Wrap it up

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Assorted affair: Mix and match different types and textures of paper and fabrics. For more of an old-fashioned country look, wrap a gift with burlap and brown string. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

Make sure your gift stands out amid the sea of presents. Create festive artwork that will leave the recipient fantasizing about what lies beneath.

“When gift wrapping, we recommend first dividing items by design, pattern or color to ensure that all packaging coordinates,” said Emily Senk, spokesperson for Paper Source, which has locations in Chicago, Evanston, Highland Park, Naperville, Oak Brook and Oak Park. “Keep gift recipients in mind so that packaging reflects individual personal styles.”

Theme packaging

If you’re purchasing gift cards, create a themed package to spice up the present. Brian Kave, a floral designer at the Michael’s in Niles, suggested, for example, gifting a certificate to a pizza place in a small pizza box. Similarly, put a coffee shop gift card with a bakery treat in a mug or wrap a movie theater certificates in a popcorn box with a package of microwave popcorn and a box of candy.

Mix and Match

The paper you use to wrap presents does not necessarily have to come from a roll. Try mixing and matching different types and textures of paper and fabrics. Use nontraditional papers, such as old calendars, Kave suggested. Pages of old magazines or books, sheet music, old maps, wallpaper scraps, newspaper pages or the Sunday comics are all good options.

When wrapping more than one gift together, mix and match solid and patterned paper, or use different sized ribbons together. Velvet, string, satin and tulle can all make good ribbons. For more of an old-fashioned country look, Kave suggested wrapping a gift with burlap and brown string, and then adding holiday picks with pinecones, snow or birds for a distinctive look.

Use fun containers

Ditch the usual boxes and use fun-shaped ones instead. Visit to your local craft store to uncover a selection of different boxes and containers, including take-out boxes, clear paint cans, metal boxes, round tins and wine tubes; many of these come in a variety of sizes, colors and prints. Hatboxes and old cookie tins also make great gift containers. Alternatively, fill a gift basket with a variety of small items and wrap it in colorful cellophane.

Decorate it yourself

Spice up plain brown or white paper by creating your own wrapping paper. Paints, crayons, stamps, stencils and stickers can all be used to create fun designs. Kave suggested having children dip their hands in paint and put their handprints all over brown craft paper. Use your computer and printer and print out messages in fun fonts on plain paper to be used to wrap presents. Create your own glitter box by using a plain white box, covering it with Mod Podge and adding glitter. Once dried, Kave said the glitter won’t be going anywhere.

Embellish it

Once your gift is wrapped, add an embellishment to really top off the perfect gift. Using stencils, cut the person’s name out of colorful paper and tape to a package, paint wooden letters to personalize a gift or cut letters or shapes out of foam pieces to decorate boxes and wrapping paper. Flowers, ornaments and small toys, such as a sock monkey ornament, all make great gift toppers.