About a two years ago I decided that if at all possible, I was going to stop buying wrapping paper and gift wrap. It was Christmas at my parents’ house and the giant garbage bag just full of wrapping paper kind of made me feel sick. Of course, sometimes it can’t be helped, like if you are giving a gift to your boss or someone you want to impress and it needs to look really nice. But don’t we all have lots of partially used rolls taking up space in a closet somewhere that we can use for that? Most of the time, fancy wrapping paper is barely appreciated and rarely recycled. And in the last four years we’ve both gotten married and had a baby so I haven’t had to buy a gift bag in at least that long either. But I have come up with several other gift wrap alternatives that work great for friends and family and here’s one of my favorites that is a HUGE hit with grandparents.
Step 1: Start with some kids art.
This is a lovely finger-painting that O made. If you have a small child you’re probably also up to your eyeballs in “art” projects. But honestly, in the toddler years it’s more about exploration of colors and textures than it really is about creating a piece of intentional art. I assume when O starts drawing people and recognizable things I will feel much more of an emotional attachment to his artwork but for now, I enjoy it but don’t feel the need to save every little scrap for posterity. If you have this project in mind, make sure your kids are making art on bigger sheets of paper. I like the rolls of paper IKEA sells in the children’s department.
As a quick aside, when I was in college, I had a summer job working at an awesome preschool (it was on a farm!). I ended up there because my friend and next door neighbor growing up, Kate from Tree Line Studio, was the art teacher there. She did art with small children every day (the patience!) and once told me the best advice ever for getting art from kids that actually looks good. She said, although not in these exact words, if you give kids every color, they will use every color and you’ll get a muddy brown mess. If you pick some coordinating colors for them to work with you will get something frame-worthy. So that’s what I did here with O, I only got out the green and blue fingerpaint for this session and he went to town. (Her second piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to crop!)
But anyway, back to the gift wrap! I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat for the next step in this super complicated tutorial! Here it is!
Step 2: Find the prettiest part of the art. (Here’s where the cropping advice comes in!) Wrap your gift with the artwork!
(That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? And look how pretty it is!)
I tied it up with some extra baker’s twine and we gave it to Aa for his birthday. We’ve given kids art gift wrap to Grammy as well and it was almost more popular than the gift inside and O was so proud to have his art so appreciated!