Creative Wrapping

Decorative touches will make your packages shine.

During this holiday season, try a few of these great ideas to add personality to any gift. Begin with a trip to your local party-supply store to stock up on the materials that you'll need. White boxes in different sizes will be a staple of your gift wrapping supplies. Nontraditional items, such as buckets and cardboard tubing, make clever containers with contemporary style. Any way you wrap them, you'll receive rave reviews.

1. Cutout Boxes
Start with a flat white box, and lightly draw a shape on all sides with a pencil. Cut out shapes with a craft knife. We cut out smaller shapes instead of the entire candy cane design. Assemble the box, and line with colored tissue paper to highlight the designs. Try cutting star shapes, and use yellow tissue paper inside; or cut out a Christmas tree, and use brown paper for the trunk and green for the branches. (Tip: Place thick cardboard in the box while cutting to protect your work surface and the other box sides.)

2. Clear Bag With Peppers
An oversize clear bag filled with tissue paper produces a crisp look with little work. Arrange the tissue on a flat surface, right side down, and place your gift inside. Wrap paper loosely around the sides of the item, and place in the bag. Secure with ribbon or raffia in coordinating colors. Here, red peppers are attached to the package to continue the Southwestern motif.

3. Tower of Gifts
Start with square white boxes in graduated sizes. Wrap each one in solid-color paper or tissue. Next, cover each box with wax paper, making sure that the seams on all the boxes line up. (Tip: Use Elmer's Gift Wrap Stik or double-sided tape to close the seams of the wrapping paper for a flawless look.) Stack the boxes, securing each to the other with double-sided tape. Wrap the stacked packages with tulle or ribbon, and secure with a bow. A silver star finishes this look.

4. Green Dots
Design a fun package by layering colored tissue paper and clear cellophane sheets. Start with an assembled box. Cover in tissue. Next, wrap with clear cellophane, making sure that the seams match the first layer. Here, we used green-on-green polka-dot tissue paper topped with a white polka-dot clear cellophane sheet. Add a bow, and finish with a berry pick or a florist vial filled with fresh blossoms. We added a red fruit pick--available at crafts stores--to create a seasonal color scheme.

5. Aluminum Tin
Use this idea to recycle your tins from Christmases past. Trace the top of the container onto decorative paper or vellum, and cut out. Then cut out a rectangular piece the height of the tin that will wrap around it. Attach both pieces to the container with double-sided tape. Nestle your gift in colored tissue paper or shredded paper inside the newly decorated tin, replace the top, and finish with a bow. The traced circle also may become a gift tag if you eliminate the bow.

6. Snowman Tube
Use a 1-foot cardboard tube to wrap items such as clothes or stuffed animals. Cover the tube with wrapping paper, allowing about 5 inches of excess paper on each end. Secure the ends with ribbon or rope (similar to a Tootsie Roll). Tie bows on the ends and at the center of the package, if desired.

7. Kraft Paper Box
Wrap your gift in brown kraft paper. Top it off with an oversize bow. Dust the package lightly with spray snow for a whimsical effect. (Tip: You can find brown kraft paper in the mailing-supply section of many stores.)

8. Bucket of Cookies
Display your baking efforts for all to see. Instead of giving baked goods in a box or tin, use a brightly painted bucket or basket. Place a clear bag inside the container, and fill with goodies. Finish with a decorative bow.