Not to be sneaky, but this post is also, secretly, a Tutorial Tryout. I just couldn’t fit it into the title in good conscience.

I was browsing Etsy back in September in search of possible products to feature. There doesn’t seem to be too much beyond the realm of gift tags, so I was thrilled to stumble upon this hand printed wrapping paper by Pam of paminboots! It was very fun corresponding with her about her craft.

I flipped over the woodblock-y style of the hearts and the graphic mushrooms especially. The designs on the kraft paper are screenprinted, and the hearts and mushrooms are – no joke – stamped individually by hand. What a labor of love!

Pam writes:

My mom loves mushrooms. Somehow, she never seems to tire of their cuteness, and she loves spotting them along the road when we’re driving and shouting, “Mushrooms!” Oddly enough, this is something I have taken to doing as well. Because she loves mushrooms so much, my brother and I often give/make her mushroom-themed gifts. I can just imagine how thrilled she’ll be when she sees all the mushrooms sprouting up underneath the Christmas tree this year and how annoyed my brother will be when he hears all us girls squealing, “Mushrooms! Mushrooms! Mushrooms!”

I love it. With all the commercially printed gift wrap in the world, how nice to have one that was made with just one mom in mind. You can see a full view of this beautiful wrapping paper here.

I saw this tutorial for a gift wrap covered canister on Instructables and wanted to try it before the holidays. Covering a container like this means it can be used and re-used, no worse for wear! I used the last of the 1-minute oats and was ready to go.

I followed the instructions pretty much as-is, substituting a scrapbooking adhesive and glue stick for double-sided tape. I painted the top of the lid so the printing wouldn’t show through the white paper.

The kraft paper Pam used for the hearts and hands pattern was plenty thick and covered the body of the canister beautifully. I hadn’t originally thought about using the two papers together, and I really love how the patterns look juxtaposed!

I am most comfortable with small-sized projects, so it felt good to make something that could hold a larger gift. And though it took time upfront, how easy is wrapping going to be? Just pop the lid on, maybe add a bow, and you’re golden!

As a treat for my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway of these heart and hand gift tags by paminboots. Printed on index cards, you can write the to/from on the front and include a little note on the reverse side.

To enter, leave a comment before 8pm Tuesday (PST). The lucky winner will receive the set of four gift tags pictured below.

Good luck!

Hello! The post you are looking for now lives at my new site, www.thegiftedblog.com!
Read all about it right here: Tutorial Tryout: Recycled Paper Garlands.

Tutorial Tryouts are trial runs of DIY ideas from the internet and other sources. If you find a tutorial you’d like me to test (or if you’ve tried and documented one yourself!), let me know in the comments. For more, click the “Tutorial Tryout” link in the right-hand column.

If you haven’t caught the undercurrent of thrifyness running through The Gifted Blog, I’m about to officially out myself.

This Tutorial Tryout is from The Complete Tightwad Gazette III. When she heard about my extracurricular reading, my friend said, “Charissa, you are cool, but if you think something is useful you will use the most frumpy things.” I can’t deny it.

But doesn’t this look amazing? I made it from a ramen package! Here is the reader tip.

We don’t buy chips, so I used what we had on hand. G. bought a multi-pack of these noodles on his last trip to Ranch 99.

I cut the top and bottom off a package and opened it flat. Then I cut it into strips. I thought about cutting in a spiral as mentioned in the reader tip, but it seemed like the packaging seam would create irregularities in the ribbon.

Then, treating each strip like curling ribbon, I pulled it taut along the scissors blade.

When all the strips were curled, I gathered them and held them in the middle. Then I used a strip to tie them together.

And that was it! I really love how the packaging printing shows through as the ribbon spirals. The bow is full and lush, yet there’s a hint that there’s something quirky going on. It would be fun to see what this looks like with the printed side facing out.

What do you think? Is this tightwaddery a yea or nay?

Tutorial Tryouts are trial runs of DIY ideas from the internet and other sources. If you find a tutorial you’d like me to test (or if you’ve tried and documented one yourself!), let me know in the comments. For more, click the “Tutorial Tryout” link in the right-hand column.


