Monday, 12 November 2012

Make your own Christmas wrapping paper

I must admit that my head is in my work at the moment, so many pressing but, enjoyable commitments at present, already booking loads into the new year. I haven't really started to consider Christmas too much. We don't faff about with too much at Christmas time, we concentrate on the sharing of food, some Christmas cheer and good company, together with a little gift exchanging too. There is no pressure in both mine and Andy's family to give gifts, which I really appreciate as I know it can be a stressful time for a lot of people (including me). I usually  give something thrifted from a charity shop or junk sale, either up-cycled into something functional and hopefully beautiful or something new I bought throughout the year in a sale or something of the homemade yarny variety.

When I was a young teenager I started questioning wrapping paper and bought cards and what they meant and represented? I guess I started thinking a little about consumerism and waste and the difference between the rich and poor. That Christmas I decided to rebel(!)and wrap my family's gifts in newspaper instead. I can't remember their reactions entirely but I loved the "shock" factor and so my personal journey of questioning consumerism began. Weird to think that it may have been triggered by wrapping paper?! 

Now don't get me wrong. I AM A CONSUMER, make no mistake but, if I can stop and think a little it makes me feel like I am adding my minute little contribution to rebelling against money making stationary capitalism spending excessive amounts of money on wrappings when all it takes is time(we don't all have this I know)and some creative thought and a few pennies. My presents always have string or ribbon tied around them and I like to use real holly, berries, pine cones, shells, twigs etc to embellish them when I am doing my wrapping.
{oh no, on re-reading this it sounds a little contrived...I really have nothing against bought wrapping paper I promise, this is just something I enjoy doing}

So, less warbling and on with the post...

On Saturday afternoon whilst Alice did her homework, I sat at the table playing with a bunch of corks (sad eh :o) I was kindly given, when I asked for them, by one of the wine stalls at the Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival in September. I had a plan for these and today was the day!

So, all you need to do to make your own stamped wrapping paper is take 1,2,3 or more flat surfaced corks or potatoes for that matter

Draw basic Christmas type patterns on the flat surfaces of the corks/potatoes

Now, with a sharp Stanley knife or any other sharp carving implement (I used a blade from the lino cut set I borrowed), CAREFULLY carve around the shape. Please be very careful as you can easily cut yourself here. Warning: This is NOT for children to try.

Now, gather whatever colour paints you may have, I used our small collection of acrylic ones (and mixed the blue and yellow to make green which we don't have).

Either use a paint brush or just press your cork (or potato) stamp into the colour of your choice

and stamp away!

I played with my stamps (now I really am looking like a sad-o)on a piece of white scrap card and then pulled out my trusty roll of brown paper, which I always stock, to make some stamped wrapping paper to use this festive season.

Just a bit of childish fun for an hour or two and adding to that home made feel I like about Christmas. It's not perfect, but that's how I like it. Now that I have carved quite a few different shapes, Alice can use these and stamp away to make gift tags, paper or cards if she pleases.

The holly was a little lino cut idea from this book, which I also made this weekend.

I think this will be fun on gift tags, talking of which, I didn't want to waste the white practice card so chopped it up into gift tags for Alice to use for her little gift giving to her girly friends.

So, how about you? 
Do you do silly (sad?) itty bitty things like this for Christmas?
Do tell


  1. Brilliant! I often make tags or wrapping paer using stamps but really not as often as I could (or should??) t's quite amazing I think how effecrive they are. Even cutting across a pattern - as you've done here with your practice card - doesn't detract form the naive charm.

    We have had birthdays and Christmas's where J and I have exchanged a paper back book and a bag of sweets, we have had some very lean years, believe me. but to be honest, it doesn't make any difference, a loving gift is a loving gift. And Alice's friends will be dead impressed! Lx

  2. It's not sad! Those are so cool and exactly what we should all be doing instead of of spending fortunes on identical, mass-produced stuff.....grrr..I get all mad about the commercialism of christmas.

    I must make a start on christmas cards too.

  3. I usually make my own tags and have wrapped pressies in brown paper and red ribbon, I think it looks good! I'm with you on the consumerism! Happy wrapping!! :)

  4. I normally make my own Christmas cards, and last year I made tree decs (based on your tutorial last year!) to go in each envelope too. I Have been known to start in November, but more often than not it was frantic in December cutting out intricate shapes, hot-gluing and glittering. I have also made wrapping paper....I would far prefer to spend money on a present than a card which goes in the bin, and a homemade card is the best isn't it? This year as we have a lot on, littlest's school designed card has been ordered en masse and that saves me a huge job....thank goodness!

    Your prints are great and I love the tags, brilliant!

  5. Lovely idea, my kids would so enjoy this, and my mum would love to receive their gifts in it even more!

  6. For years I made my own cards - one year each card had a detachable crocheted star (and another year, a snowflake), designed by me, with a little thread loop attached, so people could take it off the card and hang it on their tree. Like Faith, my card-making is usually done frantically in December, with much cutting and glue-sticking and scattering of glitter. I prefer to make single-thickness, non-folding cards, with a sentiment on one side and a photo or decoration on the other. In really ambitious years I've also made the envelopes.

    The last few years, I bought cards because I was out of ideas. But in January of this year I was inspired by Mrs. Thrifty Household's Christmas-card recycling post ( After reading it I was careful to save all the cards we received last year, and to write on my calendar this note for the first Saturday in December: "Make Christmas cards!" (Gosh, just a few weeks away now.) So I'll be making them again this year.

    We've always loved using the comic pages from the newspaper as wrapping paper. Sometimes I'll draw on brown paper, and occasionally will make a potato stamp or two.

    Have you ever tried leaf stamping? That's a lot of fun too - just gather some leaves of various shapes, brush or sponge paint onto them, and stamp away. (Leaves with lots of veining make amazing stamps.) Or you can use sprigs of pine needles for stippling or brushing.

    Thanks for this fun post - you've got the creative juices flowing! I love your candy-cane paper with the one pink candy cane amidst the red. :)

  7. I love making my own stamps! I always seem to run out of 'normal' wrapping paper so every year on like December 24th I browse the internet for cute, alternative wrapping ideas (newspapers, fabrics, doilies, ...). I love it! It adds so much personal flair to each gift :)

  8. I've just bought a bumper roll of brown paper for just this project, although I do like to support any small business which prints it's own paper too. It's just finding the time to do it all!
    Penny x

  9. I love this idea and I also make my own wrapping paper from brown as it's so much more easy to recycle.

    Nina x

  10. I love this idea and much prefer to make my own cards as well when time allows. Although this year I have to admit I shall be heading straight for the Charity Christmas Cards, aside from a couple of special exceptions who shall get handmade creations.
    Loving the lino printing as always - keep up the good work :)

  11. I just use the brown paper plain and play with the ribbons and bows ... you clearly have far more patience than me!

  12. Hi Penelope. I have been rubbish at commenting recently, but I have been reading all of your posts. I think your lino cut with the bird, from a few posts back, is stunning. After reading this post I think I might have to get my children to work making Christmas cards/wrap with some poster paints and stamps! Hope you're having a good week.
    Victoria x

  13. Lovely... I would feel the love when recieving a beautifully hand wrapped present x