Recently, Silhouette America held a contest for their blog affiliates. The challenge was to come up with gift wrap and a gift tag. That’s it — that’s all they gave us. We had free reign to do whatever we chose. The winning designs will be featured on Silhouette’s blog. (I’ll link that when it happens). I’d like to share how I created my entry.
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Before you begin to think I’ve gone a bit overboard, let me explain. I LOVE decorating for Christmas and have multiple trees in my house. There’s a family one, a fancy one that sits in the front window, one with antique ornaments, and several smaller themed ones. Hey — don’t judge. We definitely have a large enough house to accommodate them. And it’s nothing compared to my son’s girlfriend’s family who has 12 trees and a room just to store them. Obviously she fits well with our family.
For the one that sits in the window facing the street, I wrap empty boxes that coordinate with the tree. Then I save those and use them every year. It’s the first tree people see when they walk in the front door and it just looks too blank without any presents underneath.
Even if you don’t want to save boxes year to year, I’ll bet you’ve got at least one person who you’d love to treat with some beautiful gift wrap. I used quite a few Silhouette techniques, so you can always take just 1 or 2 ideas if you don’t want to be as extravagant.
Tip #1 — pick a theme
My tree is gold and white and has always been pretty formal. I’m going more casual, so this gift wrap contest was the perfect time to create some new fake presents in a farmhouse style. I started with just a plain, paper-sack-like paper and then added things to go with the gold and white ornaments, white poinsettias and black and white buffalo plaid ribbon. I used–
- winter white cardstock
- black cardstock
- gold foil and my Foil Quill (a metallic sketch pen from Silhouette or your own pen in the pen holder works just as well)
- winter white, yellow and green crepe paper
- a wooden tag
- a few odds and ends I’ll explain as we go
Gift Wrap Idea #1 — Paper ribbon
The first thing I added to create my gift wrap was a paper ribbon. I used this design from the Silhouette Design Store. The great thing about this design is that it has 3 different borders. They remind me of a Scandinavian sweater.
I did make one little adjustment. I wanted the top and bottom bars to be wider, so I used point editing to scoot up the outside corners. You could also do it by making long rectangles the same width as the design and welding them onto the top and bottom. I then cut this in a winter white paper that had embossed polka dots on it.
To make it easier to wrap it around the box, I marked it and scored it with my scoring tool. You could also add score lines with your machine.
I was using 12 x 12 paper, and my ribbon wasn’t long enough to go all the way around the box. I taped the ends around on the back and left it blank between them.
If you don’t want to do that and your ribbon won’t go all the way around your box, you can cut multiple pieces. You’d just need to adjust the lengths so that the patterns meet up evenly if that’s important to you. (Too much math for me to worry about it). Otherwise you’d get this–
You can also just add a plain rectangle on the back since probably no one cares.
Another idea would be to use adhesive vinyl, since it comes in long rolls and you can cut much longer. (If you need tips on cutting without the mat to cut long pieces, see this series).
Gift wrap idea #2 — foiled paper ribbon
Now that I had the white to match my tree, I wanted to add some black and gold. I made another paper ribbon and added some gold poinsettias to it. I used my Foil Quill, but as I said above you could easily use a metallic pen. Or use a regular pen if you aren’t into shiny things.
How I made my own scalloped border
I decided to be pretty precise about this and wanted my gold poinsettias to be evenly spaced below the ones in my white paper ribbon. That means I couldn’t easily find a design for my scalloped border that would be exact. Here’s how I made one–
- Drew a long, thin rectangle the width of my white paper ribbon.
- Made a series of circles that would fit evenly, overlapping them slightly. Make sure the middle of the circle is aligned with the bottom of the rectangle (Smart Snapping is perfect for this).
- Welded the rectangle and circles.
- Made smaller circles and placed them in every other scallop. If you have trouble aligning them on each scallop, you can do this before you weld your circles to your rectangle. Just don’t include the small circles in the weld or they will disappear.
- Made the scallop piece and smaller circles into a single compound path. By doing that, I can see holes with I fill it with color. This makes it easier to visualize my cut piece.
