Sunday, March 8, 2009

DIY Sunday - Gift Wrap

Remember when we were kids, and we used to wrap birthday presents in the Sunday funnies? At least, I think everyone did that -- at least everyone in my town did. Of course, we also bought clothes in the basement of the hardware store. Nevertheless, as folksy as it might seem to wrap gifts in newsprint, it's a masterpiece of green living. You re-purpose the funnies as gift wrap. Those funnies can then be recycled by the recipient. Awesome.
Except today, it seems like most people don't do that. In fact, gift wrapping has gotten somewhat excessive. You hear on the real-estate porn cable channels that people have "gift wrapping rooms." Bows, gift bags and boxes, raffia and ribbons fill aisles at Target and Wal-mart. I admit, I love a beautifully-wrapped gift.

As I shared
in yesterday's post, however, March is a big birthday month in my clan of friends. Therefore, there's a lot of gifting. That can get expensive if you have to spend money on cards, gift bags, and tissue paper -- not to mention, it results in a lot of waste.
Here are a few ideas to reduce waste while gift wrapping, and to create lovely gifts that have your personal stamp.
First of all, save all kinds of stuff.

Most DIYers save things anyway; we acknowledge the transformative power that scissors and glue have over junk. All of the things above -- ribbon from other gifts, a burlap coffee sack, left-over origami paper from a second-grade project -- can be used again to wrap gifts.

Here's an example:

This is a piece of fabric left over from some other project, along with a ribbon I scavenged from a long-ago gift. The wrapping is pretty, and pretty easy. Just gather the fabric and tie it off. You could even stick a flower or leaf in the ribbon for added effect.

You can buy bags of fluffy paper scraps for stuffing gift bags, but you can also make them:

These are the remains of old envelopes. Again, this involves some saving. Gather some brightly-colored envelopes whenever you receive holiday cards. Stick paper through the shredder and you have your stuffing. It could also make some nice Easter grass, and is reminiscent of the little girl in the Edward Gorey story (I believe it was The Remembered Visit) who collects the insides of envelopes, back in the day when envelopes had a pretty lining.

You can also make your own gift wrap by cutting open a brown paper bag. Use stamps, paint or markers to decorate it.

I created this simple design by actually pressing the round ink pad directly onto the paper; no expensive stamps required. I like repetitive designs like this, and I like the imperfect, weathered look created when the ink didn't make a perfect circle.

I'm sure that there are many more creative ideas out there. If you have one, share in the comments section.

Coming up this week: Some celebretory gusto from my birthday weekend.

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