How to Make Your Own Wrapping Paper!


If you want to “brand” your gifts and make a mess at the same time, I have the project for you!

Let’s make our own wrapping paper!


All goodies can be acquired for under $20 total.

  • 3 small paint sample tubs: $2.99 each at Lowe’s. I recommend choosing a dark color, a mid-tone, and a light color. For this project, I went with ruby red, minty green, and cream. I’ve also drawn up a few other palettes that might work for you.
  • A few brushes/foam applicators: $.50-$5. Brushes with messy bristles (“chip brushes”) will leave streaky marks. Others will have a smoother appearance. Get a few of different sizes — big, small, etc. The dollar store has a bunch of supplies like this. It’s okay to buy cruddy supplies for this project.
  • Butcher paper: $5ish. Thicker is better. Thicker also means that you may have to use packing tape to seal your gift later.
  • Scissors: you probably already own this. If you don’t, what kind of life are you living? Are you okay?
  • Electrical tape: $1. Masking tape is also fine.
  • Plastic drop cloth: $1. This project is messy. If you want the security deposit on your apartment back, don’t skip this.
  • Paper towels, a cup for water, & clothing you don’t care about.

To start, affix your butcher paper to your work surface with the electrical or masking tape. The edges should curl down so your paper will lay flat. Is your drop cloth on the ground? Double-check.

Now it’s time to apply some dazzle.


To make this fun polka dot design: Hold your brush straight up, with the bristles touching the paper. Rotate it while pressing down. It’ll make a rough circle. You’ll see here that I used a chip brush for the cream. It looks cool. If you vary your brush size & type, you’ll get different circle sizes & effects.


How to make plaid: This was inspired by a tutorial I saw for plaid nails. I laid the base green down with a print-making brayer. That was a mistake. Use a brush. Apply the red down, then the white, then the base color again. Plaid is interwoven.


How to make Mondrian roll in his grave: Sketch a grid on the paper. If you want to be fussy about this, be my guest, but I couldn’t be bothered. Fill in some of the boxes with the two lighter colors. Mondrian’s rectangles were different sizes, so feel free to fill in one, two, or four squares together. Feel this out as you go along. Then use the dark color to re-create whatever parts of the grid you’d like. Erase the pencil lines when you’re done.


Other options: You can mix colors. Cream + red = pink. Another possibility is drawing ugly reindeer. The less realistic the better. Below are a few other geometric options.

Seal up your package with packing tape, swing some twine around the outside, and voila! You’re ready to give and receive!