Anatomy of the DIY Gift Wrap: Budget Edition

Is it just me, or do DIY crafts always seem to end up being more expensive than if you went and bought it pre-made at the store? I have such limited space in my home (my bath towels share a shelf with the tool set) that it's impossible for me to stockpile a useful stash of materials. As much as I'd like to, I really can't hold onto old sweaters in the hopes that one day I'll rip them up and use the fabric as decorative accent on gift wrap. Where would I keep them - in my crockpot? It's just not practical right now.

And let's not forget that all that pretty DIY takes a fair amount of time, which is not abundant in the life of a toddler mom/small business owner/wife/wannabe writer.  It takes even more time when you are not naturally design-y (not a word, I know) as well as an indecisive perfectionist. Translation: I'm very good at wasting time on unimportant details because I don't know what I am doing.

So when I get the urge to do something homemade -- fairly frequently, thanks to all the amazing, creative bloggers out there -- I usually end up with a diminished bank account and a discouraged spirit.

I promised that I wouldn't do that to myself this Christmas, despite being completely taken by Summer's luxurious monochromatic gift wrap and Sally's more modern, gilded take and wishing I could create something similar.

I reached into the the closet, pulled out the old, gaudy, drugstore bargain-bin rolls of wrapping paper and forgot about it.


When we opened the three small boxes that store our Christmas decorations, out tumbled a few rolls of wide, shimmery gold metallic ribbon and some tiny, round, gold ornaments. They used to adorn my small, college-apartment Christmas tree, but have sat unused in the box since then.

It gave me a little idea. So I started scrounging deeper - in the Christmas boxes, in the kitchen, in my closet. Here's what I found:

White Yarn
Tiny Gold Ornaments
Wide Gold Ribbon
Skinny Gold + Silver Ribbon
Miscellaneous Buttons
Roll of White Paper

(FYI: The white paper is from my son's art easel that we bought at IKEA. It's the MALA paper, and I'm officially in love with it. Go get a roll. It's heavy and perfect for wrapping).

I decided to try to make some pretty packaging with those items, plus these things from the clearance aisle at Michaels & JoAnn Fabric:

Sheer Ivory Ribbon - .75 cents
1 Yard of Burlap - $3.00
Glitter Leaves - .49 cents
Glitter Gift Bag (to make tags)- $1.29

Total Cost: $5.53

Here's what I ended up with. 

Not bad for under six bucks, if you don't mind me saying so. I'm glad I didn't let my need for perfection stop me from at least trying. It feels simple, but special. Isn't that what do-it-yourself is all about, anyway?


  1. What perfect timing! I had been looking for cute gift wrap ideas all over the internet yesterday. Your's is definitely the best one I've seen. Thanks for the cute ideas :)

  2. Your DIY wrapping is simply beautiful and inspires me to give it another whirl myself. : )

  3. this is genius. take back that you're not crafty. (I always fall into the trap of spending more on my DIYs.)

  4. you are so creative! love your elegant style, marisa.

  5. these are SO PRETTY! seriously. they turned out really gorgeous.

    oh and no, i'm not quite a Christmas baby either - dec. 22nd for me! happy birthday on the 23rd :)

  6. So she say's she's not very good at crafting or Diying and then BAM! These are just beautious! *s*

  7. joyousleehis12/18/10, 9:01 AM

    I'm a proud mama :o)
    Not only because it all came out so beautiful,
    but because you persevered and did not give into
    frustration and overcame your discouragement. Makes it even sweeter. Plus your pics are great!

    Love you MUCHO!!

  8. I get caught in all the DIY's too. Your wrapping is gorgeous. I guess that's what we should do when trying to be effective and efficient is just pull out what we've got and re-think the uses.

  9. Fantastic ideas and such lovely wrappings!

  10. my jaw is on the keyboard. these are exquisite. beautiful, beautiful work. glad i don't have to be the one to heartbreakingly unwrap these pretty things. thanks for the eye candy today.

  11. Génial ! c'est ravissant ! Voilà de super idées !

  12. Great ideas, I had to come up with a class on using just the things you have around the house . I have been doing a lot of searching the internet , your ideas are great.