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.


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!

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.


If you’ve been following this blog for long, you are well aware by now that I am a fan of kraft paper. It’s neutral, sturdy, and a great foundation for all kinds of variations.

However, the downside of its versatility is that it doesn’t exactly scream “Merry Christmas!”, “Happy V-Day!”, or “Happy Birthday!”. It’s just brown, you know?

One nice thing to have on hand is a variety of gift tags to go with your plain wrapping paper. On some occasions it’s appropriate to write out a card, but for big gift-giving occasions like Christmas, a simple “to” and “from” is all that’s needed. And that’s what tags are for! I keep my tags in an envelope and store it with my ribbons and miscellaneous gift boxes.

I made these from a variety of paper sources – promotional postcards, a holiday greeting card, art exhibition announcements, and a wedding invitation that was too pretty to toss. Any heavier-weight paper can work. On some I’ve glued a blank rectangle where the to/from will be written. I used a standard 3-hole punch to make the holes.

Instead of having lots of rolls of paper on hand, why not have a variety of gift tags that can be used for different holidays and occasions? Admittedly, I’m still figuring out the best way to attach them to gifts – I sometimes have to have to knot the ribbon a bit awkwardly. But I still like using these to add a bright and personal touch to presents!

These miniature boxes by Kathleen of Twig and Thistle are meant for wedding favors, but I can see them being used for jewelry or other little gifts. Follow this link to Style Me Pretty to download the printable template!

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

Because I like making things, many of the ideas on The Gifted Blog involve a do-it-yourself component. For example, I enjoy making gift decorations out of garbage.

However, this may not be your idea of a good time. If you’re reading this blog, you likely have an interest in taking your gift wrapping up a notch, and I would love to be of assistance. As I am able, I will feature various gift-wrapping products for those of us who would rather not make them from scratch (and for those of us who just think they’re cool!).

Enter Krank Press. Elinor, printer and proprietor of Krank Press, kindly sent me some letterpressed gift tags and cards when I told her I’d like to write about them. I was pretty excited to see the envelope when it came.

Aren’t they cool? I was drawn to these bright, graphic designs.

A friend told me she was curious to see how I was able to embellish presents during the time I only had kraft paper on hand. If you want to go really simple with your gift wrap, tags like these would give your gifts a little punch. To see more Krank Press tag designs and goods, check out their Etsy store.

Our neighbor lent me her paper punches so I could work on a future Gifted Blog project. Being the thoughtful and artistic person she is, she dropped them off in a cute miniature gift bag. Since this loan is an act that merits thanks, but perhaps not a whole thank you card, I am giving back the bag like this:

Perfect occasion to try out a tag!

Finally, I’d like to announce The Gifted Blog’s first giveaway! To enter, leave a comment before 8pm Friday (PST) telling me the last gift you gave someone and how you wrapped it.

I will pick a random number. The lucky winner with the corresponding comment will get Krank Press’ exclamation mark gift tags and patterned gift tags with envelopes!

Good luck!

Who doesn’t like a free idea? Here’s a wrapping idea using materials that are free and plentiful!

A Fresh & Easy market just opened near our house and they’ve been sending store fliers every week. Noticing the bright colors and modern-looking design, I got excited to use it as gift wrap.

I wrapped the box on the diagonal for added interest, which turned out to be a bit tricky. A corner of the ad got chopped in the process of trying to make a clean fold.

In keeping with the grocery store theme, I took out some produce bags from the Armenian market. These ones are undecorated and fairly heavy-duty. Instead of following the cutting instructions from the tutorial I used for my last pom-pom, I cut the bag in one, continuous line starting from the top.

I made the pom-pom. Next, I used a wide band of bag in place of a ribbon, and tied the pom-pom around it to cinch the band.

A handmade tag made out of junk mail paper provides the finishing touch. It was spontaneously decorated with an image of Fresh & Easy popcorn chicken from that corner of paper that had to be cut off. Fun!

So, there you have it, free gift wrap! Of course, you can use any variation of grocery store flier and plastic bag that you like. Is this something you can see yourself giving someone? What are your free ideas for gift wrapping?