How to {DIY} Gorgeously Wrapped Holiday Gifts

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The holidays are just a few short weeks away, so it’s time to start wrapping those gifts! I must admit that I usually go the traditional route of brightly colored {store-bought} wrapping paper, but this year, decided to switch it up a bit and DIY something special.

Disclaimer: This is not in any way a time-saving activity, but if you aren’t in a rush and are feeling extra crafty, definitely give it a try! You’ll be thrilled with the result. I promise.

Here are some of the supplies that you’ll need:

  • 1 roll brown craft paper
  • 1 roll clear packing tape
  • Festive ribbons
  • Holiday stencils {I used these and these}
  • Paint {any color and brand will work; I chose to use white}
  • Sponge paintbrushes
  • Holly berries, pinecones, pine branches {optional}
  • Mini shatterproof ornaments {I used these, but any will work}
  • Glitter tape

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The first step is the most boring part: Wrap all of your presents just like you normally would, but use the brown craft paper instead of traditional wrapping paper. I found that clear packing tape held the paper together much better than normal tape. Try to wrap all of the gifts at once and leave the decorating until the end. This will save you time and peace of mind. Once you’re done, you should have a massive pile of brown paper packages, like so {not particularly pretty… yet!}:

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Pro Tip: Make sure to label each of your gifts as you go because once they’re wrapped, each box will look nearly identical! I use sticky notes to write people’s names on until I’m ready to add permanent labels. 

Next is the fun part: time to decorate! I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, so I had supplies on hand to decorate for both holidays, but if you only celebrate one, just use what you need.

Grab your first package and just have fun with it. For my first one, I chose to stencil some ornaments onto the box using a plain old stencil and some white paint {Pro Tip: use as little paint as possible; using too much paint will make it globby and the stencil design won’t come out clearly.}

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For the gifts that I chose to stencil, I let them sit for a few hours before adding other decorations like ribbon and ornaments, to ensure that the paint was dry. When you’re ready to add ribbon, make it fun buy switching it up for each gift. I decorated some gifts with thick black and white gingham wire ribbon {black and white gingham is just timeless and I love the neutral look}, and others with shiny blue and white ribbon or glittery rope. There’s no wrong way to wrap ribbon around a package, so be creative with it!

Here’s a look at a gingham wire bow:

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And here’s how I tied a blue and white ribbon {which I used for a Hanukkah present}:

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Another way you can decorate some of the gifts is simply by adding some glitter tape {which I happened to have leftover from a past Hoboken Girl DIY!}. I placed a large piece of the tape around the width of the package to mimic the look of a ribbon:

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Once most of your gifts are adorned with stencils and/or ribbon, it’s time to add a second layer of fun, which can be any or all of the following: ornaments, pine branches, holly berries, pinecones, etc. Again, there’s no wrong way to decorate so have fun with it and make every gift a little bit different from the previous one.

Here’s a look at some of the gifts I put together, for decorating inspiration:

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As you’ll see, the brown craft paper provides a blank canvas so you can be as creative (or as simplistic) as you’d like. The best part is that while all of your gifts will look unified, they’ll each be unique.

Here’s a quick peak at how your {once massive pile of brown paper packages} will look when you’re all done. Gorgeous, right?!

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The very last step is to label each of your gifts {don’t forget to do this!!}. You can do so by using traditional gift labels, or do what I did and just write on each gift using a chalkboard marker {they come in all colors, but I used white}. And then you’re done!

PS: Don’t have enough time to DIY your wrapping paper? Check out this JC-local gift wrapping company {and one of the vendors at the Hoboken Craft Fair last weekend!}.

We’d love to see what you guys wrap for the holidays, so tweet/IG us your pics {@HobokenGirlBlog}! And for more DIY and design inspiration, check out Michelle’s design blog at GirlontheHudson.com. Happy Holidays!!


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Ever since she can remember, Michelle has had a passion for DIY projects, interior design, and styling homes. She writes Hoboken Girl's DIY and Design column, where she shares ideas for fun weekend {pinterest-worthy} projects and decor styling that will totally impress your friends and family. A New Jersey native, Michelle is currently the Communications Director for a global digital and design firm in New York City and lives in Uptown Hoboken with her husband, her son, and her dog, Chewie. You can follow her on Instagram at @GirlontheHudson or through her design blog, GirlontheHudson.com.