. To keep a theme going, I used plain kitchen twine. Here it secures a sprig of statice and the husk of a leek blossom to a package wrapped in plain kraft paper (a grocery bag turned inside-out).
Splitting open a lily pod gives it a flower-like shape, with a bundle of small poppy pods standing in for stamens. This time a page from the newspaper serves as wrapping.
Here’s that same package showing the tag made from cardboard. This stuff shows up in the packaging of all sorts of things.
Craft stores carry tools like these scissors that cut an interesting wavy edge.
I’ve been collecting these kinds of tools, probably way more than I actually need. From the left: a hole punch (this one makes a triangular hole), scissors, a brush for clearing away debris, a rotary cutter (careful, these things can be deadly), a straight-edge ruler, the wavy scissors and a tape dispenser with two kinds of tape (easy peel and not so). In the back is double-stick tape, which is a pain to use but more effective than a glue stick.
I also save the ribbons from presents received. I even like the way they look stashed in a big glass jar.
A puzzle lover is getting her gifts wrapped up in the crossword and scramble pages of the newspaper.
A foodie gets the New Seasons (a local organic food chain) supplement. Now let me show you how to make those curls.
Let’s say you are wrapping a cylindrical object, like a jar of jam. Start by rolling it up in enough paper to make two or three layers (here we used a colorful double page from a Burgess catalog). Tape up the bottom, with an empty cylinder extending beyond the top of the jar. Cut through all of the layers of paper to make strips. I made these about half an inch wide. Different papers have different properties, so adjust accordingly.
Fully open the scissors (or use a kitchen knife) and hold one edge flat against your thumb at the base of a strip. Using light pressure, run the strip between thumb and blade from base to tip. Repeat until you have worked your way around the cylinder and all of the strips are curled. You can play with the curls like you would a hairdo, loosening them up or whatever. Tying them loosely with the kitchen string will bring them together to cover the top of the jar.
It’s a fun way to dress up homemade gifts from the pantry.
The front jar of pickles is done up in a comics page. For the small square shape on the right, I layered two colors of construction paper.
A flat sheet of construction paper was cut into strips down both sides, leaving a smooth strip down the middle. Layered on top of that is a comics sheet treated similarly. I held them in place with a piece from the ribbon jar before curling the strips.
Once you get comfortable with curling paper strips, one thing will naturally lead to another. Here, I’ve rolled a sheet of curls like the one used on the package before, making a kind of bow, and topped it off with a dried Chinese lantern from the garden. Richard loves the Get Fuzzy comic strip, so I used one of those from the Sunday paper to make the gift tag.
And finally, here is a gift basket (from Goodwill) with color-coordinated gifts, some wrapped, some not, and dried hydrangea blossoms tucked into the blank spaces.
Doing Elf duty is the happiest part of holiday preparation for me. Alas, I am fresh out of things to wrap. Guess I will console myself by arranging these things under the tree, amping up the seasonal music (‘Motown Christmas Gift’ is my current fave), plugging in the lights and settling down with a piping hot libation. I hope the coming days bring you all the joy you can handle.
OMG Martha, I mean Ricki, Great post! Your packages are beautiful! I’d no idea that paper would curl like curling ribbon & love this idea for those hard to wrap cylindrical gifts! I also have a difficult time throwing away ribbon from gifts as I know how much the stuff costs! However I’ve always ended up with a few pieces in several different drawers at home and at work and I can never locate them when I want to re use them. Your idea of using a jar for storage and visibility is absolutely inspired and I’m going to borrow it!
Peter~Oh goody! I was hoping someone would find some useful info here.
My sort of Holiday wrapping!!! Though I’ve got to use up my mothers old stuff first.
Great post, Ricki! I love using this kind of stuff, I had no idea you could curl paper like curling ribbon either. Your packages are just smashing! I keep all kinds of odds and ends that I could use like this. Thanks!
I love the idea of curling the wrapping paper like you share! Who needs ribbon? Although I am compulsive ribbon keeper. Your gifts are all gorgeous and the recipients must feel so lucky!
I love the gift wrapping ideas. The first photo is beautiful. And with my sister’s birthday coming up, this will be coming in handy.
Those are gorgeous. The curls are fantastic. Practical and simple.
Pear Ginger looks yummy too.
Lovely. Plain brown wrapping is my favorite.
To all~Happy curling, and merry merry everything else!
Really nice! I didn’t know you could get paper to curl like ribbon. Your giftees will love the earth-conscious creativity you put into these fun wraps!
Jane~Like so many discoveries, that one happened quite by accident.
Love, love, love this!! How amazing and totally original. I am not ashamed to say that I will be copying you next year!!! Oh, how I wish I hadn’t wrapped all my presents already! Fabulous! 🙂
Anna B~Only too happy to pass along some of my little tricks. Happy Holidays to you!
Your packages look great and I like how they’re thoughtfully personalized. I also love the idea of packaging that you can compost. My ribbon selection is now down to the roll ends so I’ll be stealing some of your ribbon ideas!
James~Steal away! That’s what this is all about.
Wow. Very cool Ricki. You are the queen of the three Rs! And you inspire me. Maybe next year I’ll give this a go. I hope you have a Christmas filled with warmth, laughter and love.
Grace~Thanks for picking up on the “three R’s” thing…and for the well wishes: we enjoyed all that and more. I hope it was the same for you, dear friend.
Very very clever!! Love the curled newspaper.
Janet~The curls seem to be the hit of this p[ost.
Checking in with my new iPad…Thanks!
Richard~Premature, but soon you will be thanking me and mean it…i think.