Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas:
Disguises & Surprises

Recipients love unique gift wrapping ideas...
fun costumes and disguises for the well-dressed gift.
Here's how to begin.

Decorate a gift: tying a gift bow.
We're all happy to receive a gift wrapped in a standard box with a bow on top. But how much more fun when the gift is wearing a clever disguise, or a costume reflecting the theme of the occasion - now, that's a memorable surprise!

Looking for inspiration?

For unique gift wrapping ideas, apply your imagination to:

  • Your recipient's interests, and the occasion. Let broad "interest" themes like sports or music or gardening, and "occasion" themes like Christmas or graduation or Valentine's Day guide your thinking. Creative gift wrapping ideas will come from related symbols that can be adapted to clever gift disguises. Simple shapes usually work the best!

  • Offering hints - Some unique gift wrapping ideas give hints about the gift inside. My son Stephen received tickets to a Police concert cleverly Unique gift wrapping ideas - red netting resembles a fire.tucked inside a British bobby's cap (get it? the "Police," and British?).

    The gift in the photo contains fireplace supplies: kindling sticks, fire cones, and fragrant/colorful items in a small galvanized tub. The contents are covered with brown kraft paper to suggest firewood; then the whole package is loosely enclosed in red netting to resemble a crackling fire.

  • The shape of the gift or its container will often suggest creative gift wrapping ideas. Look at the gift from different angles, for ideas that can be represented with simple basic shapes. A disguise doesn't have to be perfect or complete in every detail to represent a given object.

    Even an ordinary box has potential for unique gift wrapping ideas. A deep box can represent something generally rectangular (a toaster or a covered bridge). A shallow box on its side can be a wall (add some entertaining graffiti); or, set on end, a bookcase. And the top of any box can depict something more-or-less flat (a football field or a keyboard).

  • Interesting materials - beyond the basics (below), keep an eye open for odd little household items that can provide the details (or the inspiration!) for unique gift wrapping ideas. I'll bet you already have a junk drawer in the kitchen or workshop, or a catch-all on your desk or bureau. If you don't, I think you should start one - cool stuff accumulates there!
    Unique gift wrapping ideas: use junk drawer stuff to make costume details.
    Pen lids, bottle caps, twist ties, pieces of netting, corks, pretty pebbles or seashells, bits of styrofoam, picture hooks, stray nuts and bolts, prong fasteners - you name it! Among these doo-dads may be just what you need for wheels, a chimney, facial features, or other costume details for your well-dressed gift.

Build an Inventory

Certain supplies and materials are used over and over to implement unique gift wrapping ideas. You'll be glad to have these types of things on hand:

  • Interesting containers of all shapes and sizes... boxes, bottles/jars, bowls/cups, tubes, baskets, buckets, hats...
  • Tissue paper of all descriptions, new or used, white, colors or prints.
  • Poster board, cardboard, cardstock (index), construction paper
  • Background Paper - wood, brick/stone, water, sky, grass, sand, etc.
  • Fabric remnants and scraps; sewing notions: hooks 'n eyes, snaps, rickrack, seam binding, lace, elastic
  • Ribbons, decorative cord, fringe; yarn and yarn scraps
  • Craft/scrapbooking supplies, stickers, sequins, glitter
  • Misc. household doo-dads to use for costume details
  • Tools: scissors, Xacto/matte knife, stapler, ice pick, fasteners, markers, glue gun
  • Adhesives: clear and double-stick tape, glue stick, liquid glue, hot glue, spray adhesive
When you decorate a gift, it pays to think through the project before you begin, and assemble the materials and tools you'll need. Check the instructions to see if you need to buy anything (or find a substitute). It's no fun to be stopped short, halfway through, for lack of an overlooked item.

Disguises and Surprises

We're starting a library of disguises and costumes for the well-dressed gift. We'd be thrilled to include YOUR unique gift wrapping ideas - and photos! Please send them along, and you'll have our prompt attention. Meanwhile, we hope you'll enjoy using and/or adapting our ideas to surprise and delight your recipients.

Unique gift wrapping ideas: tube candle close-up.
Cardboard Tube Candle - A cardboard tube candle is a fun and easy gift disguise. It's reusable too, and it can be adapted for birthdays or the holidays.

When your gift wears a surprising costume
or intriguing disguise, it becomes more
than just another pretty box!

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Other photos courtesy of Libby Graphics, all rights reserved.