It’s heading towards mid-November already, and I need to start thinking about getting things organised for Christmas. Over the last 12 months or so, I have discovered that I love decorating paper – creating gorgeous effects with paper, paint, crayons, and whatever else I have to hand, so this year I thought it would be fun to create our own giftwrap.
I thought creating our own graffiti giftwrap would be particularly fun for the boys to do, so I bought a cheap flip chart pad to use for the purpose. For under £10.00 I got 40 sheets of bright white A1 size paper which is just the right thickness to use for wrapping paper. The size and shape is perfect too for wrapping most presents. This approach is probably not going to save you money, but will result in some seriously gorgeous, luxury, personalised hand-made wrapping paper for the same price as the mass-produced stuff which you would otherwise buy (unless you would otherwise buy the cheapest or most expensive paper!). The paper we have left over can be used by the boys to create some larger artwork!
I rooted around in the garage to find all the half-used spray cans I could find – (I actually found quite a few which I’d bought for different purposes over the years, including red, green, gold and silver – all excellent Christmas colours). I also got a range of the children’s paints to hand, putting a quantity of each colour into old yoghurt pots and adding a few drops of water to each to make them slightly more runny. The addition of a few cheap acrylic metallic colours to the range helped to add a little ‘bling’. These were used straight from the pot.
In terms of tools, we had a brush for each colour, and some large sponge brushes to use when we wanted to start with a background colour.
This was always going to be a project which we did either outdoors or in the garage, so as it was wet outside, I spread paper over the garage floor, and put everything out there. I also made sure that old clothes were worn. My boys are still quite young at 5 and 7, and I didn’t feel it was appropriate for them to use the spray cans yet (I was also concerned about them breathing in the fumes created, as they were not children’s paints). So after preparing the sheets with a background colour, we left it to dry, and before I fetched them back for the fun bit, I sprayed some random swirls on the paper with the spray paints. The gold and silver looked particularly good! You could of course dispense entirely with the spray cans, but they gave much more depth to the finished papers, and added to the graffiti feel. I also found a gold can which added a glittery finish to the paper which I really liked.
After I had cleared the air of spray can fumes by opening the garage door, I fetched the boys back to do some paint flicking. Of course inevitably there were some instances where they were keener to flick it at each other rather than the paper, but with a bit of encouragement they got stuck in. My 5 year old needed a little help with his flicking technique, but he soon got the hang of it. I also joined in to make sure that we got a fairly even spread of flicked paint as far as possible on some of the sheets, because on this occasion I felt it was not just about the process but also the result! However I also let them do a couple of sheets of their own. Sorry I don’t have any photos of the process, but the light was so poor in the garage that I couldn’t get any photographs worth using.
Once the papers were dry I ironed them on the back to flatten out any bumpiness, which made them look even better!
Be warned, this is an unavoidably messy activity, but great fun. Well supervised and carried out in a place where mess doesn’t matter it can create some fantastic results. Of course there’s absolutely nothing stopping you doing this on a large sheet of fabric or canvas – as the results are so beautiful it seems a shame to use them on something as transient as wrapping paper.
I think we’ll be creating more papers before Christmas, so I’ll keep you posted!