Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vintage Found and Lying Around!

Hi all, Dany from Two-Thirds Studio here. Today I have a handful of tips to help you gift wrap your presents on a tight budget and with lots of eclectic style! This year my gift wrapping theme is vintage found and lying around! It's supposed to rhyme!

Make a trip to your local second hand thrift store and look for old and vintage ribbon, tin boxes, Christmas records, and festive embellishments. Items like Christmas books and table settings might hold a special embellishment that you can use for a gift tag or as a bow.

Next make a trip to the dollar store and pick up a few essentials like tape and tissue. You will also need glue and double stick tape. There may be other items that can come in handy here such as plain packing paper or plain white boxes.

Now for the fun part.

For the vintage part of my theme I used the sleeves of my Christmas albums. Separate the two sides of the sleeve so that you have two pieces that are approximately 13 inches square. Measure the length and width of your item. Your item must be able to fit within the 13 inch area with an inch or two all around for the sides of the box. On the back side of your bottom piece (the piece with the song list, typically in black and white) measure out the length and width of your item. Now measure out between one and two inches (depending on the thickness of your item). You should end up with a rectangle (or square) with a border all around it. Trim to your new edge. You will notice on each corner a square. Cut one side of each square from the edge to the inside of your box space. The adjacent (uncut) side will be folded in to form the flap that holds the sides together. Next you will need to score the inside area so you can fold the sides up. This is very important because these sleeves are old and brittle, you may rip them off if you don't score first. Glue your flaps to the corresponding sides and clamp with paper clips. Set aside and repeat this process with your lid box. This time you will need to add about an 1/8th of an inch to your item's dimensions so that it is slightly bigger than your bottom box. Use the following diagram to help you understand the construction of the boxes. Wait fifteen minutes for dry time and your box is ready to use.

Other items to make boxes from include hot dog hoagie plates (pictured), cereal boxes, soda cartons, toilet and paper towel rolls, shoe boxes and pizza boxes!

For the found part of my theme I used a wooden box that I scored for $.80. It's a box from 1984 that is Christmas themed and used to house flat plates. Witty and ornate tin boxes can do the same thing! Other found items include mason jars, old jewelry boxes and velvet sacs.

For the lying around part I raided my personal paper collection and my vintage book collection. I also got into my office supplies and grabbed some Manila pocket sleeves. These are perfect for books. Make a perfect sleeve by cutting one side off of two Manila pocket sleeves. Insert your book into one sleeve then insert the other sleeve over the open end of the first sleeve. Hold it closed with a couple of rubber bands.

Things you might have lying around that work well include felt and fabric scraps, ribbons, buttons, etc.

Now that you have your finished boxes use vintage ribbons that you found at the thrift store to hold them closed. A little bit of double stick tape helps a lot! For very graphical boxes it is best to use thin ribbons or strings and yarn. Ornate or busy ribbons will clash with these boxes.

For a simpler or clean gift take some packing or construction paper and wrap your present. Take your ornate ribbon and tie around once. Do this with your Manila book sleeves as well. This will add a dramatic touch to an otherwise tame gift.

For the finishing touches look for anything that will function as a gift tag. I keep a box with interesting paper scraps for this very purpose. I have an incomplete Mexican bingo game (La Loteria) that I like to use for tags. I also happen to keep a collection of vintage books. In one book I found a check out card from the library it once belonged to (pictured). Cut into three pieces this card was perfect for my vintage presents. Other good things to use include monopoly money (pictured), tarot cards, playing cards, Japanese Hanafuda cards (not cheap, only use if it's incomplete) and scraps from your vintage album sleeves (pictured, mistletoe records).

My studio mate Lauren keeps this cool tool that allows you to cut the corners of paper and it makes them rounded. This little simple thing makes the tags much more appealing. Use a hole punch and run some string through and attach to your ribbon and you are done!

When people receive your gifts they will really appreciate the wrap and it will add to the value of your gift. It will spark great conversations and all around holiday appreciation! The great part is that it's so easy! Happy Holidays from the Murphy Arts Center Artists!

Feel free to ask any questions if you have trouble building your boxes.

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