Friday, December 16, 2011

Homemade Wrapping Paper

 I've been wanting to make my own wrapping paper since last Christmas and since this year I will be strapped for cash (student loans, you know) I decided to make all my Christmas gifts- including the trimmings. I wish I could share some of the awesome gifts I've been making but I can't spoil anyone's surpise- especially since I would bet that about 95% of my readers are people who will be gifted something (Hi Mom! Hi Kris! Hi Tag!).

The first part of making your own wrapping paper is sourcing some cheap butcher's paper or mailing paper. My mom procured a giant roll of this brown paper at a paint store (paint for your walls, not crafting). I've also seen smaller rolls in the office supply aisles of grocery stores. Find it, buy it!

Snowflake Wrapping Paper
Glitter is always welcome in this project.
  • butcher's paper
  • a few sheets of printer paper
  • scissors
  • white paint
  • a wide paint brush
Start off by cutting a few snowflakes out of paper. It wasn't until last year that I learned of the best way to fold your paper for awesome snowflakes. If you click here, you can cut out your own virtual snowflake and  also see a little animation (it's fast!) showing you exactly how to fold your paper for maximum impact. Martha Stewart has some clear instructions on her website too.

Once you have about 6 large snowflakes and 4 small snowflakes, spread some white paint onto a plate and swirl it around with a wide, dry paint brush. My brush was about 1 inch wide. Hold the snowflake in place on the butcher's paper as you carefully paint over it. You can either do long strokes or you can use the brush like a sponge and stipple it straight down (as shown below).

White snow flake painted over with white paint
Let the paint dry for a few moments. You can add another snowflake while you wait for the current one to dry. After a few minutes, gently peel away the snowflake, trying to keep it intact, while not smudging the paint. If you can salvage the snowflake, you can re-use it immediately. Otherwise, just toss it.

I was able to reuse this sucker a few more times

And voila! You've got your snowflake impression! Now just repeat this a few more (dozen) times and you can make rolls and rolls of beautiful wrapping paper!

Mistletoe Wrapping Paper
Glitter and metallic paint is most welcome here
  • butcher's paper
  • a few potatoes
  • paring knife
  • pencil
  • green & white paint
  • clear or white glitter
  • paintbrush

It's potato stamp time! I had never made one and it turns out to be super easy. Just take any potato, making sure it's big enough to accommodate your stamp.Slice off a piece to create a long flat edge. Use a pencil to carefully trace out your design. The lead won't actually imprint, so just use the tip to mark into the potato. Then use a pairing knife to start whittling away the potato, like you're carving wood (not that I've ever carved wood before....). Now you're ready to stamp! Sooo just go nuts! I put two kinds of greens on a plate and swirled them together (not that you can really tell) and blotted the stamps right into the paint. You can also use a paintbrush to paint the stamps.

Delicate potato stamps
Keep going! *stamp* *stamp* *stamp*

Once you've reached the bottom of the paper, you can start adding the berries, which I did using the eraser side of a clean pencil. 

Before the berries dry, dust the tops with glitter! By now your green leaves should be dry, so go nuts with that glitter. Once you're finished, use the paper to funnel the glitter back into the container (if you can/care).

 And that's all there is to it! I kept thinking of other potato stamps I might like to try- maybe some boxwood topiaries with silver balls or a little Scottie Dog.

All wrapped up!