Kraft Paper Retrospective

October 29, 2009

While searching through old photos, I came across a few gift-related pictures I took before I started The Gifted Blog. I was amused to find evidence of my two rolls of kraft paper in action over the past two years. I purchased them at a dollar store and used the last of it to make the celery-stamped gift wrap. While it’s hard to believe those rolls lasted two years, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration.

I realize at some point I’m going to have to buy new paper, but, in fond remembrance of this kraft paper, I give you a modest retrospective!

Here’s the dining table in our old apartment strewn with gift wrapping  stuff.

These two are of G. opening a gift two Christmases ago. I gave him – don’t laugh – a bottle of castile soap. Unwhimsical and utterly practical, I know. This is a man who told me the best gift he ever received was a suction-cup soap holder to go on the wall of his dorm shower.

Here he is opening a Father’s Day gift last year. He wasn’t a father yet but we were expecting. I gave him a styptic pencil, which staunches minor cuts, to use in his shaving routine. I was happy to find something to combat a pet peeve of G.’s (i.e. shaving nicks).

And finally, here’s a gift from G. to me, packed in a basket we took with us on an anniversary trip to San Diego. Note the childbirth book – we were a couple months away from our due date!

Kraft paper, you have served us well. Here’s to many more gifts wrapped!


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!

Wrap Story: Mini Assistant

August 31, 2009

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!

My sister- and brother-in-law have been parents to a beautiful little girl for over a year now. Back when they were expecting, a baby shower was thrown for them with a book theme. The idea was to stock the little one’s library with stories for her to enjoy later.

Being half a country away, we weren’t able to go to the shower, but I was excited to get a copy of a personal childhood favorite for our niece-to-be. When I had the opportunity to babysit in the weeks before the baby shower, I knew exactly the project for my young friend:

Decorate wrapping paper!

Here you see the kraft paper in action. I used a few strips of painter’s tape to secure one end to the table and weighted the roll down at the other end to keep it from curling up. (I suppose that is one downside of kraft paper – it keeps a very strong curl, making it somewhat difficult to manage.)

My young assistant drew some lines himself, but he was more interested in having me hold the pens and then moving my hand around. Hey, whatever works.

I found some cute teal ribbon in my stash that matched one of the colors of ink. I paired it with a sheer gold ribbon to make a bow.  I really like the idea of kid-made wrapping paper for another kid. And I cannot wait until my own baby is old enough for art projects like this one!

Gift Wrapping Arsenal is a mini-series on the items I personally find essential for gift wrapping. As you’ll see throughout my blog, there is an emphasis on versatility, thrift, and style! For more, click the “Gift Wrapping Arsenal” link at the bottom of this post.

Our first apartment after we married was cute but compact, a little one-bedroom place here in Pasadena. It had a bright dining room window looking out into trees, hardwood floors, a purple accent wall left by the previous tenants and (big surprise) not much storage.

It was around this time that I decided to try using only one kind of paper for wrapping gifts. It seemed like a practical and economical move. Practical, because I’d only need to store one roll of paper. Economical, because a whole roll of kraft paper can be had for a buck at the 99 cent store! Take a look in the mailing supplies section.

Okay, so the rolls at the dollar store are a bit skimpier.

I personally like the neutral tone and feel of kraft paper, but it is definitely reminiscent of a grocery bag. So unless the recipient of the gift I’m giving is into:
a) an earthy, all-natural aesthetic, or
b) a minimal, no-frills look,
it’s a fun challenge to figure out how to dress it up.

Recent attempts have included:
– cutting images from Trader Joe’s bags to collage on the gift
– topping the box with a hand-sewn flower and paper leaves (more on that to come!)
– gluing a red heart from a roll of specialty paper on top

For its versatility and value, kraft paper definitely has a spot in my gift wrapping arsenal.