Over a year ago I decided it would be fun to make my own wrapping paper. At a post-Christmas sale I bought a bunch of holiday themed rubber stamps for pennies apiece. The hard part was finding the paper.
It needs to be strong enough not to tear when wrapping a gift. It can’t be too slick or the ink won’t stick. But it also can’t be to porous, or the ink soaks in and blurs. Sure, you can buy plain white wrapping paper to decorate, but that’s more expensive per square foot than pre-printed wrapping paper. Not very thrifty. I was hoping some of the online orders being delivered to the house would include wads of packing paper I could upcycle — white or brown — but most were filled with plastic air bladders.
I improvised with paper grocery bags, freezer paper and plain gift wrap. It turned out fairly well for a first effort, but I didn’t think to take photos of it. But six months later, look what arrived…
I pressed most of the wrinkles out of the packing paper using an iron set at the coolest setting and got to work.
Despite my pile of holiday stamps, I have no all-occasion stamps. There weren’t any potatoes in the house or I could have made potato stamps like we did in grade school. Then I remembered a “signature chop” my sister got for me when she was in China. It’s supposed to say my name.
Along with the red, green, black, silver and gold ink pads I bought to make the Christmas wrap, I have lavender and aqua. I really didn’t want an aqua Santa or a lavender snowman, so what household object could I turn into a stamp for those? After some trial and error I discovered the flat round ends of old-time clothes pins make great polka dots.
Each paper has its pros and cons. The packing paper is perforated every 10 inches or so, and some colors don’t show up too well. With freezer paper, colors look great, but it’s thicker and you don’t always get nice crisp edges when you wrap.
While the polka dots are fun, I’ll still keep my eye out for a sale on some non-holiday rubber stamps.
Simple, but cute. For larger gifts, try wrapping them before stamping them. You can put the designs exactly where you like.
Of course, the best wrapping paper I ever saw was hand decorated by my niece and nephew. They’re both such good artists they don’t need to use stamps!