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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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?

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!

Time flies, and before we knew it, our niece was about to turn one! Inspired by the cute baby stuff at Unique L.A. last May, I set out to make her a personalized t-shirt. I embroidered her name onto pear fabric and used this tutorial from the lovely  Shim + Sons blog to affix it to a stripy shirt.

I like how it turned out. The wrapping was quite simple, since I was in a rush to ship it to the opposite coast. I wrote out a tag and pinned it to the shirt to mimic a standard apparel tag. I was excited to use this teeny kitty pin that I have had for ages.

I used some hand-dyed tissue paper to wrap the shirt and popped it into a manilla envelope. Nothing too crazy. I drew a few flowers and leaves for fun.

All set to go!

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!

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 in the right-hand column!

As the wedding of our friends H. and J. approached earlier this year, I was excited to plan their gift. They are a unique couple, and I knew that the bride for sure is a fan of handmade things.

Personally, one of my most-appreciated wedding gifts was a few books of stamps. Utterly practical, these were quickly put to use on the countless numbers of thank you cards we wrote.

I saw this tutorial on making a fabric envelope and got inspired. These two posts helped seal the deal. I was making one!

I wanted to gather all the essentials together so the thank-you writing process could flow. Also, the couple’s wedding theme was ‘correspondence’, with even a typewriter on the invitation. Perfect!

I picked a combination of fabrics that I hoped were suitable for a man and a woman. I sewed up the envelope and added a little slot for a pen on the left-hand side. Then I filled it with some handmade cards, postage stamps, postcards made out of cereal and other food boxes, and one of my favorite kinds of pens (we used this exact kind to write many a thank you card).

I had a few embroidered tags leftover from my last big creative project (a reconstructed t-shirt and accessory line called Phoenix) and couldn’t resist adding that last handmade touch!

I put the kit in a patterned gift bag and taped a card with a contrasting design on the outside. That was the official wrapping for this gift. However, it was wrapped before The Gifted Blog began, so I didn’t think to take a picture of it. Luckily, H. was kind enough to bring the gift to our apartment so I could snap some photos (yes, the kind of thing you can only ask of a friend…”Um, can you bring the gift that I gave you back to my house?”).

I like this as an alternative to throwaway wrapping. It might be nice to make a variation for gift certificates or other flat items.

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!

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!