Thursday, July 10, 2008

Make Your Own Gift Wrap Bows

I can't remember where I learned you can curl wrapping paper, but the idea has stuck with me and has turned the last minute rush to wrap the present before the party, into a weekday craft my kids can do themselves....and the birthday child always loves it! In fact, the parents have always come back to me after every party to comment on how much everyone at the party ooh'd and aah'd over the wrapping. So either the presents we give are so lame people have to compliment the wrapping job, or it actually is something they enjoy.

I'm amazed at the variety of bows you can make just with gift wrap and tape. This is the answer to all the slowly unraveling, uneven rolls of wrapping paper in your closet. Clip off the uneven part and save it to make a contrasting bow on a later present! Here are two tutorials for gift wrap bows your children can make themselves!

Bow #1: The Flower Bow!

Really, all you need is wrapping paper, scissors, tape and a gift! Even the button is optional.

It's a good thing my kids make these bows, because this is what the gifts would look like otherwise. A great "before" shot, am I right?

I like using striped wrapping paper because it makes cutting the strips much easier. The strips don't need to be perfect. Even my three-year-old loves to cut the strips.
This is actually Christmas wrapping paper. I search out all the non-Christmas looking paper in the after-Christmas clearance, so I have a wide variety for my kids to choose from.

Make them about 2 feet long and around an inch and a half wide. But really, they can do whatever size they want.

Tape the strip onto the present in the middle, and then bend up the two ends of each strip and tape in the middle. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat...until they've reached their desired flower. Let them tape to their hearts content, which my kids love.

For the contrasting inside color, cut strips from the present's original wrapping paper. Make these about 12" long and around 3/4" wide. Ace is showing another way you can tape these on. Repeat (until done)! Once their flower has taken shape, cut a square of striped paper to go in the middle (to cover the tape). You could leave it like that, or glue on a button as we did!

Bow #2: Curled "Ribbon" Bow
(as seen at the beginning of the post)
Gather 1.5" strips of wrapping paper in 24" and 12" pieces.
If you've ever curled ribbon before, this is done exactly the same way. Hold the paper between your thumb and the blade of the scissors. Firmly press down on the paper with your thumb as you pull the strip with your other hand. Unless your child is older, you will have to help with this.

After pulling the stip all the way through, you will look at it and say, "That only curled part of the strip." Simply drop it on the table, and it will curl the rest of the way on its own.

Make X's on the top of the present. I think the curls look better if you face the strips with the white part up (which I didn't do here-ha!). Allow them to put as many 24" strips as they desire, then top with the 12" strips in the same way, which will conceal the tape. The 12" strip has a much tighter curl.

See how different two presents with the same paper can look?
I usually only suggest the curly bow on stacked, large or oddly-shaped gifts, but this is what they wanted to make, so this is what we did. If we're decorating a present for a boy, we usually put a "boy" toy in the middle to man up the present a little. This motorcycle is pretty big. A small car or a cheap watergun are our favorite toppers.

Some other ideas...

This is a wrapping paper ring in the middle. Pure wrapping paper bow. Could put curled 12" strips in the middle instead!

This bow is covering the hole where my son fell on the present as we were wrapping it. Necessity is the mother of invention! Toy boxes are notorious for the empty space places on the box (so you can "try out" the toy in the box). Unfortunately, that used to make presents very hard to wrap attractively. Not anymore!

The best part of this project is that party-goers always ask my daughter, "Wow, did you help wrap the present?" I love to see her beam from ear to ear when she gives her answer.
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Em & M's said...

I love all your tips. These bows are great and so cute! Plus, it's much more fun to open an actual wrapped gift than to just pull something out of a bag.

Justina Selim said...

How fun! I had no idea that wrapping paper curls! How funny! Perfect for when you don't have ribbon. I always have wrapping paper laying around, but never ribbon.

Scott and Elly said...

What a great idea! Now you don't have to throw away the excess paper. It looks a lot better than the store bought bows, too.