Shopbag Style

shop bag wrap

I had been cleaning up the wrap closet and discovered we have an inordinate number of shopping bags. I thought I would start using them as a wrapping-paper resource. The paper in these bags is a bit stiff compared to wrapping paper. So it calls for different tactics. In this case I added the silver floral paper first and gave it a nice angle. Then I picked up the red bag from Pasticceria Filippi’s awesome panettoni. As I held up the big slice of red bag against the gift box, trying various ways to place the papers, and considering whether or not to reveal the logotype, I came to notice the white bag handle. I decided I wanted to keep the handle on, and keep this utilitarian detail up-front. It was not to used as a handle, but rather to refer to concept of “shopping bag” even as the bag was being repurposed from transport to wrap. I hung a name tag on the handle and I was done.

Simple Prenderwrap


I had spent so much time on the “O Holo Wrap” that I needed to speed things up. Christmas Eve was fast approaching. This wrap is made of shopping-bag paper and a two-page foldout from the Denver Art Museum, a small oil painting from 1913 by Maurice Prendergast. To complete the wrap I added wide black ribbon and a thin yellow ribbon around the package. I finished with a red and green mylar bow and a tiny white recipient label. The out-of-view sides of the box continue with the images heavy impasto oil paint, some gold-foil wrapping-paper scraps and a couple of gold Godiva shopping-bag panels.

O Holo Wrap

We had received a Christmas food gift from my brother & his wife. A green plastic tray held all the goodies in place in little pockets of vacuum molded soap. Playing with the intriguing topology of this object I discovered that it could be folded in thirds king a triangular column.

When I had the chance to turn into wrap art I tied it and hot-glued it closed, joining the outer edges of the three panels. I made triangular paper inserts out of stiff paper that fit into the top and bottom of the plastic box. I placed the gift inside and padded it with two foam scraps to preclude any motion motion of the gift.

Now it was time to consider what to put on all the various flat platforms that arose from the three sides of the plastic form. I visited the ribbon closet and found a square cardboard envelope which had a holographic surface in a gridded pattern. When one views this materials from different angles, spectrum color shifts occur in the little squares of the paper’s pattern. There is almost constant animation. I began cutting squares, and triangles of this paper, fitting them on the various protrusions populating the green triangle-tube. Where cookies, chocolate, sausage, and cheese once lay in waiting, the container now popped out with these small dynamic color generators. To the eye they simulate little digital screens.


I finished the wrap with a colored paper triangle on top, a brown ribbon around its border, and an all-purpose green ball on top.

Bionic Collage

wrap art anthony

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.

Tissue Band Wrap with Beach Stone

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.

Old Leaf

wrap art with autumn leaves

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.

Packing Peanut Sheep

packing peanut wrap art sheep

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.

Two-piece with Twig Label

wrap art two piece with twig

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.