Christmas wrapping paper may be selling for as little as 50p a tube in some stores, but it can be far more fun to make your own. You can also save money in the long term because, once you have all the relevant ingredients, you can also branch out into making wrapping paper for birthdays, christenings, weddings and more.
Now, I am not necessarily talking professional style paper here. No, this is the kind of wrapping paper that your kids get involved in making, that looks kind of crazy and cute, and that should only be used to wrap presents for family or friends who also have kids.
You will need paper – now this can be printer paper, recycled paper, brown paper, reams of cheap white art paper, butcher paper, anything that takes your fancy – sequins, glitter, glue, paints, scissors, feathers, and sparkle shapes. You can even get away with only paper, paint and scissors – it’s up to you and your budget.
One of my favourites for Christmas is this site – Make-a-Flake. You can design your very own snowflake, download it and then print it. This will keep the kids busy while you panic shop online, or drink a relaxing cup of tea, and will look fabulous when printed out in bulk and used to wrap Grandma’s present.
Potato printing has to be one of the few things that really does stick in my childhood memory banks. I used to love hacking out designs and splodging them potatoes into paint and then onto paper to create awesome designs. Potato shapes are cheap and easy to make, they allow for endless creativity.
You can either be all professional and serious, or you can be random and whacky. For the more artistic parents and children you can draw your design onto the potato with pen, cut out the shape and then go forth. For those of us who need a bit more help, go online and find the shapes you like, print them, cut them out and use them to trace onto the potato half. I tend to cheat because I can only draw stick men.
Once you’ve finished printing with your potato you can do something utterly bonkers and cut off the back of the potato to lessen the weight, repeat the pattern on the fresh side, smother it in paint, leave it to dry, and then hang it up on your tree. This looks really funky if you use bright colours and real Christmas tree.
If you don’t fancy mauling your favourite potatoes in the name of art, there are other options. Get some bin bags and plonk them onto a work surface or kitchen floor. These are to limit the amount of damage caused by children wielding paintbrushes. Then, print out designs from the internet – there are some fabulous links to different sites with Christmas patterns here – colour them in and stick them to the paper. Use a pencil to poke holes for eyes in snow and gingerbread men/people.
Splattering paint is also fabulous fun and looks awesome. Spread out your paper and ensure that all surfaces are covered to avoid arduous cleaning later. Then arm your offspring with paintbrushes of varying sizes and tubs of paint and show them how to dab and flick paint all over the paper. Once you’re done, just leave it to dry, then roll it up and use it whenever you need it.
I have also used other alternatives – only when using water soluble paint – such as letting the kids walk in the paint, slap hand prints all over the paper and so forth. They have so much fun it is almost criminal and judicious use of green, red, and gold glitter Christmasses it up in seconds.
Once you have created your paper you will probably want to make the matching gift tags. This is really easy to do and you can use old Christmas paper that you’ve kept even though it is too small or weirdly shaped to wrap anything, your own created paper, or just some plain coloured card.
Whip out your cookie cutters – it doesn’t matter what shape they are – trace them onto your chosen material, cut them out and then unleash the kids on them. If you used paint to create the paper, then consider using crayons or pencils to decorate the tags. The contrasting inks will look really lovely together.
There you have it, creating your own wrapping paper couldn’t be easier. And, it is highly likely that you already own half the materials (if not all of them) to make the paper already. Have fun, and please come show us your finished products!