A couple of weeks ago, we shared a few tips on pressing and drying flowers. Dried flowers, wethinks, are a pretty nifty way to gussy up gifts (or greeting cards), especially during the summer, when wildflowers and roadside blooms are plentiful. Perhaps it was this that got our creative juices flowing, but suddenly all sorts of summery gift wrapping schemes started popping into our minds - some inspired by Pinterest pins, some by bits and bobs we happened to have lying around our crafting space, and some by works of art or archival material from various museums. If you’re looking to take your wrapping game up a notch or two this summer, we hope you find our roundup helpful!
- BEE AND HONEYCOMB: Bees, honey and honeycomb are frequent summer motifs. When we took a look at our yarn collection, we mentally saw this gift wrapping idea come together before making it a reality. To make the honeycomb, we first created a grid by tying five, evenly-spaced strands of yarn both horizontally and vertically, weaving the strands under and over each other. Then, we used yarn scraps on the diagonal to create the hexagonal comb effect. Last but not least, we bundled together some yellow yarn, then used a bit of black yarn to create the bee’s signature stripes, head, antennae and stinger. Finally, a bit of lemon yellow yarn was used to create the wings.
- WATERMELON: One of our favorite summer fruits, watermelon appears all over the place in gift wrapping schemes at this time of the year. If, like us, you order rainbow packs of tissue paper (so you never have to worry whether you’ll have some cheery/matching tissue to hand), you may well have all the colors you need right at your fingertips. We wrapped this gift using a bit of bright pink, white, aqua and forest green tissue paper, along with a few, small slivers of black wrapping paper for the seeds. That said, black tissue paper or white copy paper colored with a Sharpie would work equally well. Or, check your recycling bin for a magazine that has some shiny black patches in it - watermelon seeds are a little shiny too, no?
- FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND: Footprints in the sand are a pretty iconic motif for summertime and beach holidays. And, speaking of iconic, we’d argue no pet-human relationship is quite as iconic as that between man and dog. For that reason, and since we happened to have rubber stamps of both human footprints and dog prints on hand, this easy peasy gift wrapping scheme came to mind. That said, if you don’t have similar rubber stamps, a bit of pen and ink will make quick work of “footprinting.” Given its sand-like color, kraft paper is a shoo-in as the “beach.” Then, rustle up a few scraps of blue paper and you’re good to go!
- WAVES: When we visited New Orleans a little while back, we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art and had a wonderful time looking at the works on display. Among the many beautiful pieces housed at the museum was a gorgeous ceramic vase called “The Road of the Wind” by the Japanese artist Miyashita Zenji (we could not find an image of this particular vase to share with you, but do check out Mr. Zenji’s “Budding Wind” vase which showcases a similar gradient - it will give you an idea of the look we were aiming for!). The subtle, layered gradient effect has stayed with us since that trip, reminding us alternately of sunsets over oceans and over mountain ranges. Most recently, it inspired us to create a gradient of our own but in a different medium: papier-mâché. It was only a matter of minutes to mix together 2 parts flour to 3 parts water, rip up some tissue paper strips (again availing of our multi-colored pack) and layer them up on a sheet of tin foil. Then, we let it dry for a full day, just to be sure it had fully set. Once dry, we slowly peeled it from the drying surface and cut as needed to garnish our gift.
- PAPIER-MÂCHÉ FLOWERS: While we were making our papier-mâché waves (see #4), we got a little bit fanciful and found it was super easy to make some brightly colored flowers and leaves at the same time. We used tin foil to make a kind of rough mold, creating cup-like shapes that allowed our flowers to hold their shape as they dried. For the leaves, we kept the foil flat and pinched together both long and short strips of green tissue paper, making leaf pairs and individual leaves that, once dry, were easy to nestle under the flowers. While one can crumple up tissue paper to make flowers on the fly, the nice thing about the papier-mâché variety is that they really hold their shape.
- BEACH UMBRELLAS: Have some extra drinks umbrellas lying around? Use them in place of ribbon. We simply popped open several little umbrellas and snapped off most of the wooden stick, allowing us to lay the umbrella tops virtually flat on our gift.
- FABRIC ACCENTS: This is for anyone who, like us, has a bunch of cheery fabric scraps lying about. When we use a fabric we love, we’re always loathe to throw away the scraps, assuring ourselves that surely we’ll find some way to use them. Well, boom. Here’s a way. Use longer fabric strips in lieu of ribbon - and, for smaller pieces, a needle and thread (and, in our case, a few cotton balls) can quickly transform a scrap into a quasi-flower or bow.
- PAST MEETS PRESENT(S): If you’re a keen photographer, a graphic designer or someone with a knack for digital doings, be sure to check out the New York Public Library’s online digital collection. They have a rich assortment of materials that have been scanned in high resolution, be it menus, songbook covers, or old letters. What’s more, many of these items are now in the public domain which means you can use them freely for various projects. We had a quick search around on their site for common summery motifs - lobsters, beach scenes and oysters among them - and downloaded the TIFF versions of the ones we liked most. Then, we isolated the art that had caught our eye and created 11” x 17” PDFs that were easily (and affordably) printed in color at a local copy shop. Perfect for wrapping small gifts!
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