Why on earth would you need a gift wrapping station? Well partly so you can feel smug and organised, but mostly because it makes life so much easier when you need to wrap a whole load of presents! It’s really frustrating when the stuff you need is all over the place and as soon as you sit down to start you realise you’ve forgotten the sellotape or run out of paper…
The best part is that a gift wrapping station doesn’t have to take up a lot of room. There are so many great hacks for creating one in whatever space you have available. And even if you’ve left things to the last minute you’ll still have everything to hand.
A sideboard gift wrapping station
I use a set of drawers for mine. The bottom drawer is the perfect width and depth for rolls of wrapping paper, brown paper and tissue paper. The middle drawer holds all the stuff I hoard save for making my wrapping look pretty. Things like ribbons, twine and bows, gift tags and other cute bits and pieces… (take a look here to see what kinds of things I keep ‘just in case’). It also holds gift bags and little gift boxes I’ve kept from presents I’ve been given. The top left drawer has a box of cards, scissors and sellotape in it. (The top right drawer holds other stuff that’s not related to gift wrapping 😄)
A gift wrapping station in a cupboard
If you have the space a cupboard would also be great. There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest for this, including using tension rods to keep rolls of wrapping paper in place and using baskets or tubs to organise other bits and pieces. You can also use kitchen roll/paper towel holders attached to the inside of the door for holding rolls of ribbon and washy tape.
A mounted gift wrapping station
If you don’t have any storage space available, then you can easily create a wrapping station that’s mounted on a wall or door.
Here’s a quick video to show you how to use the inside of a cupboard door.
Or you could use pegboard that’s mounted on any wall. It’ll make life easier if you put it near a desk or table so that you have a surface to do the wrapping on, though I’ve often ended up wrapping on the floor anyway 😆
A wrapping kit in a box
If you really can’t find anywhere to create a gift wrapping station, then the next best thing is a gift wrapping kit in a box. Any box that will hold your supplies in will do. It’s just so much more convenient when everything you need is in one place. And this has the advantage that you can just carry it to wherever you want to do the wrapping.
Just do it…
The great thing is you can go as minimal or as crazy as you like depending on the space you’ve got available. If you really want to get gift wrapping station envy, then take a look at these ideas on Pinterest... I think I’d have to either win the lottery or become a professional gift wrapper before I could ever justify the space taken up by some of these! But even the smallest, simplest solution is worthwhile, so go ahead and create your own in your own way.
Although we’re in lockdown during prime holiday shopping time this year, online marketplaces like Etsy make shopping for thoughtful personalised gifts easy. And 2020 is a year that we really do want to show our favourite people how terrific we think they are, so ordinary gifts are not going to cut it!
While there are plenty of options for shopping online, I love Etsy because you can always find something that’s a bit different from the usual. There are so many opportunities for personalising or customising gifts so that they’re perfectly suited to that particular person you’re buying for. There’s nothing better than seeing someone’s face when you’ve surprised them with the most thoughtful gift ever!
I’ve chosen some Etsy items that I think would make perfect personalised gifts to inspire you with your Christmas shopping. If you’d like more ideas you can take a look at Etsy’s own Personalised Gifts Guide too. And just so you know, I’ve used affiliate links throughout this post. This means that if you click on one of the links and buy I may get a little commission for sending you there. It won’t cost you anything extra though, and I’ve only chosen gifts that I’d be happy to give myself.
One of the easiest ways to make a gift more thoughtful is to personalise it. Whether it’s adding the recipient’s name or customising the present to reflect their likes (or dislikes 😝), it means you have to put a little thought into it and that’s what makes it so special. Here are some suggestions…
Particularly if you’re not able to see much of each other right now (thanks coronavirus! 😠) having a photo framed with a message that says exactly what you feel is a great way to remind your favourite people that you’re still thinking of them. I love how elegant and simple this frame is and if you’re not the soppy type you can always add a funny message to make them chuckle whenever they read it!
This personalised barbecue tool set is another thoughtful gift I reckon could go down very well with a few members of my ‘braai’ obsessed family. I just need to decide who to give it to!
The personalised bag to keep the tools in is a great addition to make it that much more special.
Another gift that I think would be particularly thoughtful one of these personalised stationery sets. Perfect for stationery addicts! Staying in touch has become so much more important during 2020. And having gorgeous notepapers like the ones below will inspire them to keep it up during 2021!
How gorgeous are these sets from MadebyEllis on Etsy?!
