Sunday, February 24, 2013

About responsible gift wrap making - with STAMPS

Hey there! This morning I've written a lot, waiting for brioche to get ready to bake, written a whole lot of eco-responsible-&-fun-&-money saving-&-oh-so-repurposable gift wrapping. Here's a project how to make it, consume less ready made's, make less leftovers, or at least upcycle them more easily. So go grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable to read it – there's A LOT of interesting ideas and cute projects.

First - I cannot help but somehow feeling guilty each time I have to buy the gift wrapping – all those fancy printed rolls, that produce leftovers and paper waste as soon as a gift is opened. The gift wrapping paper is forgotten right at the moment of pulling and pealing off. Well, it has been bought for a couple of euros, maybe not so fancy, for a bargain price, maybe taken free of charge at a gift wrapping service in many of department stores – so why bother, the value is insignificant, why bother trying to re-purpose it later. Especially during the Christmas. Well, yes, I try to collect and later re-use them in my paper projects. But how to reconcile the wish of making a beautiful gift wrap and not producing more waste as necessary? So I've been thinking. About lots of demands that a gift wrapping has to meet (in my opinion).

To begin – I wanted to take slow the wrapping preparation. And by taking slow I mean not going and grabbing like five paper rolls at the nearest grocery store. I mean taking blank paper or brown craft paper and STAMPING IT. So I thought of gift wrapping STAMPS. Try it, it's fun – first. Second – you stamp only as much as you need for a gift. Third – make it with your children, let them play and create their own surface designs - double fun. So stamps have to be easy-to-combine and easy-to-fill-a-surface. If you stamp on cream or white paper/cards, your children can colour and personalize easily each card at their liking with colouring pencils for example, or watercolours (especially while making invitations).

To continue – by making it slow and putting some more effort, it all gains more value, so you wouldn't be throwing it all away easily. And here's the next point that I find useful – offering possibilities for RE-PURPOSING afterwards. Re-purposing is much more easy with simple design - to colour them with colouring pencils, to cut them and make a simple and cute memory game, to cut and make some collages with children afterwards (and colour them). So the paper has to render possible all those cover versions – being simple yet cute, and stimulating some creative activity.

Next - to stick to it even more – speaking of CARDS, GIFT TAGS etc.
You know, I buy LOTS of fancy greeting cards, I'm collecting publicity cards or event announcement cards, I find them in thrift stores, museums and galleries, and art faires – there're SO MANY cute cards out there nowdays. Do you think I'm using them later? Nope... And for greeting card accompanying a gift package it's also very tempting to take a wrapping paper and card in the same design.

So why not make THE WHOLE LINE yourselves – all you need are squared scraps of cardboard, or blank cards, some pieces of soft paper, like from a sketchbook, and some embellishments, that you can make yourselves (see explication part). Make GIFT TAGS as well – it fun, and give more value to your package, gift tags are always a nice complement on any package. Stamp them all, so you have it all in the same line, made with your hands, upvalueing your gift, it's all unique, so someone who gets a package would be touched as well.

To stop here (keep in mind there are no limits for developing new ideas with stamping) - LAST (not least) - when making LOTS of cards – INVITATIONS and alike. Stamping technique is something that can be really useful for those projects – you make many of them, can vary the design and they all work together nevertheless. You can stamp the envelope as well. 

You can make the THANK-YOU TAGS to accompany the little gifts that your guests would become at the end of the party to take them home en souvenirs.

Practical part - today I'm gonna show you how to make use of those stamps that I've carved yesterday. I do already have lots of stamps, bought on different occasions, but they all failed - too detailed, too fine-lined, too different in size, too small, too event-related (like all reindeers and snow, or birthday cakes with candles, or babies etc.) 

So I designed and carved some myself - more outlined, neutral, even-sized, rounded in shape for easy-surface-making, not obstrusive, simple, and applicable for quite lot of occasions in terms of events, usability, upcycling. 

Well, they are a bit childish, since lot of stuff that I make is inspired by children, and made for children, especially this animal serie, that I'm creating for new borns/kids/parents.

You may need 
  1. BROWN CRAFT PAPER. Or any other paper with interesting structure – take banana paper (take it for smaller gift, because it's very interesting and beautiful, but may be pricey for big packages, and not so sturdy as craft paper).
  3. CARDS. Optionally envelopes. All blank/brown craft/plain coloured/recycled cardboard.
  4. STRIPES of paper (brown craft, or bold colours) to write the messages: „It's a girl“, „Save the date“, „Congratulations“, „Thank you“, „You're the best“, etc. I found it useful not to write them directly on cards, so that you do not risk ruining your freshly stamped cards.
  5. Anything else you may want to try - just get started and you'll wonder about all the creative ideas that will come along!

STAMP a cut piece of brown craft paper - those stamps are very easy to handle. They have an advantage of having all approximately the same shape, so space filling is easy. Make it spaced as I did, or more dense, if you have a small package, or a gift bag. Anyway stamping with those stamps is easy and quite fast.

For CARDS I've used some leftovers, only cutting them in rectangular shape. Here a light olive green leftover from Bazzil cardstock.

For CARDS STAMPING – I've first stamped all my designs for cards on some light-weighted soft paper. I find it a bit difficult and unreliable stamping directly onto cardboard – not so absorbant, not soft, printing may not have the results you expect, the layout may not satisfy you. Advantage of taking smaller pieces of soft light paper is that you are less inhibited to try new combinations, not ruining your cards and you can cut and re-ajust them at your liking.

For EMBELLISHMENTS – I've cut stripes of 1,5-2 cm wide (¾ inch), wrote my messages with ink and let it all dry.

For GIFT TAGS – mines are 5,5 x 9 cm (2 x 3,5 inches). First make rectangles, then cut off the angles and made decorative circles with punch (I've first punched larger circles with my punch from scrapbooking tools, then punched the smaller ones with punching tool (used in scrapbooking for eyelets) and glued.

Now assemble it all together - wrap your package, attach the gift tag on a thread. Glue the stamped part onto cardboard (I've taken the double adhesive tape), put the message. WE'RE DONE! Your package is now something special and valuable.

Price - 28 euro. You get 5 linocut stamps, and some blanc gift tags.

This set of stamps's gonna be cut of classic brown lino plates. The set includes 5 stamps, to use for your personal projects – gift wrapping, cards, tags, paper bags, envelopes, simple memory cards, stamping on fabric (little tote bags). 

Let me know if you're interested TO ORDER THEM (leave a comment or find my email in the right side bar or in "SHOP"-section.

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