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.
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 went for speed on this one. Chopped down an oatmeal box. Placed the gift in tissue. Glued on a new bottom. Roll-wrapped it in pink tissue using both tape and glue to fix the ends. I left a lot of extra paper on the tail end and twisted it off-center to make a pigtail. I had to work bit of hot glue into the folds of the twisted tissue to make the tail stable and curved. Next I wrapped a deodorant cap with tissue paper and glued it onto the body for the snout, adding the paper fascia with marker nostrils. The eyes are black paper. The mouth is a piece of thin black ribbon, glued to the pink body, and up to the underside of the snout, about an inch away from the body. That means that the smiling mouth is not actually on the pig, but it worked visually. Next I made the legs, using two twigs, each cut at a 45 degree angle to make four legs. I cut little tiny square holes in the pink tissue wrap, which allowed me to glue the legs right to the cardboard of the oatmeal box, assuring a good grip. Lastly, I cut out ears from cover stock, folding the bottom to make an attachment tab; I cut a slit into that tab, which allowed me to bend the ears vertically to get a good simulation of a pigs ear. The pig has been well received.
The wrap began with a curious piece of cast-paper packaging from a shipment of Moo business cards. The white tray had two regions, one to hold a box of cards and the other held three groups of unboxed cards. I placed the gift, small and made of cloth, into the first region, where you now see the green corrugated paper.
I then proceeded to make a completely abstract wrap, using small scraps of paper: red foil-stamp tissue, blue-background japanese paper, and the green corrugated piece covering the gift. I then made the orange ribbon with alphabet beads to label the gift. I also put some ribbon the right-hand rib projecting up from the back of the white tray. Done.
It was when I went back and added the small blue bow to the japanese “wall paper” that the literal began to seep into my abstraction. The white “mantel” also called out for something, so I added two little jingle bells. I thought I was done. But the “fireplace” began to speak up. I built a foam and twig fire, put in on andirons. It remains an abstract fireplace, to be sure, because the “chimney” is strictly conceptual. I added two candles to the ingle bells. Done.
I designed this wrap for a non-destructive un-wrap. The base is a piece of form and mylar protective wrapping from a new 5k monitor, closed using double-sided tape. I then made feet and short legs using black shipping foam, cut with a matte knife and a jigsaw, glued with hot glue. Next I prepared the opening top access, cutting the silver material to make four flaps, the last (closing door) flap has a strip of red craft foam to signify where to open the wrap. On top, the bot’s “hair” is a strange piece made of two kinds of foam; its provenance and function is lost in the sands of time. I attached it with bent large paperclip to the top, opening flap.
The arms are packing foam from an external usb cd/dvd burner. It has inset craft foam insets, and white craft foam “hands.” I glued red foam coverings for the top and front of the feet.
Last of all I worked on the face. The three eyes are fried marbles. The chest lights/ recipient label are alphabet beads. The mouth is made from craft foam. The total is a spirited wrap.
Wrap art contributor Carmen Zimmer submitted this imaginative wrap. With an odd shaped gift, the flexibility of tissue was the choice for a base wrap. She used the contrast of color for graphic punch.
But the material of the moment was chenille (pipe cleaner) stems that form the animal’s fur. To place them she wisely avoided my usual hot-glue technique and instead included a layer of styrofoam underneath the magenta tissue. Then it was a simple snip and poke to place each one.
Corks made legs. And she happened to have eyes left over from some toy to complete this curious creature.
Christmas is in two days. I’m going for simple wraps. I wrapped another person’s fed-exed gift in solid green paper. I cut strips of white foam from a food take-out box and sliced them into mountains. Hot glue holds them on the wrap. I added one piece of red ribbon, and a small name tag.
I used a shiny blue mylar with built-in swirly pattern. The wheels are aerosol-can lids. I used pieces of corrugated box to make special gluing hardware whose job it was to make the lids attach to the thin and flexible mylar.
The windshield is made of soda-bottle scrap. Red chenille wires outline the windshield and passenger compartment, and make the steering wheel.
The bumpers, grill and headlights are made of fragments of a silvery shopping-bag paper.
The “C” on the hood is the present’s label.
I’ve been thinking about this one since we brought home some bison ribs from The ( inimitable) Fort restaurant in March. It was a dinner honoring Chips Barry, and presented by Patty Limerick, two of the funniest people in the world. The sharp wit and the excellent meat joined forces in my mind, and when we got home with the night’s extra (not to say spare) ribs in wonderful black foam take-out boxes, I began to see a samurai wrap.
The sides, shoulders and helmet are made from the boxes. The arm protectors, which are visible in this view only because of their three red stripes, are from a coffee-insulator sleeve. The vertical grooved panel is a plastic pencil tray from a Prismacolor boxed set. Black bag-handle string cleans up the lower edge of the package. The gold paper is actual wrapping paper (a scrap). The red and white details are craft foam.
Samurai enthusiasts will, of course, know how far this is from the truth of samurai armor; liberate us from perfection, as Ms. Limerick says. I do plan to make some more samurai wraps at some later date, and will make reference to the many other design details of samurai armor. But this wrap serves the initial vision I had been generating in the weeks since the black-foam take-out boxes passed through our kitchen.
One night while I was washing the dishes (and recycling plastics), my mind was wandering. I suddenly saw columns made with corks, and capitals on those columns made with milk-carton-caps.
This wrap is what I saw: a Doric temple in recycled materials. I wrapped a flat box using some used wrapping paper, pink with shells. I glued the corks onto the wrap. I glued the white milk-carton tops onto the corks.
Next, I had to construct the triangular roof. I cut pieces of plain cardboard, gluing the triangular pediments on the end of the roof and a base underneath. I wrapped this roof and glued it onto the columns.