I can’t decide whether I’d be more excited to give these sets or received them! 😍
Here’s another idea that would make a very thoughtful gift for a teenager who loves their music.
Love a gift that’s both pretty and practical!
This next one’s great for one of those people who have found themselves doing a lot of baking during lockdown. Whether you’ve done Zoom bake-offs together or just seen their yummy creations on social media, this personalised baking set would make a fabulous gift.
This kid’s version is also great for those who’ve been helping their parents in the kitchen…
I know I’d love to get this stunning personalised oak bookend with the pretty vase insert – it would make a great gift for any book lover. Another present that is both useful and gorgeous looking 😍. It’s so lovely I couldn’t decide which photo to use, so you’re getting both…
And finally, for the ultimate personalised gift you could order one of my custom cartoon family portraits – you can’t get much more unique than that and grandparents in particular will love it. You could even add a frame yourself (if you’re sure you know their taste) to make it even more special.
(I also do custom illustrations if you would like something especially bespoke.)
I hope this has given you some useful ideas. Finding perfect personalised gifts, even during lockdown, is a breeze on Etsy. Happy shopping!
As well as selling greeting cards and doing custom cartoon portrait cards, did you know I also do custom illustration prints that make great personalised gifts? You may already have seen some of the cartoon portrait prints I do, but enjoy doing other custom illustration too.
I was approached recently by someone who had seen this drawing of Tower Bridge that I did a while ago. She want a collection of specific landmarks and places in the same style to put in some new frames she and her husband had bought, including the Tower Bridge illustration.
Here’s what I came up with. She chose the subject of each custom illustration print and let me know what size they each needed to be to fit her frames.
Each of those places was special to her and her husband in one way or another so now every time they look at their prints they’re reminded of the memories associated with each illustration.
I loved doing completely different illustrations to my usual for this order – I do enjoy doing the cartoon portraits, but it’s nice to have a change as well 🙂
A custom illustration of a place or topic that is special to the person you’re giving it to would make a really great personalised gift that you know they’ll love. And I’m happy to adapt to a variety of different styles to suit your tastes, from the detailed monochrome drawings above to my usual cartoonish style, or perhaps something in-between.
Here’s an example of a custom cartoon family portrait I did earlier this year for a wonderfully loyal customer – this would be ideal as a Christmas or birthday gift for parents or grandparents. If you’re interested in the process behind this particular portrait then I wrote about it here: My custom cartoon portrait process.
So if there’s anything particular you have in mind then please feel free to get in touch. My cartoon portraits are all available to order in my shop, but if you’d like something more customised or even completely different, like the landmark illustrations, then I’m always happy to quote based on the time it will take to complete.
I decided to try and avoid buying wrapping paper as much as possible a while ago, as it seems awfully wasteful. As a result I’ve been investigating more eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas and, although I’m still learning, I thought you might like to hear about some of them.
Not everyone realises that the majority of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. While plain paper is, most gift wrap has plastic coating, glitter and/or synthetic inks added which means it’s destined for landfill rather than recycling. As a very general rule if you crumple the paper up and it stays crumpled then it may be recyclable, but if not then it’s almost certainly got plastic in it.
The great thing about switching to more eco friendly gift wrapping is that it is also usually more economical, so even if you’re just a cheapskate it’s still worth it 😆
Reusing for more eco friendly gift wrapping
Reuse old gift wrapping
The most obvious way to do this is by reusing gift bags and the wrapping paper that gifts you receive come in. If the wrapping paper is a bit wrinkled, then an iron can sometimes help with this. If the paper is plain and a bit wrinkled, then you can also crumple it up really well then flatten it back out again for a lovely crinkled effect. Add some ribbon and a gift tag and you have something that looks like it came from a boutique!
Save up bits and pieces
You can create some really gorgeous gift wrapping by saving up odds and end to reuse. As well as you can reuse tissue paper from clothes and other package deliveries as well as newspaper. I’ve seen some truly gorgeous gift wrapping ideas on Pinterest using newspaper so decided to try it myself. Here’s my effort using scraps of ribbon and two sprigs of lavender, which I think looks quite acceptable:
However I will add that newspaper looks best with just the text. And these days it is quite difficult to find large sections of text without photographs so it’s more suited to a small gift. You also have to be careful what text is on there. Obituaries or bad politics can give the wrong message 😁. One tip I’ve come across is to use foreign newspapers, which seems like a good solution if you can find one.