Add your pen design
I got a poinsettia design from a Facebook group I’m in for folks who use the Foil Quill. I placed those evenly along my scalloped piece, grouped them and made a copy. Notice I used a yellow line color for those. That means I could cut by line color, just drawing the poinsettias first.
Notice also that I put them along the bottom of my mat area. That’s so I can do the foiling, easily remove the foil, and then cut. You can do that, as I said, by cutting by line color and adding a pause (so you can remove the foil and resume). Or, you can set only the poinsettias to draw, let that finish, do NOT unload the mat, remove the foil and cut the paper. Either one works just fine.
Here’s a close up my finished piece. It’s really hard to capture with a camera how gorgeous the foiling is in real life.
As with the white paper ribbon, I scored my black ribbon pieces to fold them more easily around the box.
If you have a Foil Quill, don’t throw away the excess after you’re done. I’ll show you how I used the scraps in the next part of the project.
What started out as plain brown paper now looks like a fancy gift wrap. But I wasn’t done yet!
Gift wrap idea #3 — crepe paper poinsettia with gold tips
I’ve been having SO SO SO much fun making crepe paper flowers recently. I decided a nice crepe paper poinsettia would be a nice 3D element for my gift wrap. If you want an intro to crepe paper flowers, see this post. The reason I used crepe paper is because it looks realistic and it’s easy to shape it. You could absolutely do it with plain paper as well.
The petal design
For starters, I used a petal from this set by Alaa’ K (the 3rd one on the lower row).
For crepe paper flowers, you use 2 half petals to make each petal. The reason for that is that you use the grain of the crepe paper to mimic the veins of a real flower. The veins need to slope downward toward the middle. Here’s how I got my shapes–
- I drew a rectangle with one side at the center of the petal and the other past the side. I then used Intersect in my Modify panel. That kept only the area of the petal covered by the rectangle.
- I did a tad bit of point editing to make sure the top and bottom peaks were lined up vertically (they aren’t in the original petal). I also noticed that the petal had quite a few points so I used Simplify.
- Rotated the half petal about 15º. You can see by the gray lines how the crepe lines would look.
- Made a mirrored petal for the other half. This isn’t absolutely necessary, as I could just flip the cut half petal over. But sometimes you’re using a double-sided crepe paper so it’s a good practice to get into.
I made them in 3 sizes-
- 3 large sets (set = 2 mirrored half petals) for leaves
- 6 medium sets for large petals
- 3 small sets for small petals
I cut the petals from white crepe paper and the leaves from green. The Cameo 4 models are the only ones that can cut crepe paper because they can use the Rotary Blade. But it’s very easy to cut the pattern pieces from cardstock and then use those to cut the crepe paper by hand.
Then I glued them to floral stem wires with tacky glue. The wires needs to be about an inch longer than your petals/leaves.
Creating gold tips
Remember I said to save the gold Foil Quill foil? This will actually work with any type of foil, because all craft foils stick to something sticky. HINT: practice this on some scraps first just to get the hang of it.
Using your finger, dab a bit of glue around the edges of the petals.
Wait just a few seconds for it to get tacky, then take your foil, lay it over the glue, then press and lift. You’ll get little flecks of gold!
If you’d like to learn about more ways to use up leftover foils, see this post.
Shaping the petals
Bend the wire slightly to shape the petals. Make each one a bit different to make it more like a real flower.
Creating the centers
You could use all kinds of different things for the centers of your flowers — gold beads, beads covered in crepe paper, balls of crepe paper, clay, those little white seed beads on stems you use for making floral arrangements/bridal veils, etc. I decided to use some junk on my craft table that would normally go in the trash. Saves the environment and cleans my craft table at the same time. SCORE!
Remember I said I’ve been making lots of crepe flowers lately? So, my glue gun is still on my craft table. I have a little holder for it and that’s where all the little blobs of glue end up. (This one is similar).
I grabbed one of those blobs, covered it in a very small scrap of yellow crepe paper (NEVER throw away scraps!) and twisted. Add a dab of glue to hold the twist as needed.
I made several of those, then used floral tape to attach them to a small leftover bit of floral stem wire.
