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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Based on traditional Japanese furoshiki, illustrator Jenn Playford has started a line of cloth gift wraps printed with her own designs. I first heard about Furochic through CraftStylish, where they hosted a giveaway.

I had just begun The Gifted Blog and was excited to see an alternative to wrapping with paper. I didn’t win, but Jenn graciously followed up with me to send some samples. Thank you, Jenn!

Of course you can wrap gifts with any kind of fabric, but I appreciate the creative license she has been able to take with these in printing them with her own graphics. My only complaint is that her appealing designs don’t show up quite as crisply as I would like on the fabric.

Jenn also recently published a book titled Wrapagami, which shows how to execute a variety of wrapping techniques with a simple square piece of cloth.

Today I gave a Furochic a try on a fine bottle of cabernet we happened to have in the pantry.

Using the pictures on the Furochic label as a guide (similar to these), I wrapped the bottle in the cloth. My first try was not so cute. I went back to tighten up the fabric and make the knots a little crisper. Voila!

I like the little handle embellishment on the top. My husband saw the bottle and said, “Whoa. That looks crazy. Like something from Dr. Seuss.”

The Furochic are a nice, generous size and can be used to wrap even odd-shaped gifts. To pass on the generosity, I’m happy to announce a giveaway of this Cherry Blossom Furochic!

To enter, leave a comment before 8pm Friday (PST) telling us the gift you imagine wrapping in it. The lucky winner will receive the Furochic pictured below, which includes a length of grosgrain ribbon and coordinating gift tag.

Good luck!

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!

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!