And of course if you don’t have any newspaper lying around already then buying some only makes sense if you’re going to use the majority of it for something else…
Old boxes can also be decorated to create lovely gift boxes of all shapes and sizes. You can paint them, cover them with fabric or paper scraps (or newspaper), or if they’re pretty enough leave them as is and just cover any logos up with a sticker or gift tag.
You can even use old toilet roll tubes to make cute little gift boxes! Take a look at this video to see how…
Other things that are worth saving to decorate your gift wrapping with are ribbons, string, buttons and fabric. As well as being more eco-friendly you’ll be known for always wrapping gifts beautifully! I have a drawer with all sorts of little bits and pieces in that I’ve kept, including stuff like the twist ties on Christmas crackers and the ribbon and bells that come with Lindt bunnies.
All these odds and ends would usually go in the bin, but this way they get used at least one more time before this happens. You might inspire the recipient to reuse them again too when they see your gorgeous gift wrapping! 😃
Use charity shop finds
You can also gather up gift wrapping supplies from charity shops. As well as reusing old stuff you’ll also be supporting the charity. They’re usually pretty inexpensive too. Look for sheet music, old maps or fabric for wrapping in. And any type of haberdashery, faux flowers/leaves and brooches are all great to decorate with. Some clothing that has seen better days could also be cut up and used if the fabric is pretty.
You can easily make a fabric gift bag by sewing a rectangle with one end open. Either sew a seam to thread ribbon or string through and gather, add a button and loop to fold the top over, or just create ribbon handles.
Oxfam also often sells fair trade and sustainable gift wrapping options. If you don’t want to buy second hand it’s worth taking a look around there.
Other eco friendly gift wrapping ideas
You could use these pretty recycled sari shopping bags from Oxfam to wrap a gift and it can then be used by the recipient afterwards too.
If you are giving a scarf as part of a present, use it to wrap the rest of the gift in. There are loads of videos on YouTube to show you how to do this.
Another very eco-friendly idea is to use a Furoshiki cloth to wrap present in. You can read all about Furoshiki techniques for wrapping gifts here. You can use any square piece of fabric for this or buy one like this example on Etsy.
Furoshiki cloths originated in Japan. The tradition is for the recipient to return the Furoshiki cloth to the gift giver to be reused. However even if you don’t get it back they’re unlikely to throw out something so pretty!
Use plain brown or white paper – it can be more easily recycled. It’s definitely preferable to buying decorative wrapping papers that are likely to end up in landfill. A brightly coloured ribbon and gift tag is enough to make it look pretty (see below), or use any other bits and pieces, such as buttons, string, dried leaves or flowers, to decorate with. You can also draw or stamp onto the paper to spruce it up if you like.
Seed paper is another terrific eco friendly option which also looks very upmarket. The paper contains seeds in it and can be planted afterwards. You can even print on some of them with an inkjet printer, like these from LittleGreenPaperShop on Etsy:
Ribbon or string is a much more environmentally friendly way to secure your gift wrapping than using sellotape. However if you do need to use some tape then try paper washi-tape. It’s pretty as well as being easier to recycle.
Finally, it’s also worth considering the environment when it comes to cards. I tend to only give cards to extra special people on extra special occasions and I make sure that all the greeting cards I create are printed on FSC® certified card stock. This means the materials used to make the product have been ethically sourced from well-managed and sustainable forests.
What ideas to you have to make your gift wrapping more eco friendly? I’d love to see your ideas on social media so please tag me if you post something along these lines.
I love reading and I know I’m not alone, so this week I’ve compiled some gift ideas for book lovers. Whether you’re looking for a book related gift or just something to give alongside an actual book I’ve got you covered 😆
Just to let you know, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and buy I’ll get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything though, just make a book lover happy 🙂
Giving an actual book
If you’re sure they’re not going to read it ahead of time and you know they want it, a real physical book is an obvious choice. Here are some ideas for making a book gift extra special.
This gift box includes a book from your chosen genre…
Or you could include a bookmark with the book – they come in a huge range of prices to suit your budget.
Alternative book gifts
One issue with giving an actual book is that even if you know exactly the type of books the recipient likes, and you know they haven’t read the one you have in mind yet, there’s no guarantee they won’t still read it before the big day. One particular member of my family has been notorious in the past for buying himself the exact thing you’ve got him a few days before his birthday…
So buying a paper book isn’t always practical for every book lover.
A large majority of people also now read on an ebook reader. I love my Kindle as it makes it easy to carry around hundreds of books at a time and I have a habit of reading more than one book at a time (never more than one fiction book at a time though – that would just be weird).