How to Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Want to add a more creative touch to a gift?

Making your own gift-wrap is both economical and quite easy. With a little time, effort, and imagination, every gift you give, whether it’s homemade or store-bought, could be more personal and unique. By using a few simple techniques, and some common household items, anyone can successfully print original designs onto paper.

To decorate everyday brown wrapping paper or shelf paper, try the method called string-pulling. Begin by snipping off about three feet of the paper you wish to use. Find some twine or sturdy string. The heavier the string you use, the heavier the finished design will be. Cut the selected string on longer than 2 to 3 feet, about one arm’s length. Dip the string into poster paint and squeeze out the excess. Never use more than two colors while string-pulling. If more colors are used, the design may become distorted.

Lay the string onto the paper and assemble into any design you wish. Fold a piece of newspaper into a square that fits the size of the paper you are using. Place the newspaper on top of the string and push down softly with one hand. Make sure the tail end of the string can be seen extending from between the two papers. Using your other hand, swiftly yank the end of the string. This should be done in one quick movement. Dispose of the newspaper and let the patterned paper dry thoroughly.

You could also embellish shelf paper by simply using variously sized paint rollers. On a large table, assemble containers filled with a diversity of water-based paints. Cut the shelf paper in lengths measuring anywhere from 1 to 2 yards. Multitudes of designs can be created with paint rollers. Using the rollers as intended, alternating their widths, only using the rollers` edges, intersecting the lines created, crisscrossing, or placing lines diagonally are only a few interesting suggestions.

A wide variety of abstract lines and directions can be fashioned. When your printing is finished, lay the paper on a flat surface to dry for about 5 minutes. Transfer the decorated papers and hang them over a clothesline or shower rod to dry completely. When thoroughly dry, store the wrapping paper by rolling it up like a store-bought wrap.

Another interesting means of designing gift-wrap is by using ordinary vegetables, fruits, and household utensils. Some kitchen utensils that leave wonderful motifs are whisks, mashers, forks, cookie cutters, spatulas, and spoons. To print with fruits and/or vegetables, begin by cutting them in halves, slices, or wedges. Trim the edges off if needed to achieve the desired shape. Dip each section into different colored water-based paints and press them onto the paper you desire. Repeat this process when printing with utensils as well. Try to alternate colors and patterns, using your mind’s eye and ingenuity. To dry completely, lay on a flat surface overnight.

If you prefer a tie-died appearance, then regular paper towel and liquid dye are the answer. Start by carefully removing the cardboard interior. Roll about ¾ of the paper towel back up once again. Roll it delicately and loosely. Choose two different colors of liquid dye. Add ½ cup of the first color to a small container. Now add ½ cup of water, doubling the amount of water if you prefer a lighter hue. Repeat this process for the second dye. Apply a pair of rubber gloves to your hands and gently dunk one end of the paper towel into one of the mixtures.

Wait for one minute and remove, carefully squeezing out any extra fluid. Turn the paper towel over and repeat this procedure with the second dye. When this has been completed, cautiously unroll the paper towel. Gently place it over a clothesline or thin, long rod, looping it up and over so that none touches the ground. Allow the toweling to dry completely. There is another way to tie-dye paper towel, producing a feathered appearance.

To try this method, simply rip off about 3 or 4 sheets of the toweling, leaving them connected. Fold the paper towel into a square or triangular shape. Continue to fold in the desired shape until the toweling can be folded no more. Dip each corner into a different colored dye, preparing the dyes as above. Let each corner remain in the dye for about ½ minute. Unfold the toweling and dry as for the entire roll.

As you can see, making your own gift-wrap is not only simple, but also quite fun. Be creative while using any of these techniques. Try using your hands, feet, or even Lego blocks to print striking, distinctive designs. Many of the above methods could be modified to print on blank stationery or plain note cards. Attaching a gift tag that matches your newly created gift-wrap will double the awe. Your gifts will delight all without even seeing what’s inside!

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