AIM DIY: Hand Print your Gift Wrap – Part1


From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

For some reason I can’t quite master gift wrapping. I get the folding and the taping; but when it comes time to add bows or other decoration, everything just sort of unravels. (Literally, at times.)

So I discovered a trick- if you start with something unique and eye-catching, no one will ever notice your mistakes.

This year I decided to print a whole line of gift wrapping options– paper, bags, and boxes– for myself and for the store. It was easier (and much more satisfying) than I expected, and I ended up printing happily for a whole day.

I thought I would share the craft happiness by showing you two of the methods I used to turn basic kraft/craft stuff into something I love to look at.

First off, let’s talk great big, bold, wrapping paper…


Supplies I used

• Rolling pin
• Contact Paper to wrap around, and protect the rolling pin
• Craft Foam sheets and Craft Foam Stickers
• Double Stick Tape
• Block or relief printing Ink- I used oil-based relief ink from Daniel Smith, in white. Speedball inks should work well too. (Make sure to read the cleanup instructions when you’re choosing an ink.)
• A smooth piece of glass or ceramic to spread ,my ink out on. (I used an old fridge shelf.)
• A Brayer like this one.
• Plain kraft butcher paper.

To build a pattern like this one…



First I wrapped my rolling pin in contact paper to protect it from the stickers and double stick tape goo. I smoothed out as many air bubbles as I could, before trimming it to fit. (This is a very forgiving project.)


Since I had decided I wanted to make a pattern with lines in it, I used a piece of scrap paper to draw guide lines all the way around the pin.


I used the craft foam sticked first. This set included a whole bunch of sports ball shapes. I placed the circular balls along the guide lines I had drawn (randomly spaced)


Next I wanted to have thin lines of craft foam to place between the circles. To give them a sticker-like back I laid out several lines of double stick tape, before…


using my craft knife to trim them into strips.


I then placed these strips along the guide lines, and trimmed them where they met up with the circles.

IMG_4987I didn’t cover all of my guide lines because I wanted to add a little randomness into my pattern.

IMG_4918Once I had the pin covered with the design I wanted to print, I laid out a strip of ink on my glass and smoothed it out with my brayer. (Shown here half smoothed.) Once the ink was smeared out on the glass, I rolled the pin through the ink several times to make sure all of my pattern was coated. Then I did a test print on a scrap piece of paper by slowly rolling my design from one end to the other.

At this point I decided that I wanted to add more lines to my design. One of the nice things about this method is that you can add or subtract pieces as you go.

All inked up.

IMG_4995Once I was happy with the design, I went crazy. I tore sheets of kraft butcher paper into large squares (approximately 24″x24″). I inked up the roller, rolled the design all the way across the paper, reinked, shifted to the edge of my design and printed again. Since I was working with a randomish pattern of lines, the paper turned out great and was lots of fun to wrap with.


Tricks and Tips

• Pick a pattern idea that has some randomness to it. You will probably end up a little uneven, so it’s best to embrace the “handmade” look of it.
• If it looks like your roller is applying ink to your paper where you don’t have foam, consider adding another foam shape there to push your roller away from the paper. It will print, but that’s okay.
• If there’s no contact paper handy, you can cover the rolling pin with a pieces of card stock instead. Just tape it down with masking tape.

Things to Try

• Put a couple of colors of ink out on the glass and combine them to get a more tie-dye or ombre look.
• You can embed designs into the craft foam by simply drawing on it with a pencil or pen. I was too excited with the look of the solid shapes to try that with this project, but I plan to try it soon!
• This would be a great project to try with kids. Just grab a couple of sets of craft foam stickers from your local craft store (mine came from Michaels) and let them go to town!


Next I’ll show you how I made a smaller print to use on gift bags and boxes; but in the meantime, try this out.

You. will. have. a. blast.

I mean it.

2 thoughts on “AIM DIY: Hand Print your Gift Wrap – Part1

  1. I just recently discovered your site. This tutorial is brilliant! The packages wrapped with your paper look really great. 🙂

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