New Bow

I had no vision for this wrap. It was completely improvised. I started with a mylar sheet that made tiny square spectral-highlights. Then I examined a small rectangle of red and gold foil paper. It had acquired a curl while on the roll. It occurred to me that a small cylinder of this material could become a form of bow, since many bows rely on curves and curls, in contrast to the boxy rectangles they often adorn. I glued the red-gold foil into a stable cylinder. I decided to beef it up with some thick white paper. I made this second tube of paper and placed it inside the foil-paper to test it out. I liked it, including the extra white extending beyond the foil, so I did not trim off the excess. Next, I thought I would focus on the empty space of the new bow’s cylinder. I looked for sticks and dowels that might float along the central axis of the cylinder. I found these knitting needles, retrieved many years ago from the alley. I took a bit of white packing foam and pierced with the needles, placing them at a minor angle of variation, so that the dark green heads were further apart than the pointed ends of the needles. There I had decided I would attach the circular mini-poinsettia, thus locating the “knot” of this new bow way off-center, with only empty space below it. Nearing completion of the wrap I realized that the bow would benefit from being the culmination of an encircling ribbon, a traditional wrap form. I had no more of the red-gold foil tissue. I did have some white tissue with red floral foil. I cut bands, folded their edges to achieve a bit of puff, and attached the two of them perpendicular to the new bow. I made a trip-fold label and glued it to one of of the wrap.


wap art monument

The wrap uses the form of monuments: a rising shape on a stable base. In this case the base, which holds the gift, consists of two white plastic chicken bins, glued together along their parallel top edges. A white ribbon covers the join. The monument that rises up sits on a rectangle of very red Color-aid paper, left over from the Albers color course I took at Yale in the late sixties. The wood is a fragment of aspen that emerged while I was cutting up firewood at the cabin. The label is more Color-aid, glue to a thin and very long culinary toothpick. While the wood’s curving shape and visual complexity draws the eye, the architectural arches of the chicken boxes give an appropriate and honorable support to the monument.

Blue Bottle

I wrapped this 12″ square box with some large paper, a printed proof from a wall-size digital painting. Then I began collaging. I laid various objects on the wrap and eventually settled on a thin blue bottle I had found many years ago. But before I fixed it in place, I realized I needed a dimensional piece to intersect with the bottles end. I chose a black spiral binder spring. I glued it at both ends. Then I finished the bottle with a small red bow to cover the spiral where a bottle cap once sat. I double-taped the blue bottle along a dominant line of the photo wrap. I add glued two little stones on the end of the spiral to give a feeling of finish. I completed the wrap with a white bottle cap and Linda’s initials.


wrap art

I began with a large piece of paper, a black and white proof for a large digital painting. I could cover the entire box. The box was fairly large. That also meant that wrapping bands made from magazine pages would not wrap all the way around from the back of the wrap, across the face of the package and then returning to the back. They would barely make it from the side and across the face.

So I folded the ends creating the puffy quality that characterizes the edges of wrapping bands. Then it was a matter of slicing the magazine pages, folding those pieces, gluing the ends, gluing the side and slapping them onto the wrap. I do stop and study between the application of each band. I added a few special pieces on the sides and ends, to give some extra finality and finish to the collage. The wrap had impact!

Tray Beau

While cleaning some recycle-ables during kitchen clean up, I became fascinated with the lego-like textures of a black poultry tray. I saved two. The first step was to create a foam and tissue cradle for the gift. I then sealed up the two trays with four spots of glue. I moved on to the contemplative phase of the piece. I place various pieces of ribbon adjacent to see what felt good. I considered other material additions too, natural or man-made objects.

I decided to use mostly ribbon and ran a silver ribbon around the seam that joins the two trays. Next came the two gold ribbons, followed by the blue ribbons. I tested out various colors and textures before committing. I knew that I would be using the green and red ribbon as the transverse element. On it went.

Part of the beauty of these trays are the complexities of their topology. There are protrusions that define where the ribbons cross; they define the number and position of the ribbons. So my next step was to glue small pieces of red paper to emphasize these curved shiny shoulders.

The last step was the label. I had wanted some extra sculptural element, as noted above. I chose a wooden sphere, and sanded a flat spot on it to make attaching it easier. I wrote the recipients initials, and double-taped it on.

Restoration Band Wrap

I had a silver box with a silver bow. It fit the gift. But it had been stepped on while in storage. I decided the make a partial band-wrap to cover up the creases and wrinkles that were visible on one end of the box. First I did some rehab, gluing two panels of corrugated board onto the inside of the box, flattening the crushed panels of the box.

For bands wraps, I like to use the pages of fancy magazines. I cut the pages into strips, and fold over both long edges. I do a little compositional testing with the strips to see what works. This is the first time I have left a major portion of the box exposed, the bands extending on partially across the box. Once I felt confident in my design, I glued on the bands, making sure I had enough on each band to wrap right on down the short sides of the box.

The box remained ready to open. I added the gift. The bow is attached to a cardboard band that came with the box. I slipped it back on and added a tiny square recipient label.

Merry Astro Turf

The plastic turf fragments turned up this summer in my ever productive alley. I had been waiting for them to have a purpose. Last week their first mission became obvious: turf wrap. It is green (half of the seasons branding colors). It is unexpected. It is inherently silly.

It is also hard to cut. But I persisted and got my rectangle for the lid of this gift’s shipping box. I covered the box with the brown-dot paper in such a way that the lid can still be opened. No need to rip up the wrap. One piece of paper covered three sides of the box. And a fourth piece I glued on the flap of the lid. Next the astro turf went on top. I chose a red ribbon with the gold trim; it provides that sense of traditional wrapping aesthetics. And of course red is the second seasonal brand color not to mention the complementary color of green.

I had been testing the shiny red ball all along as a component to complete the grass box top. While searching for another shiny object I found the golf ball. I paused for a bit, resisting the natural symbolic affinity of ball and grass. I finally gave in and placed it in the composition. Then it occurred to me that the red ball would gently confuse the reference to golf by hinting at “snowman.” I added the label and was done!


This is an example of accretive wrapping. It starts with a “base coat” of plain paper, applied in the traditional way: a single piece of paper wrapped, with two folded ends.. The first layer of accretion consists of six separates rectangles of imagery taken from magazines and marketing literature.. I cut them out to fit the six sides of the gift box, gluing or double-taping them onto the base wrap. Then I cut and fitted six triangles of stiff paper from printer’s paper samples. These are all glued on the image layer. The wrap can rest on any of the six sides. All views of this wrap are good.

Tri Tubular Wrap

The gift had three parts. In the middle of the night I had the idea of conjoining three boxes. In the light of day it became three tubes. The engineering was challenging. Since the three tubes were to be covered with wrapping paper scraps, I had to figure how to join them without relying on the flimsy wrapping-paper skin as a structural gluing surface. So I drilled holes in the sides of the tubes. I hot-glued six 1″ dowels into the holes. Then I wrapped the three tubes with striped wrapping paper scraps, and then completed the task of gluing three tubes together using their various dowel pegs and holes. It was not easy, and I do not recommend trying this wrapping strategy with angled cylinders. But it did finally come together. I plugged the lower ends with cardboard cross beams and inserted the three gifts into the upper opening of the tubes. I stuffed those upper ends with blue tissue, and added the gold ribbon trim, to give that completing note of wrapping tradition to this non-traditional wrap. When placed amongst wrapped gift boxes it has it own peculiar presence.

Three Story Wrap

Three identical pieces make up the gift. I wrapped them all the same. Then I placed four corks to space them apart while make it one. There are four half corks under the ground floor. I put two corks on the top with two tiny bows.