jumping tangents' expert gift wrapping tips...
your main wrap doesn't have to be expensive.
in fact, plain brown, white or black paper can look a whole lot cooler. and yes, pink and red can and do go together. be brave with your wrapping colour combinations by using what's on hand - it'll save money while creating a truly standout gift. colour combos i like are lilac with chocolate brown and bright red stripes with deep purple.
paper isn't the only thing you can wrap gifts with. use fabric, or even combine the two.
the best place to find cheap, oh-so versatile fabric scraps is in op shops and vintage stores. as sticky tape won't hold and will look messy, tie the fabric with something like lightweight trade aid organic hemp. don't stress if the folds don't sit perfectly; dot on a little kraft glue to hold the edges together.
use giftwrap to express the quirky, idiosyncratic things you love about the recipient.
there are no rules! use collage, decoupage (gluing coloured paper cut-outs onto an object), illustration or handwriting to acknowledge the person's favourite things and interests - think colours, sports, movies, books... try sticking cut-outs from newspapers, magazines and old retro wallpaper onto the parcel. if they're a crossword fan, cut out and paste on a crossword and the clues... and post the answers later!
make use of google and wikipedia.
there are all sorts of funky images and prose you can download and print out. for instance, cut out an image of your recipient's favourite musician or artist and decoupage it over cheap brown paper.
cut and paste your artwork onto plain wrapping paper.
or just draw it on freehand. don't forget that children's artwork can be easily cut and pasted (scan it if you want to keep the original) to make a meaningful parcel. another way to add personality to your parcel is to embellish it with knick-knacks, keepsakes, and even little notes explaining why these items remind you of the recipient. for instance, you could include something like an old button with a note reading, 'this button reminds me of those smock dresses mum made us when we were little!'
draw attention away from awkwardly shaped gifts.
attaching a hand-made gift tag on which you could sew old buttons, fabric scraps, or even glue flowers will draw attention away from an imperfectly wrapped gift. give raffia, cellophane and tight curling ribbons a miss: they're expensive and overdone. chances are you have bits and pieces you could use at home: why not try left over knitting wool to attach a tag?
utilise the art of letter writing and appreciate fine stationery.
both are back in vogue for a very good reason. your handwriting might look like a scrawl to you, but to others it's a meaningful expression of who you are. writing a quote or slogan across light-coloured paper can produce stunning effects.
gift-wrapping doesn't have to be a chore.
in fact, it can be a great reason for a get-together! invite some friends over for an evening of creative wrapping. you'll be able to share enthusiasm, paper, fabric, and other off-cuts.
tips by cathie davis, dipA&C(hons);
as featured in next magazine, december 2008
view article here