Saturday, March 8, 2008

Easy match

During the past decade, I've stopped buying gift wrappers made by Hallmark, Fiesta/American Greetings, and other large companies. It's not because I don't like their designs or find them expensive, but because I've been finding some beautiful and unique wrappers from other places. One time, I bought the prettiest apple green and white checkered wrappers with orange and pink flowers from a Chinese restaurant (I have no idea why they were selling them). At one Christmas bazaar, I found laminated kraft paper with bold red swirls. At the warehouse of a wholesaler of gift items, I got several rolls of Picasso-like sketches of flowers.

The only problem with these unique gift wrappers is that they don't come with matching gift tags so I have to make my own. I used to spend a lot of time on my gift tags and cards, but now, I just don't have as much time to spend on them so I've developed a quick and easy version that anyone—even someone who has never done any papercraft—can do:

For the tag on the left, all you need is a piece of card stock (about 2" wide by 3" high), a scrap of the gift wrapper you're using, a pair of fancy-edged scissors and glue. If you have to buy just one pair of scissors, get a deckle edge. It's naturally uneven so even if you can't cut straight, it won't matter at all. All you have to do is cut the edge of the scrap paper, glue it onto the bottom of the card, then trim the excess.

Sometimes, I only use plain tissue paper to wrap a gift (especially awkwardly-shaped ones without boxes), and that's what the card on the right is for. This time, all you need is the fancy-edged scissors and a colored marker. Cut the bottom of the card then color the edge, following its contours. What color to use? I always try to match the color of the ribbon I'll be using.

Then the last step. Since I don't have corner punchers, I just cut the top corners diagonally (to avoid dog ears). To attach the tag to the gift, I use double-sided tape. If I'm using a ribbon, I punch a hole in one corner of the tag and run the ribbon through it before tying.

That's it for the tags themselves. You can now write whatever message you want to. But since it's already in the photo, I might as well describe how I do my lettering too.

First, the colors. For the one using the scrap, I always use black (or white if the card stock is dark) to write "happy birthday." Then I choose a second marker that matches one of the colors on the wrapper for the name of the recipient. For the colored deckle edge, I just use the same marker for the name as I used on the edge. I write my name (or my husband's or both) using the black/white marker again.

As to the lettering itself, basically, I just use my normal block handwriting but give the loops some swirls and flourishes. All lowercase for the greeting and all uppercase—and slightly larger in size—for the recipient's name. I purposely do not try to write in a straight line or make the size of the letters even. Since all my markers have fine tips, I thicken the strokes of the recipient's name and again, I do not try to make them even. This way, even when I've the shakes from too much coffee, I know my lettering will still look good.

No comments: