Last year I decorated a few paper mâché boxes for Christmas. Not only do they make great decorations to use around the house, but they’re perfect for packaging that special little gift.
Here are a few that I made last year.
Every year I buy a roll or two of wrapping paper with a brown background. I keep them in an old crock next to the Christmas tree so they are convenient for wrapping presents, but they also become part of the Christmas decor. Many of these papers and leftover house paint, along with a few pretty ribbons become the supplies needed for decorating the boxes.
The boxes can be purchased at JoAnne Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, or Michaels with half-off coupons, making them very reasonable. They come in a set of three graduated sizes, or you can buy them singly. Using wrapping papers and ribbons with the paper mâché brown-colored background, makes them all coordinating, even if different colors or patterns.
For the large box in this photo, I used the end of a pencil eraser, dipped in white paint to make the polka dots meant to resemble snow. A simple yarn pom pom to top it off, keeps it very simple and quick.
This year I decided to give each of my four sisters the same small gift, but each one wrapped in a differently decorated box.
I started with these plain 5-inch paper mâché boxes I found at Michael’s. It took four trips with coupons to get them all half off, but I was determined to give a nice, but budget-friendly gift that was part store bought, and part hand made.
The first one I made with a new snowflake paper I found at Michael’s this year. Start by centering the box in the middle of a piece of paper, large enough to cover each side and turn over the top edges.
Use Mod Podge applied to the bottom of the box to start, carefully working and cutting your way around each side. The most important and vital trick to this is using a hair dryer to dry each side before proceeding on to the next side. Mod Podge causes the paper to stretch, which results in bubbles and wrinkles, as the next photo demonstrates. Using the hair dryer immediately shrinks it back down to its original size and smoothes it out so it will lay flat.
To top the completed box, you can use a yarn pom pom, pretty ribbon, or a thin balsam wood ornament. These were purchased at JoAnne Fabrics, who carry new varieties every year, and can usually be bought for 50-70% off. You can leave them natural, or paint them a coordinating color.
Here is how the first two boxes turned out. The one on the left has snowflake wrapping paper applied to the bottom with a plain top. The one on the right has a white painted and distressed bottom, with a “pencil dipped in paint” snowflake pattern on the top.
Both were easy to do, and make a nice coordinating pair, if you’re using simply them for decoration.
I wanted each one to be uniquely different, and for this next one, I again used wrapping paper on the bottom, and added a red-painted balsam wood cardinal.
By the time I got to the fourth box, I was running out of creative energy, so it was decorated with just paint.
Each box was filled with tissue paper and an identical gift ~ a set of four snowflake coasters.
Four identical gifts, each with unique wrapping. And the best part is the ties and decorations can easily be slid off for opening. With the string tied on the bottom, the box can be used again for either regifting, or a little decoration.
When I finished with the gift boxes, I paired them with the boxes I made last year, and found to my surprise, I had three lovely, coordinating groups.
First, the snowflake group . . .
the red group . . .
and lastly . . . the green group.
By this point, I wanted to keep them all . . . but, I can always make more next year. Pretty gifting never goes out of style, and reusable wrapping is a win-win. If you’re giving a small sized gift and want to make it extra special, this is the perfect way to give it your own personal touch.