Twig Bower

I collected a handful of twigs that had fallen off their trees during a recent icy snowstorm. My intention was to replace two damaged twigs on an old pine-log reindeer christmas sculpture. But two other twigs from our backyard proved better. When it came time for the first wrap of the season, I thought these twigs might make a fine “bow” when bundled together with ribbon and place cross-wise on the long white box of the gift.

But that idea proved wrong in execution. The bundle of twigs never looked elegant. The twigs were awkward with each other. When I paused to ponder new design vectors the twigs piped up with “legs,” a wonderful but often overlooked wrap tactic.

I then made a wrapper for the box, using the white bag in which the gift’s source store had made the delivery to me. The wrapper covered only nlne of the gift’s eleven inches length and used no glue or tape on the gift’s box. That meant that the box could be slid out of the wrapper quickly and effortlessly, with no ripping or tearing.

I divided the sides of the box-and-wrapper into sixths, marking the five spots that separated those sixths. I began hot gluing the legs onto the box. Once they had cooled, I trimmed them to a common length from the bottom of the box. I could then stand up the whole rig, stand back and judge the result.

I felt it could use some color. So I cut up ribbon fragments —purple, teal, red, and gold— to become abstract leaves. I glued them on, examining both sides as I went.

For the label, I made a strip of typography, printed it out, and cut it into a ribbon. I folded the ends and tucked them into the ends of the white wrapper.

Magazine Wrap

This wrap did not even have a box. I put a gift of notecards between two pieces of corrugated board. Two pieces of tape made them a unit. Then I picked up a magazine that had lots of ads with large photos with tasty textures. I placed the first piece at an angle and proceeded to wrap it, folding the ends and gluing the foldovers onto the back. I then selected another page from the magazine. I positioned it in various ways until I knew what I wanted. I folded the two edges that would be visible on the front of the wrap, and then began gluing the piece into place. Next I took a strip with imagery of marble and folded its edges, making a traditional wrapping band. I positioned it and glued one end. Snugged the other end tight and glued it. I then took, from a jar of alphabet beads, the initials “N” and “S” of the recipient’s name. I glued them on, using a nail to hold the hot glue, and place it on the wrap. I then added the two beads. It is a moody wrap, with a rich materiality conveyed by the continuous tones of the photographs.

2square Mag Collage

I decided it would be quicker to pack this gift between two squares of corrugated cardboard, than to cut out a custom box. My plan uses corks as pillars to create the space for the gift after creating the two square collages. I covered the two squares with paper from a large design magazine whose ads and special features provided a variety of engaging textures. I used my hot glue sparingly and assembled the collages speedily, wrapping the around the edges of the squares.

I used seven corks to separate the squares. Where the eighth cork would have gone along the middle of one side, I left open space, to ease the retrieval of the gift. To keep the gift from rattling around inside and ripping open the paper walls I planned to glue around the edges of the wrap, I hung the gift inside using three lightly-glue corks, placed strategically in the interior. Then I closed up the wrap with four pieces of cover stock pages, cut to the height of the corks. They are glued to the corner corks. One corner has a “pull open here” sticker placed to guide the recipient in un-wrapping.

It looks like a large picture book, except that there is no spine.

Two Piece with Alphabeads

The two pieces of paper I used came from a large-format magazine with elegant advertisements. The smaller piece with the dot gradation ends in blank white, with an intriguing curve of remnant typography. I labeled the gift with alphabets, whose dimensionality gives the wrap a sculptural tease.

Stripes

This is a classic two-piece wrap. I used a remaining piece of blue Pantone paper on the bottom. Then I reached for a packet of printed American flags that somehow made it into my paper drawer. I chose to use only the stripes, which still left the wrap with a strong hint of flag. I covered the join with a bit of skinny black ribbon. A mini label completes the task.

Mag Wrap

mag wrap

The idea of the “found object” is the essence of this wrap. And like real Duchampian found objects, it can happen quickly. I only used two pieces of paper. One I have since forgotton; it served the parts of the wrap not visible here. The primary piece is a page in a magazine. It’s combination of flatness and dimensionality made it a satisfying piece of wrapping paper.

Shopping Bag with Comb Bow

For the first step wrapping this medium sized gift, I cut down a white shopping bag and wrapped the entire box in it, using hot glue to secure the thick paper of the bag. I put a secondary blue wrap on the bottom, a piece of old Pantone paper. I then took a page from my magazine of the moment, an image with rectangular forms, a person, abstract photo detail and color complementary to the blue. I did not cover up the shopping bag’s branding, because the typography lends the whole composition a poster-like quality. Also the gift’s brand diverges completely from the this bag’s. Wrap Humor. To finish it off I took another magazine scrap and cut slices partway through it. I folded the uncut edge and glued it on top of the wrap. Carefully I shaped the teeth of this comb into gentle curves. The interplay of the rectilinear scrap & scissor-cuts with the curves of the actual spiral imagery in the photo & the shaping of the comb’s teeth adds a bow-like quality and completes the wrap.

Han News

han news wrap

Wrapping with newsprint is a frequent first thought for someone who suddenly decides to wrap without wrapping paper. I chose to give this old method a try using a scrap from a local chinese-language newspaper. The solution to newsprint innovation was actually quite easy to execute. I took one piece of used ribbon and wound it in a spiral around the box. The hardest part was looking through a magazine for just the right page, which would deliver a photographic abstraction up to the task of tri-partite contrast: Han characters, transparent ribbon, and photo complexities, all within my red-blue color world. I cut a wide strip from the ad and folded it along the edges to make a band-wrap ribbon, attached it to the package. Then a took the remaining scrap, folding it to create the same puffy edges; I glued this “bow” onto the wrap.