Creative Gift Wrap Ideas:
Custom Papers and Other Materials

Creative gift wrap ideas,
focused on homemade gift wrap and
unexpected gift wrapping materials.

Sometimes you'd like to use a totally unique wrapping paper - a custom design, or a personalized gift wrap - for a special recipient.

Or maybe you don't have any suitable gift wrap, and it's a terrible day for shopping, and you need to improvise with what you have on hand. So, let's explore some creative gift wrap ideas!

Homemade Gift Wrap

Designing your own gift wrap is a satisfying way to channel your creative urges and make your gift presentations distinctive. You can reflect your recipient's personal interests, in your own personal style, and your extra effort will be noticed and appreciated.

Beginning with the paper itself, you can find all sorts at art supply stores. Dick Blick carries a very good selection, from economy kraft/craft paper and newsprint to bright white and vibrantly colored art rolls, in a range of widths. Most rolls contain a lot of paper, so just one roll can handle several creative gift wrap ideas!

Creative gift wrap ideas: lay a strip of patterned gift wrap over a plain color.
Try art papers for wrapping small gifts, or to accent your creative gift wrap ideas. A strip of colorfully designed paper looks elegant against a solid-colored background paper. Origami or bookbinding papers with dramatic patterns make beautiful accessories for the well-dressed gift. Check the scrapbooking department, too.

Stocking up on supplies. If you browse around the Blick website - or your favorite art/crafts or paper store - you'll find supplies to inspire and implement homemade gift wrap ideas:

  • Paints and markers (draw free-hand designs or trace patterns)
  • Rubber stamps and colored inks
  • Stencils
  • Block print materials (wood, linoleum, sponge, foam, even potato)
  • Decorative stickers and self-stick seals
  • Clip art designs for your computer

Unexpected Gift Wraps

Many paper items intended for other purposes are also good for wrapping gifts. Interesting paper items and other materials that can double as gift wrap may be found in almost any store, but you'll often find creative gift wrap ideas around the house:
  • Road maps make lovely wrapping paper, especially for gifts related to automobile, vacation, or business travel.

  • The Sunday Comics make colorful and entertaining gift wrap that's fine for kids of all ages. They're not too cute or flowery for men, and the colored ink doesn't rub off as easily as black newsprint.

  • Kraft shopping bags are perfect for homemade gift wrap with a back-to-nature look. Use twine or raffia in place of ribbon, and decorate the package with nature's ornaments, such as flowers, pine cones, or seed pods. Or curly parsley.

  • Creative gift wrap ideas: wrap two wine bottles in a scarf.
  • Dishtowels and tablecloths are creative gift wraps - and useful, too - for kitchen or food-related gifts. Or how about an apron to wrap a barbecue gift? It's easy to wrap a wine bottle in a dishtowel, or two bottles in a scarf, or a really large cloth napkin, or a really small tablecloth.

  • Kids' art work is a wonderful resource for personalized gift wrap (especially for Mom or Grandma gifts!). Designs that turn fingerprints or handprints into animals and other figures are messy but lots of fun. The kids will probably have some creative gift wrap ideas of their own - the Klutz books of hand art or spiral drawing are sure to provide inspiration!

  • Use magazine or catalog illustrations to explain a gift of cash or a gift card that's intended to help purchase a specific gift. Place the cash or card in a small box and use the picture as gift wrap or a gift tag. For a gift on order that hasn't yet arrived, wrap the picture in a small box with a note... "something's coming."

  • Wallpaper may be too thick to hold a good crease, but it wraps tubes nicely. Border strips are great to use over plain wrapping paper (as with "art papers," above). You may not want to purchase wallpaper as gift wrap, but if you have any partial rolls left over from redecorating, using it as gift wrap keeps it from going to waste.

  • Shelf Paper - the self-stick "Contact"-type paper is sturdy and especially good when you want to cover a box for re-use. Self-stick paper is opaque, so it will also conceal any markings on the box.

Homemade designs or unexpected materials
are creative gift wrap ideas that can
make your gift the star of the show!

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Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer, courtesy of
Wrapped bottles photo courtesy of Libby Graphics, all rights reserved.
Gift box photo courtesy of Microsoft.