Saturday, June 29, 2013

No gift wrap challenge #2: Note paper set

stationery set This set of floral sticky note paper already had such a pretty pattern, it almost didn't require gift wrapping at all. Almost, because the center of the cardboard container was printed with a label. But if we go back to the guiding principle that wrapping simply hides the gift from the recipient, then all that was needed was to hide the label.

I chose a piece of washi (Japanese paper) in a pattern and color that echoed that of the note paper, and cut it with deckle-edged scissors to a size that would just hide the label. I didn't want to glue it directly onto the box, so I cut a piece of translucent paper the same height as the small box and glued the washi onto it. I could just slip the sheet—which, happily, could also serve as the gift tag—inside the resealable plastic bag. It looked empty and off-balance after I wrote the greeting and our names, so I added the natural fiber paper seashell and string embellishment to balance everything off.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No gift wrap challenge #1: Tees

Last December, I received a gift that included tips on how to live greener in the new year. One of the tips was about doing with less packaging. Since I've been using cloth shopping bags for years already, I thought of it in terms of gift packaging. I already re-purpose shopping bags, old calendars, and outdated office print-outs into gift wrappers. The next challenge for me is, can I do away with gift wrapping?

If you think about it, wrapping simply hides the gift from the recipient and adds the simple pleasure of anticipation. I don't think I can do away with wrapping completely, but I realize that there are some objects that don't need to be wrapped to maintain the element of surprise. I'll document the results here, of course, and this is the first.
  t-shirt 'wrapped' without gift wrapper A tee is a tee is a tee. I figure that it's really the design on the T-shirt that's important to hide, so I just folded and tightly rolled the tee, completely hiding the print in front, and tied it with three kinds of ribbons—all reused—in different widths. Since the shirt tag was blank at the back, I used it as the gift tag, just putting a sticker on it before writing the greeting. I tied the tag onto the shirt with the narrowest ribbon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roll 'em

I love gift packaging, but I also find it very wasteful when they're just thrown away after the gift is opened. So I always try to reuse gift bags and ribbons. To store used ribbons—and stretch them out at the same time, without having to iron them—I roll them around the cardboard cores of toilet paper.  Depending on the width of the ribbon, each core can accommodate one to five ribbons.
 used ribbons rolled around cardboard toilet paper cores I anchor one end with a small piece of adhesive tape onto the cardboard then start stretching and rolling. The other end needs another piece of adhesive tape, of course. A word of warning: resist the temptation to roll the ribbon perfectly parallel to itself and to its neighbors. The point here is to store the ribbons neatly for reuse—and quickly enough so it doesn't feel like too much of a chore that you end up just throwing them away because keeping them is a bother.

I also keep cords, string, and yarn, but they don't require stretching, so I just loop them then tie them into very loose knots.
  lightly knotted used cords, string and yarn The ribbon rolls are carefully stacked when I store them, but the loops of cord get carelessly tossed into one box.