Voila! Centers for my poinsettia!
Assembling the flower
Now, here’s what’s different about this flower. Usually, you’re attaching all the petals and leaves to a stem so that you could put your bloom into a vase. But we don’t want that here. We want it to lay flat on the gift package. So, I used cardstock to make a circular base — a circle about 1 1/2″ in size with a small circle at the center. In some pics you’ll see I covered mine first one with green crepe paper just in case it showed, but it didn’t so you can skip that step.
I took my first leaf and stuck the stem through the hole in the cardstock circle, with the bottom tip of the leaf right at the edge of the hole.
Next, I folded the stem wire back on the back of the circle.
I used a dab of glue to secure the leaf to the front of the circle.
I repeated that with the other 2 leaves, spacing them equally around the circle.
The larger white petals went on next, overlapping about a half of a leaf with a petal. The only difference is you may not need to use a dab of glue to hold them. It’s up to you. I didn’t because I still wanted to be able to arrange them and play with the shaping.
After the 6 larger petals were on, I did the 3 smaller petals in the same way and finished by inserting the flower center.
I arranged my petals, then put some tape over the wires on the back to hold everything in place.
You can use a couple of the stem wires to attach the flower to your package or use strong glue dots or tape to complete your custom gift wrap.
One Christmas, my daughters and I were asked to make some small favors for a ladies Christmas program at our church. We had a BLAST making cute gift tags from cardstock scraps. We made enough for each lady to have 5. That doesn’t sound too overwhelming until you realize there were over 100 ladies! And each of us just couldn’t bring ourselves to make a ton of them exactly alike. But we had so much fun doing it together that it didn’t seem like work.
Why am I telling you this? Because we made some for our family as well. They were too cute to throw away that Christmas evening, so we saved them and continue to use them year after year. (Yep — I’m a hoarder). What’s fun is to see the handwriting of my kids who were young then but are post-college now. So when I make a tag, I like to use it over and over. The wooden one I created for this gift package is one that will probably last better than the cardstock ones.
For my design, I actually use the SAME one as I did for my white paper ribbon. I released the compound path and deleted everything except for the pieces to make up one flower.
I added my daughter’s name using Crush Bouncy Brush Font.
To make them solid, I made several internal offsets for both the flower and name. How much you need to do varies based on the size of your design and pen. You’ll also want to weld the name first if using a script font, as otherwise you’ll get offsets of the overlap, which you won’t want. If you do, be sure to make a copy of the text box first, as welding turns it into a regular image. That means you can no longer edit the text or figure out the font later.
I used a plain wooden tag and a Singe Quill pen. (I shared in this post how I created a wood-burned look with it). For doing this tag as I did, I recommend a Curio. The rigid base and greater clearance make working with the wood much easier.
If you don’t have a Curio or a machine with the higher clearance under the bar (like the Cameo 4), you may want to do your tag on cardstock instead. The thickness of the wood may not fit under the bar. Even with a Cameo 4 you may need to experiment with how far down in the pen holder to put your pen. I found that it dragged along the tag when I put it in the normal spot in my pen holder.
Another option is to use your Silhouette to make a vinyl stencil, color inside the stencil with the Singe Quill, then remove the stencil and do your singe.
- measured my wood tag carefully.
- used a tag shape from the Silhouette Design Store — there are literally hundreds.
- put the bottom edge and the center hole along lines on my Curio mat in the Design area so it was easier to line up on the actual mat.
- secured it with painter’s tape, making sure not to cover the area where the pen needed to draw (yep — learned from experience). I know — I need to ask Santa for a new Curio mat.
- put the Singe Quill pen in the pen holder and drew the design. The great thing is you don’t need the Singe Quill kit — just the pen and the Silhouette pen holder.
- used my embossing gun to activate the ink and create the singe.
- if you have any areas that aren’t fully filled in, you can manually add some ink and singe again.
I tied the tag on with some black and white baker’s twine. See how well it matches my tree???
Yes, it was a lot of work for one gift wrap. But I can just do a few each year to keep or really show someone some special love by giving them a present wrapped like this.