12 Cute & Crafty Ways to Dress Up Gifts

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Gifts: Lines Across)

An exceptionally well-wrapped gift is a double present. You are giving the gift of whatever your gift is, but you are also giving the gift of joy. All presents are fun, but a beautifully packaged present is even more fun. Isn’t it nice, in a warm, sappy way, to let someone know that you care enough not only to give them something, but also to wrap it with little jingle bells on top? That is thoughtfulness; that is love.

And (on a less warm, sappy note), while it is true that gift-giving is not technically “a competition” (I mean, I guess), there is no denying that all else being equal, the prettier package always wins.

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(Image credit: Gifts: Lines Across)

So, with peak present season upon us, here are 12 of our favorite tips for turning regular-ol’ wrapping jobs into Martha-level masterpieces.

  1. Send in the animals: This is charming and witty and abundantly delightful! If a total stranger proposed to me this way, I would probably accept.
  2. Raid your baking drawer: Admittedly, I was skeptical of “cupcake liner bows.” Like, what next, are we going to start giving each other macaroni necklaces now? But it turns out I’m wrong; these floral puffs are adorable.
  3. Do your own dots: I am not saying there is shame in traditional, store-bought wrapping paper. I am saying that this DIY polka dot paper is low-key whimsical in the best possible way.
  4. Embrace the season: Simple, cheerful, and exceedingly seasonal, baker’s twine and jingle bells are a winning combination.
  5. Consult a vintage map: This is great on a purely aesthetic level, and it’s easy to personalize, demonstrating both your thoughtfulness and your sensitivity. Does your niece dream of California? Are you married to a Francophile? There is a map out there for all of us.
  6. Go schoolhouse chic: Use black paper and white pens to create a chalkboard effect for a standout look that’s stylish, playful, and super-easy.
  7. Experiment with trims: Do not be limited by the tyranny that is ribbon! Instead, try subbing in fun and festive trims (by which I mean, whatever trims you happen to have on hand or are on clearance at the craft store).
  8. Make a mouse: This idea seems to be targeted toward children, but who among us does not appreciate a good mouse? Or maybe it’s a rabbit? It’s all in the ears.
  9. Put a bird on it: As presented on the Free People blog, this project is among the more labor-intensive, but even if you’re not up for going all out with the color-coordinated floss-wrapped twig, the basic idea — use a bird instead of a bow — still stands.
  10. Or put something else on it: Are we sensing a trend here? Anything can be a “bow,” as long as it’s fun.
  11. Try a potato print: Nick Morley is a pro and it shows (his designs are spectacular), but there’s a reason potato prints are a staple of elementary school art classes: You don’t have to have A+ fine motor skills to come up with something reasonably snappy.
  12. Add some sparkle: There are few things in this world more festive than gold tinsel. There are a whole bunch of ideas here, but they all boil down to some version of this: Buy one of those gold fringe door curtains at a party store, destroy it, and glue/tie/tape the pieces to your presents in random but attractive configurations.