Make It Holiday!
A Genius Gift Wrap Idea From Erin Jang
Graphic designer Erin Jang asks, "What if gift wrap was worth saving?" as she and her boys create frame-worthy portraits from the scrap bin that make holiday gifts more meaningful.
- Written By
- Erin Jang of The Indigo Bunting
I like to think about inexpensive ways to add more meaning and care to our gift-giving during the holidays. Gift wrap is often thrown away, seconds after a present is opened. But what if it was worth keeping?
By using whatever paper scraps and craft supplies already found at home, kids can surprise their family and loved ones with their own portraits (in lieu of gift tags!) on presents. The pictures can be sweet and simple (marker scribbled on cut construction paper) or more involved (a collage of different papers and found materials). No matter what, that handmade touch–a creative portrait made by the kids with love–will make the gift something to be treasured, even before it’s opened.
You will need:
• Plain colored gift wrap
• Coloring tools (markers, crayons, colored pencils or paint)
• Any other craft embellishments you have on hand (scraps of felt or fabric, pipe cleaners, pom poms, yarn, circle stickers, etc.)
Wrap your gifts. I like using simple, matte color paper rolls and solid tissue paper in unexpected colors to wrap my presents. The non-metallic papers are recyclable and the solid colors make them utilitarian — I can use them all year round, for every occasion.
Gather different papers and craft supplies for your collages. My kids and I use whatever scraps we have around the home: construction paper, textured paper leftover from other projects, last week’s newspaper, notebook and graph paper, patterned and foil origami paper, even the backs of receipts and snack boxes and colorful mailers (my boys keep a paper bag in their room where they stash various scraps and pieces of cardboard and paper for crafting).
You can add shoulders or a torso by cutting out a small semicircle or a simple rectangle.
Use your imagination and create details that are unique to the person receiving your gift. Shape pipe cleaners into eyeglasses! Glue shiny paper or craft sequins for a sparkly top. Use felt, yarn and pom poms for a textured ‘do. (Or newspaper, which is perfect for grey hair!)
After gluing the face, shoulders and other details onto the top of your box, finish by drawing eyes, a smile and other facial features.
(Tip: After the gift is opened, you can even cut out the collage portrait and frame it as a keepsake!)
Erin Jang is a graphic designer and illustrator in New York City and Mom of two boys, ages 5 and 10. She’s the author of a creative fill-in book for parents and kids and , a board book introduces emotional literacy to toddlers. In her multidisciplinary studio , she works on a wide range of creative projects, from art direction, magazine design and illustration, to branding and toys.