12 November 2010

craft tutorial: the art of gift wrapping part 1

There's no denying it - the holiday season is about to hit us a like a runaway train. I can feel my to-do list growing to epic proportions already.

When I was in the store the other day I wasn't really surprised to see all the Christmas stuff out. Its everywhere - crowding the aisles, hanging from the ceiling, decorating every end cap. I spent some time browsing through the gift wrapping section. It never ceases to give me sticker shock.

As I was standing there looking at a $6 price tag on a roll of wrapping paper that probably wouldn't wrap anywhere near the amount of presents I'll be handing out, I had a big fat "duh" moment - I should make my own wrapping this year! And I could screen print it! (That got me totally hyper about the idea, you know how I love to screen print everything.)

Not only would it make the gifts more unique but it would save me some cash too. When I added up what it would cost me to buy paper, tags, bows and boxes, it came out to more then $30.

Heck, I could buy gifts with that money. Or yarn. (One can never have enough yarn.) Or both. Why should I spend it on wrapping??

So I came home and made a little list to see if it really is more economical to do this on my own. Here's what I came up with:

* brown kraft paper from the $ store = $1
* micro mini thermofax screen = $3
* bottle of paint = $3.50
* one yard of cotton fabric for ribbon = $3
* two yards of osnaburg fabric = $6

That's a total of $16.50. I'd pay less if I used the discount coupons Joann's sends out on the fabric. That would lop off another $3.60 which would bring my cost down to $12.90.

That's less then half the cost of commercial stuff. And in all honesty, that's only if I decide to use both fabric and paper for wrapping. If I chose one or the other, you can knock even more off the cost.

Not too shabby.

I've been puttering around in my studio the past few days coming up with some different things you can do to not only put a unique spin on your gift wrapping this year but to also save a few bucks. I did such a good job that when I was editing the photos, I was a little surprised at how much I had to say on the topic.

So in an effort to keep your eyes from glazing and rolling into the back of your head from boredom, I decided to split the whole thing up into four posts. Here's what I've got for you:

Part 1 - Screen Print your Own Ribbon!

Part 2 - Fabric as Gift Wrapping

Part 3 - Screen Printing Your Own Paper

Part 4 - Sprucing Up Brown Craft Paper

Part 5 - Easy Decorations for Gift Bags

Told you I got carried away. The thing I got to thinking about was that while its true that I do most of my gift wrapping at the holiday season, I give gifts all year round so its something that I could do for all occasions. That makes me happy, knowing that I can do it all myself and not have to depend on finding just the right thing in the store.

I'll be posting them over the next week. Each part will walk you through the steps needed to turn these:

into these:

So without further ado, let's screen print some ribbon!

What you'll need:

* cotton fabric (the cheap stuff will do, you can get it as low as $2.99 a yard - don't forget to use 40% off coupon!) in various colors
* micro mini thermofax screen (you can also use larger sizes if you already have them)
* bottle of paint
* sponge brush

Step 1

Tear or cut your fabric into strips. I tore my strips along the width of the fabric, which was 44". This is a nice length that is reasonable to screen print.

I like lots of colors so I bought quarter yard pieces to get a variety. I like raw edges on fabric so I tore mine but if you like a more finished edge, you could cut them with a rotary cutter, fold under the edges and give them a quick whirl through the sewing machine to create a clean edge.

Osnaburg is a nice fabric if you'd like a natural, organic feel to your ribbon.

I created strips in 1", 2" and 3" widths.

Give your strips a good pressing:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Step 2

Lay the fabric strip on your print table and begin printing at the end of the ribbon farthest away from you:

If you need a reminder of basic printing techniques, my basic screen printing video is a good refresher.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Step 3

Continue to print down the length the ribbon.

Remember that you are dong repeat printing on these so check the back of your screen frequently for paint splotches:

For help with repeat printing, I've got this video for you. (The screen I'm using up above is the nested heart micro mini screen.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Step 4

Print to the end of the ribbon and set it aside to dry! And that's how easy it is!

Other ideas:

Tilt the image to create a more interesting pattern:

(bulb screen)

Alternate different size images:

(tweet & baby tweet screens)

Use a large size screen to print more then one ribbon at a time:

(mod squares screen)

There's really no end to the variety that you can create by printing your own ribbon! I got so excited I can't even tell you how many I printed.

If you want longer lengths of ribbon for those mega size packages, I still recommend printing 44" lengths. You can attach strips together to create longer ones either with some fabric glue or stitching the ends together on the sewing machine.

And that's all there is to this part! Hope you enjoyed it!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 when we wrap a package in fabric. :)


Vicki W said...


Robbie said...

How cool! Thanks so much for sharing!

Yarnhog said...

That is so, so cool! I would never be able to toss out such pretty wrappings. Next, you need to post ideas for reusing gorgeous wrapping materials.

Deb H said...

I love this! I have tons of butcher paper and tissue paper left over from other things that are just begging to be screened and used as wrapping paper. And I can strip up some commercial print fabric I haven't tossed yet for the ribbons - Lynn is a genius!

Jean Baardsen said...

Love this! You could even print up large pieces of fabric before you cut it up into ribbons. Would be more random, probably, but I'm into "easy." Hmm. Same pattern on both fabric and ribbon, but one in, say, red paint on white fabric, and the other, white paint on red fabric. I can see why you got carried away with this!

dsigns said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to print some ribbon!!

Stephanie said...

Love it! I am so doing this!