Christmas is a time of families and close friends, of being close to those you love and getting lovely and thoughtful gifts that make us smile. Well, that’s what we want it to be. Sometimes we get mouldy socks from Aunty Mildred that make us want to cry into hanky in a dark corner somewhere. But I digress… One fun thing about Christmas is that you can spend a lot of time wrapping presents without spending money on fancy fripperies and ribbons and expensive paper. No, you can make it yourself and here’s some ideas…
Go out and get paper in bulk. This can be brown paper, it can be white art paper, and it can be cheap recycled paper, reams of artboard paper – anything that takes your fancy. Now you just rummage through your arts and crafts drawers which will, I promise, contain all sorts of forgotten packets of glitter and stars and stickers and feathers.
Lay down some plastic bags or a mess mat, place the glue and arty items all around and unleash your children on the paper. If they are young, they will probably just make a rather weird mess that makes your inner neat freak cry, but the older ones will try for a Christmas theme and you will probably be surprised by what they create.
Another idea for fun paper crafting – one that is particularly helpful if you don’t have any stickers or craft items – is to do potato stamps. Remember those? Just cut a potato in half, draw a Christmassy shape on it and carefully carve it out. You can do it in reverse relief too if you like! Then haul out the paint and repeat the process above…
Oh, and it is worth noting that there are actually websites that have potato printing patterns that you can download for free. Just cut them out and use them to trace the designs onto the potato for a fancier finish. This is what I do because I cannot draw a single thing.
Paint can also be used to create splatter and blob and weird shapes. You can either unleash your offspring on an unsuspecting pile of paper and get them to splash and flick paint, or you can float paint on water (you need oil based paints for these so I advise this for older children) and create remarkable patterns by floating paper on the paint. It’s tricky at first, but loads of fun for all of you.
Another idea that I love is to use brown paper, get glitter pens in the Christmas colours and then ask my older kids to write messages all over the paper. It doesn’t matter if the spelling is bad or that they repeat themselves or that you can’t actually read what they have written. It looks amazing and people love it. The grandparents have kept last year’s batch they loved it so much!
Tags for your paper are as easily made. Use your Christmas cookie cutters to trace shapes onto paper and then get the children to colour them in. I tend to let them do the splatter paint technique all over the paper and then cut the shapes out when they are done as it looks more interesting. Or you can get them to colour the shapes in crayon or a contrasting ink to make them stand out.
Those of you who have old wrapping paper lying around that won’t quite wrap anything useful but is too pretty to throw away can use it to create a decoupage effect with your Christmas wrapping paper. Carefully layer these bits over the paper you have chosen to create an unusual and sparkly product.
One thing I have noticed is how much fun kids have with this and how seriously they can take it. My daughter was very particular about how she did her shapes and colours as the paper had to look Just So and you could see she had put a lot of effort into it.
You can also find some astonishingly creative ideas for older kids or you to make your own paper or how to make gorgeous Christmas wrap with things lying around at home. Just look at this link here.