Dec 07, 2010

How To: Make Typographic Gift Wrap

created at: 12/07/2010

This year, I vowed to only make or buy handmade holiday gifts for my friends and family, and I've kept to it so far. But wrapping these gifts in commercial paper didn't seem to make much sense, so I wanted to create some handmade gift wrap to match. I happen to think a gift wrapped in newsprint is actually quite attractive, and love the look of text on a package, but wanted to put in a little more effort. So I came up with a cool option that's clean, masculine, and maintains the typographic look of the newsprint. Plus, it eliminates the need for any "to:/from" tags, as the recipient's name is right there in tasteful type.

Once I figured it out, it was actually quite easy and quick - less than ten minutes per gift. The unbleached brown craft paper is only $1.25 per roll, and the book pages came from 25¢ war novel at the secondhand shop. To me, this beats the pants off of any mass-produced "Ho Ho Ho" paper in both price and style.

Here's how to do it:  

Materials and Tools

  • Brown craft paper or solid wrapping paper
  • A used book
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Alphabet templates, available in four typefaces at ManMadeDIY.com/downloads
  • Tracing set-up, such as light source and clear glass or plastic (see below)
  • Glue stick

1. Use the ultility knife to remove the pages from the spine of the book.

2. Wrap gift as normal, and note its size, measuring if you're as detail-oriented (read: obsessive) as I am.

created at: 12/07/2010

3. Choose the alphabet you'd like to use and download the templates at ManMadeDIY.com/downloads, or create your own in the typeface of your choice. Ours are fully scaleable PDFs, so print them out at the right type size to match your gift.

created at: 12/07/2010

4a. Best scenario: Make some sort of easy tracing setup. I don't have a light box, but I just use a clamp light under the plastic case for my turntable. A flash light and some glass or plexi from a picture frame will work, or even a window during daylight hours. Use the pencil to trace out the necessary letters onto the pages of the book.

created at: 12/07/2010

4b. Okay scenario: If you can't figure out a workable tracing solution, keep trying! It'll save you tons of time! If you still can't figure out a workable tracing solution, print the alphabet onto cardstock, and cut out each letter, and use them as a stencil to transfer the shapes onto your paper.

created at: 12/07/2010


5. Then, just cut out the letters, and glue them onto the package with a glue stick. Be sure to cover all of the edges of the letter with glue, so they don't curl. I went with right justifying the letters on the bottom, but experiment with what works best for each gift.

created at: 12/07/2010

6. That's it! Just repeat steps 4 and 5 for each of your packages. I found I only had to print out the template in two sizes for all of my gifts.

Happy Holidays!



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Cookie17 on Dec 05, 2012:

  I love this Makes things so neat looking,thank's Cookie17

Deb on Nov 27, 2012:

Very creative!  I'm trying this for my holiday wrapping this year.  Impressive.

SD Glass on Nov 23, 2012:

That's pretty awesome! You can also get handmade gifts on Etsy to fill that special wrapping.



Marilyn on Nov 21, 2012:

Love this idea. I have diecut letters that will work perfectly to cut the names out. I'm using this one for sure!

Ada on Nov 16, 2012:

I LOVE IT! ... I am def going to monogram gifts this year (recycling style!). Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

P. on Nov 14, 2012:

 sounds like I would do just 1 present, does it take forever to cut out, esp a lower case 'a" , did u say to use an x-acto knife? hmmm nice idea, takes time I think compared to stencils

Molly on Nov 13, 2012:

I never would have thought of that... what a good idea.

Anonymous on Nov 12, 2012:

novell idea and looks good too

AL on Nov 07, 2012:

BEAUTIFUL idea! I am a type/font lover. No short cuts, this is genius. The texture from the newspaper/book is what will give the final details. Well done dude. #TeamXacto


Lou on Nov 01, 2012:

Great and suce à cute idea! Could try to skip a step and print lettres directly onto newpaper.

Brooke on Oct 28, 2012:

This is awesome! I will totally use this this christmas <3

Jessica on Oct 24, 2012:

I love this idea! I always use brown paper for wrapping but it's such a good idea to personalise each of the presents that way! I'll definitely be doing this myself!

mel on Oct 23, 2012:

love this


ONALTIKIRKALTI on Oct 15, 2012:

if you use a pc app, why you didn't paste into all newspaper in type?

find a newspaper page from net

open in photoshop (or others)

write name and paste into newspaper jpg in your name... print and cut... this is shortcut...

Julie on Oct 13, 2012:

I like Ali's idea with the backmount. no chance of peel off or glue wrinkles :)


Daisy on Oct 03, 2012:

That is very cool and something that involves a little bit more effort and yet not so much that I would shy away from bothering. Also doubles as an effective Christmas holiday craft.

I like that you can do brown paper with the newspaper print and then perhaps reverse it to newspaper print with brown writing... It'd look great under my Christmas tree.

Holly on Sep 30, 2012:

Love this gift wrap idea.  We are just planning our gift wrap crafts too.  Must try this, thanks for sharing. Holly

Trina on Sep 29, 2012:

Yes! I like the way the letters can be customized with different colored/pattered papers or book subjects. Also, if the gifts are shipped, you don't have to worry about the bows being smooshed. :)

Anonymous on Sep 25, 2012:

i like to trace pictures straight off my computer screen, lightly so as to avoid damaging the screen. much faster. and seriously spreaking, most people change their screen long before it breaks down.

Donne Firenze on Sep 22, 2012:

Such a great idea! Love it...thanks for sharing!