Today’s Tutorial Tryout tests an idea from artist John Boak’s Wrap Art site. His website is fun. It looks so professional that I was confused at first – is someone trying to sell me something? No, as far as I can tell, it’s just a man who loves to wrap gifts.

After poking around the Wrap Art site for a while, I got the feeling it was done by an artist. For one, each wrapping job is given a title (Ribbon Style, Angled on Tissue, Tricolor Marker Pattern, etc). And two, he makes notes for each project that have this visual analysis feel.

“The folding creates a finished look, with a slight pillowing effect which gives a rich dimensionality to the bands. The paper for the bands comes from catalogs and marketing flyers. They have beautiful textures. The paper just arrives at one’s house unbidden; it is satisfying to have a use for it.”

I love it.

I like a lot of his ideas, but this “Band Collage” really caught my attention.
Since I didn’t have an actual gift to wrap, I wrapped a business-sized envelope in pink tissue paper. Sometimes you give a gift certificate and want it to look nice.

I had some magazine pages saved that were perfect for this. (Yes, that is a hot pink print of a human brain. Thank you, Wired.)

I followed the user-friendly instructions and was satisfied with the process and result. I really think anyone could do this.

Here is the back of the envelope. Boak writes, “Take it easy. Focus on the front of the package. The back of the package is backstage; it’s ok to let it be messy.”

What do you think? I like that this could be easily customized for the gift recipient’s tastes and interests. Take a picture for me if you try it!

Tutorial Tryout: Bagelope

September 23, 2009

Tutorial Tryouts are trial runs of DIY ideas from the internet and other sources. If you find a tutorial you’d like me to test (or if you’ve tried and documented one yourself!), let me know in the comments. For more, click the “Tutorial Tryout” link at the bottom of the post.

A gift bag from an envelope?

I saw this tutorial on the Craft magazine blog and had to try it to believe it! Exhibit A, below: pretty card and envelope from SFMOMA, announcing our year-long membership (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

Exhibit B: several creases, two pieces of ribbon, and some scotch tape later…voila!

I added the three colored dots to cover my name and address.

As you can imagine, this bag can only be used for tiny gifts, but it definitely has some ‘gee-whiz!’ appeal. I found forming the bottom of the bag to be tricky, so you might want to try on an envelope you don’t care about first. Finally, a standard business-size envelope is going to leave you with an impractically skinny bag, so look for an envelope with more height for this project.

What do you think? Let me know if you give it a shot!

Tutorial Tryouts are trial runs of DIY ideas from the internet and other sources. If you find a tutorial you’d like me to test (or if you’ve tried and documented one yourself!), let me know in the comments. For more, click the “Tutorial Tryout” link at the bottom of the post.

After making the grocery bag pom-pom from the Creature Comforts site I was ready for more! I was most intrigued by this charming tutorial on printing with celery. So clever.

When I saw we had celery, I remembered the tutorial and excitedly went to get some acrylic paint. I happened to cut up a carrot and saved the end for printing, too.

I bought silver and white paint and used an old yogurt lid to put the paint in. It was most effective to start with just a few drops of paint and tap the celery around until it was evenly coated. Unfortunately, this meant putting drops in the lid frequently. It would likely be faster to use a brush to apply the paint.

As you can see, I am using my trusty kraft paper. This is actually the end of the roll, meaning it has lasted me over a year!

I went for dense rows of celery prints so there will be lots of decoration on the gift, even if the box is small. Above, you can see variation in the thickness of the paint. This was a good project to loosen up a perfectionist like me. Not every print will come out alike, and that’s okay!

To add dimension, I used white paint to stamp with the carrot end. The next time I would leave a little more of the carrot to hold on to!

This photo shows the opacity of the white paint in contrast to the silver prints:

All in all, an extremely satisfying project. I’m already brainstorming whose gift will get wrapped in this!

Hello! The post you are looking for now lives at my new site, www.thegiftedblog.com!
Read all about it right here: Tutorial Tryout: Grocery Bag Pom-Pom.