Wrapping and unwrapping is one of the best parts of Christmas, so my eco wrapping ideas mean you can keep this bit while reducing waste, too.
The reason gifts have such sentimental value is in part explained by how they come into our lives, as tokens of affection, typically at times of celebration, and gift wrap intensifies this symbolism significantly. Big or small, we love the anticipation of that moment of surprise this alluring paper striptease offers.
Elegant Bottle Wrap
Knowing how to wrap a bottle is always tricky, so I wanted to make more of giving a bottle of wine with this decorative bottle sleeve. For this wrap, I wanted to achieve a chic, refined look, so I chose black Kraft paper as I liked the contrast it created with the natural colour on the inside. It was economical, too, as it uses only half a square sheet.
Cut your paper to into a triangle, the longest edge (laid parallel to you in front of you on the table) being the circumference of the bottle plus 7–8cm and the height of the point, laid out furthest from you the same as the height of bottle plus 6–7cm.
Starting at the lefthand corner, make 1cm accordion pleats until you reach the central point. Crease your folds firmly, running your finger and thumb along each one to ensure a crisp pleat.
Wrap the bottle from the right-hand side and where the paper meets the inside of the longest pleat. Apply glue or double-sided tape to seal the two sides of the paper together.
Position your cord approx. onethird up from the base of the bottle and tie tightly.
To create the fan at the bottom of the pleat, apply adhesive to the outer edge of the pleat beneath the tied cord and bring it up to meet the outer edge of the pleat above, pressing firmly in place.
Wrapping Using Expended Book Pages
When a book has seen better days, it can gain a new lease of life as a gift-wrap material. From vintage paperbacks with broken spines to out-of-date encyclopaedias, charity shops and jumble sales are full of choices. But it’s not necessarily the content that is important, it’s more the colouration of the pages and the typeface used.
For the left-centre wrap, I used copy paper to trace a lotus design onto this feather-light page, which has retained its brilliance despite its age. The clean lines of the decorative motif work against the density of the printed words.
For the gift pouch on the bottom, pages were machine-stitched together.
For the bottom right wrap, the orderly Chinese script was beautiful on its own.
Simple Painting Techniques
As an alternative to accents and embellishments, this is an eco wrapping idea that allows you to use simple brown paper, made more festive with your own designs.
To find your drawing area, measure and cut your paper. Loosely wrap the paper around the gift, and when in the correct position, run your finger and thumb around the upper edge of the gift to give you the frame or your design.
Before committing your illustration to pen or paint, you may wish to lightly mark out your drawing in pencil first, then rewrap loosely to double-check the fit as it may need some adjustment.
Ensure your pen or paint is colourfast. This red colour works well on the brown paper as opposed to a more traditional white background, but on another gift wrap the colour dried more brick-red, negating its effectiveness altogether. A Sharpie or similar high-quality permanent marker maintains its true colour.
See also: Table ideas for Christmas
Gather fresh and pliable leaves while out on a walk, then use them to handprint your brown paper.
For the best results, lightly paint the surface of the leaf using a small paintbrush.
Press it directly onto the paper of your choice, smoothing carefully over its back using your fingertips, then gently peel off to reveal its intricate beauty. Each application of paint should yield two or three prints before the paint needs to be reapplied.
Why not try extending your range to include cut fruit and vegetables?
Of all the embellishments, in my opinion, it is the natural ones that reign supreme. Nature never gets it wrong. It’s fast, often free and ultimately sustainable.
The leaf fall of autumn lays its gems at your feet in a riot of colour, like mountains of copper and bronze ingots. On a dry day scoop some of these treasures up and let them dry out somewhere cool and dark. A cardboard box under the stairs is perfect for preserving corn caps and pine cones.
Tuck fiery red Japanese maple leaves and the sycamore’s helicopter seeds between the pages of a heavy book, sandwiched between layers of kitchen paper to prevent damaging the paper.
In winter, try drying out slices of orange and apple in the oven. It takes no time at all and the scent will be amazing.
See also: The festive events going ahead in 2020
For more eco wrapping ideas, see the book these were all taken from, Gift Wrap Green by Camille Wilkinson, available here