Paper gifts go beyond the usual
2-dimensional thinking. Here are 3-D ideas,
both decorative and functional!
Many creative and entertaining gift ideas are made of paper and/or paper products such as cardboard. The first one I think of is books, and the variety is endless - truly something for everyone. We'll start there, then move to:
Home Accents made of paper
Fun Gifts made of paper
And here are the 2-D paper gift ideas, in case you missed them.
Books, Scrapbooks, Journals
For any recipient, it's hard to go wrong with books – nonfiction or novels, reference books, cookbooks, diaries and blank books to fill as you wish, coffee-table books, books of puzzles, and books about your recipient's special interests, whatever they may be. Here are some other kinds of books to consider:
- Scrapbooks and Albums are a practical way to organize photos, clippings, and mementos. Lately, creative "scrapbooking" has taken the crafting world by storm, and cool papers, artistic writing tools, colorful stickers and decorations are sold in arts/crafts stores. Scrapbooks and supplies are creative paper gifts for crafters, travelers or family historians, or you might fill and decorate an album for a milestone anniversary couple.
- Circle journals are a great way to stay in touch with faraway friends and family. Good gift for a college student! Each person fills one or more pages with news, comments, photos, etc., then forwards the journal or album to the next person. Creative embellishments enhance everyone's enjoyment. Three or four participants makes a good circle, so that everyone receives the journal fairly frequently.
- Hand made books convey the just-for-you feeling that recipients love. A hand-bound collection of the kids' drawings and/or writings will please Grandma or Mom. A book of original poems is a romantic gift for your sweetheart. Welcome your brother's fiancee to the family with a book of Mom's recipes for his favorite foods - a thoughtful bridal shower gift. Most art supply shops carry binding materials, or you can have your book bound at most print shops.
- Baby's First Years - give a new mom a journal to document her child's developmental milestones, and to add mementos like baptism certificates and locks of baby's hair. When growing children encounter infants, they're often curious about their own infancy... and proud that Mom has kept an official record!
- First editions and books signed by the author are of special interest and may increase in value over the years. Any recipient will doubly appreciate receiving an autographed copy of a favorite author's book. For comic book collectors, signed drawings are coveted one-of-a-kind paper gifts.
- A personal library kit will help your recipient manage loans of books, films or music. The kit provides labels and a date stamp so that the owner remembers who borrowed the book and when, and the borrower remembers who owns it. A great gift for a teacher!
Interesting Home Accents in Paper
People's tastes in home accents can be tricky, so it's wise to get a good sense of your recipient's likes and dislikes before selecting paper gifts for the home. Then, consider these cool ideas that most people won't have thought of:
- Paper flowers – OK, people do think of paper flowers, but maybe not a paper vase! And a paper bouquet will be welcome before spring flowers are ready for cutting. Or, you can nestle a few paper blossoms among the leaves of a houseplant to add a bit of color when Winter gets you down. Paper flowers are a nice project for kids to make for Mom on Valentine's Day.
- Decorative cardboard boxes - Round, square or hexagonal hat boxes and nested (stacking) boxes provide attractive storage for all those little things that you want to keep out of sight but handy. I use a stack for craft supplies and implements that would otherwise end up jumbled together in a drawer.
- Paper lamps, lampshades and lanterns - A paper lamp features paper panels affixed to its frame or base. Many paper lamps have an attractive Asian flavor that complements almost any décor.
If clothes make the man, then the shade makes the lamp! Purchased separately, a lampshade gives a smart new look to an old favorite lamp - a thoughtful gift for someone who is redecorating.
Paper lanterns are lampshades in globe, cylinder or other shapes, often with wire ribbing, that are used with hanging lights. Many are collapsible for flat storage. Paper lanterns are typically quite inexpensive. You can get strings of small paper lanterns in party supply stores. They're popular paper gifts for teenage girls to hang in their rooms.
- Recycled-paper gifts are real conversation pieces that display the remarkable creativity of artist/recyclers. Here are covered boxes/bowls and ornaments from a Central American couple, while another talented artisan offers a handsome belt and handbag made from recycled magazine pages.
- Rice paper screens are perfect for concealing a work area or providing a sense of intimacy in a seating area. Most have three or four hinged panels, some with Asian prints that are lovely when backlit, and others with plain translucent panels. Screen heights vary as well.
- Quilling, or filigree, is a paper art form consisting of narrow strips of colored paper that are coiled, pinched into shapes and affixed on a background. Quilling produces very imaginative and intricate designs. It is often used to enhance the design on a wedding invitation, which is then framed for display; this is a lovely paper gift idea for a wedding memento.
- Paper sculpture and origami produce amazing art pieces: figurines, wall hangings, jewelry, clever boxes and other functional objects. You'll find them at art museum gift shops, arts and crafts shows, and artist league retail stores. Support your local artisan, and I guarantee that your recipient won't receive other handmade paper gifts exactly like the one you choose!
Paper Gift Ideas, Just for Fun
When you stop to think about it, a lot of entertaining items are made of paper (especially if you count cardboard!). To name a few:
- Playing cards and score pads. A great gift for your bridge or poker players, cards can be personalized with monograms or logos. Your bridge players will be glad to have a new supply of scorepads, and so will your Yahtzee enthusiasts.
- Jigsaw puzzles come in many sizes and levels of difficulty, with wonderful scenes and designs. These too can be personalized; you can have a jigsaw puzzle made from your favorite photo. For the advanced jigsaw puzzler, try a 3-D puzzle of a famous building!
- Models to build are available for a wide range of skill levels and include everything from animals to airplanes, and boats to buildings. Model patterns are available in bookstores and many toy and hobby shops. These paper (cardboard) gifts are made for kids of all ages.
- Paper crafts – you or your kids might create paper gifts, or you might present the materials and instructions AS a gift to a budding or accomplished crafter. My kids and I highly recommend the smart and entertaining "Klutz" art and drawing and crafts books – they include materials, and extra supplies are available too. Tissue paper flowers, quilling, fairies, cards, origami, thumb drawing - great stuff!
- A letter-exchange kit is a terrific paper gift idea for a child and grandparent. Each is provided with stationery, writing tools, envelopes and best of all, tips and topics for intergenerational letters. When kids and their grandparents live far apart or seldom see each other, both miss out on an important bonding experience. Letter exchange kits help to bridge that gap.
- Go fly a kite! This is one of our favorite paper gifts for families! Kites and kite building can become an absorbing and educational hobby, and your gift of a paper kite can launch a lifetime interest. (Poke around the Virtual Kite Zoo to see what I mean!) Kites are excellent intergenerational gifts that provide good quality-time opportunities for kids and parents.
- Piñatas, available at party supply stores, are inexpensive and colorful paper gifts. Instead of bashing it apart, a child can use the piñata for a fun room decoration - and more. A hinged door can be cut in the back, if the piñata doesn't already have one, so the child can store treasures inside.
From practical to beautiful to just plain fun,
3-D paper items (including cardboard) are
well chosen gifts for everyone!
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Other graphics courtesy of Microsoft.