Upcycling and Recycling: Create beautiful gift wrap!

Presentation is everything when it comes to presents. A gorgeous, expensive gift carelessly presented loses a lot of its pizzazz while a humbler token of your esteem has a lot of impact when you wrap it beautifully. Beautiful gift wrapping does not have to cost an arm and a leg, in fact you may already have the makings for beautiful wrapping in your craft supply cabinet, your garden, and even your vegetable crisper!

Things you need:
Tissue Paper
Brown Paper Bags Paper
Stamp pads or Acrylic paints
Old plates or tins to hold the paint
Something to create stamped images: if you have rubber stamps feel free to use them, but you can also try leaves and cut up vegetables (anything non-squishy such as an onion, a potato, a celery base)
Cardboard (if you want, use old file folders)
Hole punch (either standard office supply store type or special shaped hole punches for paper crafting)
Ribbon, twine, raffia or yarn
Old photos, small toys (optional)
Flower or spring of fresh herb (optional)
Computer/scanner/printer/paper (optional)

Things to do:
1. For smaller gifts, cut up a brown paper bag, or you can also recycle the tissue paper from a recent department store clothing purchase.
2. Prepare your stamping materials. If using vegetables to stamp, cut into desired shape. You can cut a potato in half and then carve a circle, initial or other shape inside it. If you cut away the stalks, a celery base makes a rose-like effect when dipped in paint and then used as a stamp on paper. Pour paint into an old coffee can lid or flat paint. Get creative with what you have on hand to improvise homemade stamps, but experiment with effects on a practice sheet before you start decorating your wrapping paper.
3. Unfold your tissue paper or cut a piece from a brown paper bag. You may need to iron (use low heat) the paper for it to lie flat to receive impressions. Firmly and evenly place your stamp into the ink stamp pad or paint. Press the stamp into the wrapping paper and remove quickly. Place as many stamp images as you want on the paper, creating a pattern of images.
4. Let the wrapping paper dry.
5. Cut file folders to make gift tags. You can trace around a glass or coffee cup to make a circular tag.
6. Use hole punch to make an opening on the tag to attach it to the ribbon or twine.
7. Decorate the gift tag however you want. Options include smaller stamped images, stickers, small toys glued to the tag. One fun idea is to print out a digitized photo of you and the person you are gifting, and tape that to the gift tag. Write to and from information along with whatever message you want on the tag.
7. Wrap the paper around your gift. Tie with ribbon, twine or raffia. If you like, tuck a flower or a sprig of a sweet smelling fresh herb like mint or rosemary from your garden into twine. Slide ribbon through the hole in your gift tag.

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