On top of being broke, I’m also kind of a serious procrastinator. When I was younger, I called it “hedonism” or “rebellion” or something, but now that I’m 32 I know it’s actually called “I’m gonna not think about it for a little while longer.” That’s the cherished character flaw that first pushed me to discover DIY wrapping paper, but my love for the creativity and the look is what has kept me doing it year after year.
This was my 2015 last-minute gift wrap that ended up being photographed by my whole family…? When throwing together my holiday nonsense, I ran out of wrapping paper, so shipping paper is all I had. Considering it was the day I needed to deliver said packages, I seriously just grabbed the closest Sharpie and doodled for like an hour. Since the gifts were for my mom and my sister, I drew them something pretty that looked cute with my Mom’s living room area rug. All of a sudden, I am Queen of DIY Gift Wrap.
I’m not the only one, either. There are a whole bunch of people who take DIY wrapping paper to the next level. Some outside-of-the-box thinkers have gone so far as to basically create original fine art on gift wrap that will eventually be ripped off and destroyed viciously with chaotic post-Christmas cleaning fervor. That’s the only downside of DIY gift wrap, it’s like a sand mandala: beautiful, but temporary.
I’ve grown really fond of this tradition because a) it makes me feel like I’m good at drawing which I am not, b) it impresses the crap out of my family, and c) it’s hella personal! It’s like a gift in itself. Nothing lets someone know you spent your valuable time on them than an original Sharpie drawing on a handmade gift wrap.
Sharpie sent me a bunch of their “Extreme,” bold permanent markers in the standard Sharpie shades – red, green, blue, and black – to create my BFF care packages this year. My two closest friends live on the other side of the country, so around the holidays we have some serious gifting to do to make up for the distance.
Sharpie Extreme is just like a regular Sharpie, but with a specialized fade-resistant ink. This is extra cool for decorating gifts because sometimes wrapped gifts sit under the tree or sit or out in the open for a long time. Family that lives far away needs to come a few weeks after Christmas, or sometimes you’re still giving holiday gifts in February, so your meticulously designed package is exposed to some serious elements.
Another great part of making your own wrapping paper is finally getting that perfect baked goods in space scene you’ve always dreamed about. Hey man, for some people, there’s nothing more appropriate on wrapping paper than cakes in space. You should be honored to have such a creature in your life.
People do some incredible things with Sharpies and thankfully they also post it online. That’s where I got 90% of these wrapping paper ideas. I even learned some cool Sharpie trivia! Did you know that Sharpie’s one nemesis is rubbing alcohol? It will take it off of pretty much any hard surface, no matter how extreme!!! that particular Sharpie may be.
That tip’s not only good for cleaning. I also discovered that adding a little rubbing alcohol to your Sharpie lines on paper has a cool watercolor effect.
After drawing on little rudimentary flowers, I took a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab and liberally traced over the lines with the wet tip. After each little blob dried (very quickly), they were a little bit washed out and definitely became cuter.
See where I messed up? SEE IT? IT’S ALL I CAN SEE.
I dropped a Sharpie onto the corner of the front of the box, of course, and ended up having to draw another weird little flower and branch to make up for it. It worked out but holy crap that was irritating. Thank goodness for the flexibility and freedom of doodling, am I right?
Making your own gift wrap is not a totally quick procedure if you’re trying to do anything fancy, let’s get that straight. These each took me a ton of time, but the payoff is going to be big when I get that text from my BFFs asking me why I spent my very, very valuable time drawing on gift wrap when I could have bought some and sent them their packages like five weeks sooner. Sorry, ladies, you know how I roll: late.
Aw, aren’t they cute? This was a fun project that I will definitely continue to do every year to a few gifts. Alternately, I think unrolling a bunch of butcher paper or packing paper like mine and drawing a large-scale design is a smart way to go. Freehand drawing on packages is hard, but it’s more fun than doing it the smart way. I like doing things that don’t require a ton of straight, stable lines… Which is why this design, which I copped from an artist on the Sharpie website, was a pretty intense undertaking that I will probably not repeat for several reasons, one of which is that if I look at it too long it makes me dizzy.
Or, at the very least, do the design on the paper before wrapping the package. That was my bad but this is how we learn… (*grinds teeth loudly*)
Have you ever tried making your own DIY wrapping paper?
Tell me about it, or better yet, show me your designs in the comments!