Did you see mafia member Katy Penman, from Girl Industries, on STV’s The Hour last week? She was talking about upcycling, and crafty ways to dress your gifts this Christmas. UK-based readers can watch here again (part 3) at the STV website until the end of the month, but here she shares her top ten tips to make the outside of your presents as thoughtful and unique as what’s inside!
1) Do your maths!
If you measure the longest side of your parcel, you need seven times this measurement in ribbon to create that wrapped finish – measuring before you start means you only cut off what you need each time.
2) Use your odds and ends
You can dress a plain box with that annoying last strip of paper from the roll that otherwise would go straight into the recycling. Or use your odds and ends, a couple of dabs of glue and some plain card to make a co-ordinating gift tag.
3) Think outside the box
Present too difficult/fiddly/awkward a shape to wrap? Stick it in a bag, pop a glittery bow on top, job done. Life’s too short to wrestle sticky tape.
4) Raid your tree
A teeny little bauble, felt stocking or even a handknit ornament look cute and pretty on top of your packages. And the recipient can pop them on their own tree, instead of in the bin, once the presents are all opened on Christmas morning. Or how about using mini tinsel instead of ribbon?
5) If you aren’t artistic – cheat!
There’s no shame in not being able to draw – I was kicked out of art classes at school and still managed to make a bit of a career of it! My top tip for Christmassy themed tags is to use Christmas cookie cutters as a template – just draw the outline onto a sheet of double-sided card (plain one side, patterned the other), cut out, punch a hole and you’re away.
6) You don’t need to buy fancy materials
See those cookie cutter tags I just mentioned – you don’t even need to buy the card. Use pretty packaging from toiletries or chocolates, pick up some vintage packaging from eBay, or do what we all did when we were little, use last years Christmas cards!
7) Shop from your sewing box
Great alternatives to ribbon can be found in your sewing box, or your local haberdashers. Lace trim, embroidery thread, bakers twine, even fancy yarn can make a cost-effective and visually interesting alternative to expensive glossy ribbon.
8) Use what you have
As well as re-purposing or upcycling other materials, don’t forget all those bits and pieces you have stashed away from last year. A fresh glance might inspire you to add a different type of ribbon, trim down your tags into another shape, or pop your gifts straight into the kids’ stockings, to cut down on the sheer amount of waste Christmas time can generate.
9) Do away with gift tags
You can pick up loads of letter stickers and other embellishments from shops which specialize in scrapbooking, card making or journaling. Think about adding the gift recipient name to the side of your package in stickers, or you can even cut letters out of the paper and stick them to the side of your gift. This is especially good for Secret Santa presents, where no-one needs to know who it’s from!
10) Have fun
Get together with friends for a gift wrapping party – a couple of glasses of something merry, a cheesy Christmas soundtrack, enough scissors and tape to go around and all your crafty ideas for making your presents stand out should make for a very festive evening. Pooling your resources will help your supplies (and your money) go a lot further!
As well as featuring Girl Industries’ festive products on TV last week, Katy also managed to show off a selection of gifts from Craft Mafia members and local crafty friends, including a hot water bottle cover from Sarey Poppins, upcycled matchbox gift tags from Miso Funky, cute tags from Asking for Trouble, notebooks by Pumpkinsputnik, Rab C Nesbitt portrait cushion from Angharad Jefferson, and a dinky cute dinosaur brooch from Madness of Many.