I had clipped some pages from issue 170 of the Yale Medicine Magazine recently, pages with lovely images that appeared to made by layering paints or inks and then laying other papers on top of that color and then lifting them up to create complex, organic-looking patterns. The results were great. After underwrapping the box I added the red page to the upper left corner, wrapping it around the corner. Then I added a photo from a design magazine in the upper right corner. Next I applied the green/blue page and wrapped it around the lower right corner. I added the yellow corner, the cover of a brochure I had designed for a client many years ago. It came with a thick black stripe. I made the gift label in Illustrator, cut it and glued it onto the wrap, aligning its right edge with the left edge of the black stripe.
Time was running short on Christmas Eve, so I resorted to the most efficient of wrap art tactics: band wraps. You do not need paper big enough to cover the whole gift box. You just keep adding bands till you’ve got the look you like. Another element of speed in this particular instance, was that I had a beautiful black box with a fold-over lid with magnetic closure. So I did not have to wrap the ends; Three bands of folded tissue paper, with contrasting patterns and colors, are simply taped to the back of the box. I included numbers on the tape (masking tape with folded-over ends for easy pulling) to guide the recipient to an easy open. I then added a yellow ribbon to complete the wrap and give a better platform for the pale beach rock I had just decided to add to the mix. I wrapped a small piece of green Christmas ribbon around the rock and hot-glued the rock and ribbon to the yellow ribbon. If placed vertically, the rock-and-ribbon leaned a bit out and down, so I added tiny triangles of white foam underneath the rock, top and bottom, to reduce any motion.
I had two small boxes, about the same size as the he gift I wanted to wrap. They suggested to me the idea of making an irregular shaped “giftbox.” I set about to make a special skeleton out of the two boxes, linking them with beams of corrugated board, The gift fits right inside the space between the two boxes and their beams.
Extra pieces of board made the gift fit snug in order to make the task of wrapping this odd shape a bit easier.. Admittedly the task of wrapping this conglomeration in white paper was not that easy. I knew that there was no easy way to wrap this zig zag box with a single piece of paper. So I collaged it with numerous pieces of scrap 8.5″X11″ stationery. I used both thin tape and a bit of hot glue. Finally I had a solid white wrapped zigzag. I added three red ribbons one kind of red ribbon, and two pieces, of varying pattern black and white ribbon. I made the label out of small gray and very flat beach beach pebble. I inscribed the name with a marker.
I began with an 8.5 lb. kitty litter jug and a desire to cut it into a gift box with projecting arms. I cut off the top. Then I cut down along the four vertical corners, stopping when I got to a point I considered the top of the gift box that I was building; that was about four inches from the bottom. At this point I had a gift box with two wide walls and two thinner walls. The walls rose straight up from the box and my next actions would make the walls along the long side into curved ribbon holders. First I need to create the closure of the gift box. I took the short-side walls and folded them down, forcing a soft crease where the wall joined the box. Then both walls could be folded down, one on top of the other. I cut a 1/4″-wide slit into the bottom wall. I cut an insert-tongue into the upper wall, and fit it into the crease.
Now I was ready to convert the two longer walls into the ribbon-holding art. Eight vertical cuts created nine strips. I rolled them up and the jug’s plastic had enough memory to hold some the forced curling. Using small squares of double tape I applied eighteen pieces of ribbon to the plastic arc. I finished with a textured gold and black ribbon, and a name tag, which has two fold to attach it to the ribbon.
I love the dried leaves that carpet the autumn pathways. I began preparing for this wrap a while ago. And I added new leaves right up to the day I made this wrap. I have used large green leaves in the past. They can be shaped to the package. But what would allow me to use brittle dried leaves. I decided that I would try foam stilts to lift them free of the underlying wrapped box. I cut short pieces of white foam and hot-glued them onto individual leaves. When they cooled and were stable I trimmed the bottoms to make them stable and free-standing with three legs. Then I glued them onto the white-wrapped gift box. I added some that had only two legs, raising them higher that the initial batch of leaves so that the collage had a feeling of being airborne. Eventually there were enough to call it a finished composition.
The season of wrapping arrives. Shipments arrive. Their boxes sit on the kitchen floor. I see a lot of white packing peanuts. I think: glue a furry pelt of packing peanuts. I start with a base wrap of white paper to cover the gift. I added some wine cork legs so that the peanuts could tilt downwards along the lower edge without breaking off. Then comes a long stretch of gluing and fitting fat fur. I have made headless animal wraps before. I proceeded on that assumption, until the sheep slowly overcame my fondness for abstraction. I had black plastic wine corks. I put a patch of white foam fur onto the sheep head. Black craft foam ears came next. A hole punch applied to white craft foam made two eyes. A black fineline marker made little dots to complete the eyes. I glued the assembled head onto one peanut, with a bit of support via one ear and a neighbor peanut. The result is this charming pneumatic sheep.
I put the gift into a box and wrapped it some old bright white stationery. I then review my wrap-scraps drawer and found a magazine page with this lively grid of textures. I wrapped it around the now white box leaving the top quarter of the space open. I decided that dimension was called for, a helping of haptics for a happy birthday. I reached into the twig bin and came up with this shiny bit of aspen. I inscribed the greeting and glued it on. The two piece is a quick wrap strategy.
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!
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.
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.