10 Ways to Dress Up Plain Wrapping Paper

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Looking for some fabulous ways to dress up plain wrapping paper and make some amazing, creative gift wrapped packages?  I've rounded up 10 of my favorite ways to decorate plain gifts and make them something truly special.

Collage of creative gift wrapping ideas optimized for Pinterest

Do you have about 50 rolls of wrapping paper cluttering up a closet somewhere in your house?  I know I do.  And it always seems like I can never find what I need.  It's a boy birthday party, and all I have is Barbie birthday paper.  It's a bridal shower and I have tons of Christmas wrap, but nothing appropriate or helpful for that event.  And so I go out and buy more.  (You'd think at some point I'd have everything I need, but somehow that hasn't happened yet).

Instead, I've decided to pare down.  Get one or two solid colors of wrapping paper and make it look pretty in other creative ways.

Box wrapped in plain green paper on a white background.

I know, it looks intimidatingly lame with just the basic wrapping.  But I've been scouring the internet for fabulous, easy ways to make a plainly wrapped package look fabulous.

10 Ways to Embellish Plain Wrapping Paper

Number 1, A Stamped Tag:

Package wrapped in kraft paper with a stamped gift tag, tied with a red and white striped ribbon, and embellished with holly leaves and a candy cane.

Use a stamp directly on the wrapping paper instead of a tag!  Wouldn't this look adorable with a rainbow lollipop and a bit of colorful ribbon for a birthday present, too?  Spotted at Inspirations for the Home.

Number 2, Knotted Yarn:

Brown paper packages embellished with colorful yarn.

LOVE this idea from Melanie Falick Books.  How easy is it to tie a bunch of colorful yarn around the present?  My girls would love to do this.  Craft activity and something useful accomplished all at once?  Yes, please!

Number 3, Silk Flowers and Twine:  

Plain white box tied with twine and topped with a pink silk flower.

Twine or yarn and a silk flower.  Absolutely gorgeous, but how much more simple could it get?  Found at The Savvy Photographer.

Number 4, Real Greenery: 

Package wrapped in brown paper, topped with a miniature wreath of real fresh evergreen and tied with red and white baker's twine.

I'm not sure I can properly express how much I love this idea from Odessa May Society.  The real greenery wreath, the baker's twine...swoon!  

Number 5, Yarn Pom Poms:

Package wrapped in reddish brown paper, tied with white string, and embellished with a yarn pom pom flower on a twig.

I used to make some pretty radical yarn pom poms for my roller skates, but I never thought of using them in creative gift-wrapping.  Yay, internet!  This bit of brilliance came from Domestifluff.  She has a lovely tutorial for making yarn poms, too.

Number 6, Paper Flowers:

Coiled rose flowers made out of newspaper and red and white string top a plain brown paper wrapped Christmas gift.

How pretty are these simple paper roses made out of printed paper from Holly Mathis Interiors?  This would look gorgeous with white-on-white paper flowers like the ones I made for the Secret Garden Baby Shower.

Number 7, Lace and layers:

Plain brown kraft box wrapped in white lace, burlap, and ribbon.

Love love love the lace over the plain kraft wrapping paper.  But what puts it over the top is the layering of satin ribbon on top of the lace!  Gorgeous, and it works for any occasion!  From White Aisle Weddings (a now defunct website).

Number 8, Woven Ribbon:

Plain pink gift being embellished with woven ribbon of various widths.

Weave different colors and widths of ribbons round the package for a gorgeous, tailored, custom look.  From the ever-fabulous Martha Stewart.

Number 9, Fabric Ribbon:

Colorful flower print fabric ribbon tied in a bow around a plain brown kraft gift box.

Ribbon can get expensive awfully quickly.  But simple strips of fabric make gorgeous ribbon--and there are so many options out there!  I love this one from We Love Citrus.  I personally love the look of the frayed edges, and when I use this technique, I deliberately fray mine.  But you could certainly cut the fabric with pinking shears if you wanted a cleaner look.  I have a tutorial for making your own fabric ribbon, too.

Number 10, Balloons:

This one is my own humble addition to this collection.  After the Balloons party, I found myself with a lot of leftover balloons.  They're great for a quick summer activity for making the kids happy, but it only recently dawned on me that they'd make great decorations for presents!

Present wrapped in green paper, topped with a twisted balloon flower.

It's like getting two presents in one, for the kid!  Here's a good tutorial for making a six-petal balloon flower like the one I made.

Present wrapped in green paper, topped with a twisted balloon animal T-Rex dinosaur..

I love how you can change the style and theme in an instant, like how I customized this present with a balloon Tyrannosaurus Rex for a paleontology birthday party.  I followed this tutorial by my favorite balloon twisting tutorial guy, Mr. Fudge.  (Snicker.  Yes, evidently I'm 12 years old.)  I didn't know how to make a balloon T-Rex  until 10 minutes before we walked out the door to go to the party.  It's not hard, I promise, but it will make your present the coolest one in the pile!

I hope you'll find this roundup of creative ways to dress up plain presents.  If you want to see more of the ideas I've collected, check out my Packaging board on Pinterest.

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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