So simple, yet striking! Via DesignSponge, some quick instructions on re-assembling a business envelope inside out. This could be interesting for a gift certificate or card atop your gift!

Looking for more free gift wrap ideas? Try the “Free Ideas” category link to the right!

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This Wrap Story is part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link in the right-hand column!


We know E. and B., who were married this summer, through our church. E. is the one whose bridal shower rose I documented in an earlier post.

This is one unique couple. They registered at some unusual places: Ten Thousand Villages and the gorgeous Heath Ceramics. In their desire to live simply, their first home is in a trailer park! Here they are happily riding into their outdoor reception on a tandem bike.


Image by Michelle McCotter

I got them some pottery from the Pasadena City College ceramics sale since I was so jazzed about it. I hoped the gift was in the spirit of their registry tastes.

There were a few challenges. First, I’d wrapped M. & M.’s similar gift in a gift bag. I wanted to try something different, but I didn’t have a box the right size. Inspiration hit when I noticed our neighbor was using a plastic food box to store her son’s toys. Ah ha!

We’d been eating salads all summer long and already had an empty box of mixed greens ready to go.

I cut the bride and groom’s initials from security envelopes and glued these and a red heart onto white cardstock. Next, I dip-dyed some paper I had to pad the bowls. I like this effect – it has the benefit of looking good even when crinkled.

I interspersed the dyed paper with strips of newsprint to protect the bowls, put on the lid, added a purple ribbon, and voila!

I enjoyed getting resourceful for this Wrap Story. I hope the gift and its wrapping reflect some of the quirkiness and shared values of our friends E. and B.

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!

For today’s free idea – an Instructables tutorial on making a gift box out of a cereal box. Click here for the step-by-step.

If this seems like too much work for you but you like the concept, go the simple route by disassembling a cereal box and regluing it inside out!

Looking for more free gift wrap ideas? Try the “Free Ideas” category link to the right!

This Wrap Story is a part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link at the bottom of the post!

A friend, E., was married this summer, and I had the privilege of attending her bridal shower in the weeks leading up to the big day. It was a gray morning, but we enjoyed good company and funny games at a neighborhood park.


Images courtesy Jessica Jew

By this time I had started work on Gifted, a line of reusable gift wrap. I was in the process of sewing several cloth gift bags, but what next? Knowing the gift bags couldn’t accommodate every size gift, I wanted to make something that could be used with a larger present.

With the goal of making another beautiful, user-friendly product, I made a rose that could be used in place of a bow. I had great material on hand – a cashmere top that never fit right. It felt luxurious, perfect for a bridal shower gift. I was pleased that its deep red matched one of the bride and groom’s wedding colors.

I sewed the rose and attached it to an unbleached elastic band. I got excited about the thought that E. could use it again. I glued two paper leaves to the box (wrapped, as you see, with kraft paper) and used one as the “to/from” tag.

Present-opening time! Here’s the happy bride-to-be.

She opened the gift and something spontaneous happened. Some of the shower guests said, “Oh! You could use it as a headband!” E. obliged and put the rose on. Doesn’t she look cute? I felt so happy that this gift wrapping turned into a small experience of its own, contributing to the fun, festive atmosphere.

It’s probably too lofty a goal to have every gift I wrap turn into a dress-up experience, but it was pretty fun to have it turn out this way this time.

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!