When I was in Nepal for a special project in June I stumbled upon some beautiful hangings cascading down the staircase of the architecture school in Kathmandu. Since they appeared to be made of paper I kept it in my memory bank and thought I’d give it a try here. The ones in the staircase were about 1 story high and twice the size, but I think these mini versions are more to scale for a home party.
Keep reading for the easy instructions!
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Growing up, my mom’s exuberant gift wrapping skills often received more attention than the gift itself. And for good reason–she had a way of turning ordinary materials into beautiful works of art. One of her many tricks was taking scraps of leftover wallpaper and turning them into gift bags. I teamed up with the fine folks of Ferm Living (thank you!), my fellow Copenhagen neighbors, to use their lovely graphic wallpaper line and recreate her little secret just in time for the holidays. It’s cheaper and a whole lot more fun than buying store bought, (but then again, isn’t it always?!)
Materials Needed: box (here I use a traditional Danish Christmas candle box) to use as a form for the size of your gift, wallpaper large enough to wrap around the box, contrasting ribbon as handles, double-sided tape, scissors, whole punch, cardboard (optional)
Step 1: Cut around the size of your desired box as if you were wrapping a present leaving plenty of space around.
Step 2: Fold down about 2″ on the horizontal side. This will act as the top of the bag.
Step 3: With the folded part placed at the top of the box, continue to wrap the box like a normal gift. Go back and give a good crease to each bend in the wallpaper. This will help give shape to the bag. With the double-sided tape, tape the edge down.
Step 4: Fold the bottom of one side in, but leave the other side open.
Step 5: Take the box out of the now formed wallpaper bag and squeeze the front and back together so there’s a crease on each of the sides. Again, this will give shape to the bag and make it more sturdy.
Step 6: If you want to really secure the bag’s shape, cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the bottom of the bag (not shown).
Step 7: Decide what type of ribbon formation you’d like. There’s the traditional handles with one on each side, or a central ribbon, which I show here. I punched two holes about 3/4″ apart at the top of the bag on the front and back.
Step 8: Slide the ribbon through starting on the front, going through the back and then returning to the front again. Then tie your ribbon. Voila!
Tips: For large packages, I’d recommend cereal boxes or laundry detergent boxes. For smaller shapes, I used tea boxes. For medium boxes you can use books. Try a variety of sizes to experiment with the fun shapes you can create. Enjoy!
Photos by Hilda Grahnat
My mom always had new and exciting ways of transforming our house during the holidays. One of the most memorable transformations was a real-life candy land. I specifically remember her singularly putting up these candy garlands on the second story of our house, which now, years later, I see deserves major applause. She took simple materials and created a sweet wonderland any gingerbread man would be jealous of.
Materials Needed: corsage boxes, string of lights, scissors, wire or pipe cleaners to fasten, wire cutters, cellophane rolls in different colors, tape
Step 1: Cut a piece of cellophane about 18x 18″.
Step 2: Wrap the string of lights in the cellophane piece making sure you leave the beginning and end of the string out so it can connect to your power source and/or the next piece of candy. This will create the “crackle” of the candy.
Step 3: Put the package of lights into the corsage box and secure it closed.
Step 4: Wrap a larger piece of cellophane around the corsage box making sure there’s enough left over on each end to create the candy shape. Tape it close on one side.
Step 5: Using the wire or pipe cleaners, twist to secure at each end of each side of the corsage box.
Step 6: Leave a few lights in between each “piece” of candy and then repeat until the strand runs out. Use as many strands as you’d like for the space you intend to use.
Step 7: Plug in and watch your candy come alive!
photos by elove photos
I always walk by pipe cleaners in craft stores and think, “There’s gotta be a way to make those not look like they are meant for only 4 year-olds.” Well, I think I may have found an answer as wrapping devices. They are perfect for braiding and twisting (and you’ll learn how to braid five ways. Yipeee!). Chosen well and the colors can mimic a beautiful autumn harvest. I added some gift tags into the braiding for an extra bit of spice.
Extra long pipe cleaners (also called chenille stems)
Gift wrapped boxes (kraft paper is always a simple favorite)
Gift tags of your choice (manilla tags are clean and classic)
Glue (hot glue gun or glue dots, which I used)
Optional: stamp pad and stamps for tags
Step 1: Let’s learn to braid five with five strands. It’s a great way to add lots of color to a simple braid. It’s super easy by just remembering the “3 to 2″ rule. First, start off by pinching them together at the top. You can also set them under something heavy to weigh it down. Split one group into three and the other into two. Take the outside strand of the three group to the inside of the two group. Now, take the new three group and take the outside strand to the new inside two group. Keep on going by switching off “outside three” to “outside two” and so forth and soon you’ll see a braid developing.
Step 2: Halfway through your braiding, take the gift tag and slide it into the braid where you’d like it to be seen from the top of the package. Continue to braid until you reach the end. You don’t have to secure the ends because the wire will keep them in place.
Step 3: Glue the ends to the bottom of the box and hold to secure. You might want to bend the wires of the pipe cleaners to ensure a secure an easy shape to the box.
Get clever with the braids by adding two together in an “x”, try twisting just two colors, or try a simple 3 way braid and you’re good to go! Happy harvesting!
Photos by eLove Photography
I was wanting to make a Halloween disco ball for this year’s festivities, but I’m no fool! That would have taken ages. I decided to go with a cheaper, easier, more time-efficient option: glitter. I’m not usually a glitter fan, but once I saw this orange/pink color combo, I had to try it out. Hung in a doorway or for a party, they add a little sparkle to the season. To really get in the mood you could add a jack-o’-lantern face to it or group them in large bunches.
paper lantern (I show a white 10″ and 12″ in this tutorial)
spray glue for glitter
drop cloth or something where you can let the glitter drop
Step 1. Follow the directions on the package of the paper lantern to insert the light bulb and create the globe shape.
Step 2. With your glitter can, spray the lantern in patches then immediately add a handful of glitter. Let the extra glitter drip onto your drop cloth. You can use the extras as you go along or at the end.
Step 3. Repeat, repeat repeat! The key to glitter is layers upon layers. You don’t want it to look sparse so you might have to go over it again and again.
Pro Tip: Do this in an area where you wouldn’t mind glitter remaining. Glitter has a mind of its own and will stay on whatever is near. And don’t think using a broom will help much. I learned this the hard way.
Photography by Elovephotos for Oh Happy Day