The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, October 21, 2001
Sunday Activity

It’s time for ‘wrapsody’

THE festival season is upon us and this time is synonymous with exchanging greetings and gifts. If you want your gifts to stand out among those loads and loads of brightly wrapped boxes, you can get creative and make wrapping paper or gift packs at home. An interesting and eco-friendly way to do this is to recycle paper, cardboard boxes, etc, lying at home. You only have to use a dash of your imagination to make a splash of exclusivity on them. Here are a few nifty ideas:

  • You can use Sunday comics . Cut out characters from Archies comics and paste them on brown paper to get a bright wrapping paper. If you want to give a truly mythological or religious look to your wrapping papers, you can paste characters from Amar Chitra Kathas instead.

  • Have a host of old greeting cards stacked away somewhere? Now is the time to recycle them by turning them into functional boxes for treasures, gifts, chocolates or little trinkets. For this you’ll need: old greeting cards, a ruler or straight edge, a pencil, a pair of scissors, crayons or markers for decorating.

Take an old greeting card and rip it in half at the fold. Using your ruler, make an "X" on the inside of the card by drawing two lines that cross at the centre of the card. Fold the edges of all four sides of the paper over to the middle of the cross. Cut the red lines and fold the tabs in to create a box and tape the box together.


To create a lid for the box, do the same as above, only instead of folding the edges to the point of the cross, fold them slightly outward so the lid will be larger than the bottom.

  • Tape together colourful pages from glossies. Cut out letters from the glossy and paste them on top. (For example, letters that join to form messages like "Season’s greetings" or "Happy Divali").

  • If you have some small cane baskets lying unused in the house, dress them up in leftover wrapping paper or stick colourful satin or lacy cloth around them. Tie a ribbon or some lace around the rim and you have a fancy gift basket ready!

  • Use brown paper bag and stamp it with interesting patterns! Cut one of the seams of a brown paper bag, then cut around the bottom to form a flap. Turn it inside out and prepare to paint!

Simple items at home can be converted into imaginative wrappings for Divali or wedding gifts
Simple items at home can be converted into imaginative wrappings for Divali or wedding gifts

Put poster colour in a dish, cut a kitchen sponge (with a pair of scissors) into a fun shape (a star, tree, flower, etc.)

Dip the sponge in the paint, wipe off excess and dab it on the brown paper bag to make wrapping paper!

You can clean out the sponge and use another colour of paint... what about two different shapes? You can use a piece of coloured yarn for a ribbon! Or you can sprinkle glitter over the wet painted paper for extra pizzazz.

  • Instead of painting patterns on brown paper bags, you can use brown sheets or butter paper. Repeat the process of making imprints with sponge cut into various shapes. You can involve kids in the creative process and use innovations. Make them dip pieces of ladyfinger (cut from the top) in paint and form patterns on the brown paper. Or they can simply dip their hands into the paint and you can have wrapping paper with tiny hands embossed on it.

  • If you want something more solid to wrap your festival gifts in, convert old tins or coke cans into gift packs. For this you’ll need an old tin or can, wrapping or coloured glazed paper, tape or fevicol.

Wash the can/tin and dry it thoroughly. Wrap can in wrapping/glazed paper and tuck excess down into can and tape or stick the excess inside. Cover the lid also with coloured paper, stick edges and top with a bow or satin ribbon.

  • Another excellent idea is to convert your cardboard shoe boxes into gift boxes. For this you’ll need: a shoe box, paint, used greeting cards and glue.

Paint the outside of the shoe box with the desired colour. Let the paint dry. Cut out the picture or scene on the front of several greeting cards. Arrange the pictures or scenes on the sides and top of the shoe box to cover as much of it as possible. You can also try to create scenes with the pictures. Glue them into place and let the glue dry completely.

Using watered-down glue, paint over the box to seal it. You should use approximately 1 part glue to 1 part water. Apply two to three coats, making sure each coat dries completely before adding the next.

  • There is another way to reuse brown paper bags for giving gifts. take a brown paper bag and fold the top down twice (inside), making it like a hem. Punch two holes on each side in the hem for the handles. Some bags have store names on them. Cover that area by cutting old wrapping papers into geometric patterns or in the shape of diyas. Paste them on different areas of the bag. So, remember, don't throw away paper, even after opening gifts. You can recycle it in so many ways.

(Compiled by Chetna Banerjee)

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