elegant gift wrap on a budget.

My vacation earlier this month really threw a monkey wrench into my holiday budget.  I’ll admit that I spent a little more money than I had intended.  Or more precisely, I hadn’t taken the time to really add up the expenses; the resort, the cruise, the airfare, the meals at the resort, the rental car, the drinks … each one on its own seemed entirely reasonable.  Added up altogether, well, I went a little over budget.

Now I have to cut back on spending.  Right in time for the holidays.  Yikes!


So rather than buying Christmas wrapping paper this year I decided to pull out some supplies that I already had on hand and whip up some of my own.


I dug out the giant roll of brown craft paper that I purchased a few years ago, some generic shipping tags, a few old book pages, some string and Fusion’s gorgeous Copper metallic paint.

Then I added one more special ingredient; a roll of old player piano music.


I found these at a local antique store recently.  They were $1.25 per roll.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with them at the time but I figured for that price I could afford to speculate.


I painted an old gift box with the Fusion paint, wrapped it in a strip of player piano music that had been folded in half, and then added a layer of painted ribbon (plain white ribbon that is also painted with the Fusion Copper) over that.


I layered painted shipping tags with book pages to create my tags.


I used the full width of the player piano music to dress up this larger gift box that was simply wrapped in plain brown craft paper.


I especially saved the very beginning of the roll for this box so that I could feature the label.


The copper paint and the brown craft paper work beautifully together.  The dichotomy between the utilitarian craft paper and the shimmering metallic really works.  I used painters tape to tape off stripes for this next package.


In addition to painted paper and boxes, I also painted a brown craft paper gift bag, which was then stuffed with some more player piano music.  You can also see that I stenciled copper snowflakes onto one package.  And while I had the paint out anyway I painted that reindeer who started out a more garish gold color.  I much prefer him in copper!


I may have produced my gift wrap on a budget, but I don’t think it looks that way.  What do you think?  I hope I’ve inspired you to get creative with your gift wrapping this year!

49 thoughts on “elegant gift wrap on a budget.

  1. Fabulous! I have an old Martha Stewart Christmas book – where she way back then used metallic paint to create wrapping paper. Your addition of the piano roll paper adds another dimension of texture and I love it. Your tags just up the ante. Love your style! I, too, use craft paper for Christmas wrapping and have for years it seems to add a vintage feel to Christmas decor.


  2. Great inspiration – I have always loved brown kraft paper to wrap things in but my husband thinks it looks boring. Now I know how to jazz it up! I think just regular red and green paint would be cute stenciled on the brown kraft, too for the grandkid’s gifts. And I have a ‘price tag’ cutting tool that would make the tags. Your gifts look so elegant – much, much better than the purchased gift wrap.


    1. Thanks Laura! Another of the bloggers in my Fusion group used a gorgeous grey velvet ribbon with brown craft paper on her packages this year. The velvet really kicks up the craft paper a notch without much extra work. Check out her post {here}. I like your idea or red and green too, maybe you could make a ‘plaid’ pattern with it.


  3. I much prefer this look to store bought wrapping paper! I, too, always use craft paper with pretty ribbons and sometimes stencils or flowers. I like simple. The piano roll is a beautiful addition, so unique and you’re right, you can’t beat the price. Fun find! I had an idea the other night to put all of my boys gifts in my vintage suitcases with “luggage tags” on them. I think that might be my theme this year!


    1. Oh my gosh Meggan, that sounds adorable! And works well since you’ll get the suitcases back 😉 You should write a guest post for me about that, how about it?


  4. Wow! You are so creative. Now for the million dollar question. Are there gifts in those boxes? Then again does it really matter? They are so beautiful I know I would just want to keep the wrapped package. Love it!!!


    1. LOL, I bet everyone is wondering! Most of them do indeed have gifts in them. I don’t have anything in the gift bag yet though, and the box with the stenciled snowflakes is empty too 😉 I agree about keeping the wrapped package. The tall box with the lid will work well for that, the lucky recipient can keep the packaging as is and re-gift it. I plan to stop off at Hobby Lobby and get a few more boxes to paint for that that reason.


  5. How awesome! You are so talented. I love the idea of the player piano rolls. I will be on the lookout for some of these. I also love the copper. I might try some silver also. What a great and unique way to wrap a gift. Not only for Christmas, but for other events also😁


  6. Looks great…love the richness of the copper paint. I can still remember coming over to your house many years ago, and seeing a pile of presents wrapped in the plain kraft paper, but tied with jute twine (or whatever you call it)…just beautiful in the simplicity. This kicked it up a notch. And even though you went over budget a tad, the trip was worth every penney in great memories!😎


  7. Brown craft paper is the best. I’ve used metallic ink and rubber stamps to embellish the paper depending on the gift. x-mas, B-Day etc. works on plain brown gift bags too. Love your snowflake stencils. Jute or raffia make great ties too. Love your inspiration.


  8. Wow, they look great and I will most likely be tbe recipient of at least one of them. Has me thinking about maybe trying something like it. But for me I will lean more towards the red and green or maybe red and silver. Now I might need a trip for some fusion paint.


  9. I love both wrapping gifts and receiving them when they use unexpected items. Brown Kraft paper has been my go-to for a couple years now. The first year was “white” with white paint designs stencilled or stamped on the paper. Silver and gold years followed. This year I think I will do your lucious copper color since it appears to be the color of the season. For those who receive a modest gift, standout packaging makes it extra special. Your recipients will be thrilled with their gifts!


  10. Love your use of old paper for gift wrapping. The gifts came out lovely. I’ve been doing that for years and it’s so much fun. I too buy the old player piano rolls to use the paper but here in California I pay a little more. Judy


    1. It’s possible these rolls were bargain priced because there were so many of them. I’m sure the vendor just figured he’d price them low so they would move.


  11. I love what you came up with. Copper is my favorite metal look, too. The addition of player piano music paper is fun. Love the tags, too! This collection is wonderful and whimsical. I don’t even care what’s inside, because the outside is so thoughtfully done! Best wishes. Fonda


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