Simple, special and a little bit handmade

Add a personal touch to your Christmas gifts with unique and easy-to-make papers and cards.

Words and styling Sarah Heeringa. Photography Amanda Reelick

What’s not to love about brown paper packages tied up with string? We’re with Julie Andrews on this one. 

Give your parcels a new twist this festive season by generously winding them with twine and tucking in a few painted twigs, robust blossoms or long-lasting greenery. 

Have fun personalising basic brown paper with painted dots or stars. Roll out the paper and use a small soft watercolour paintbrush for easy-to-paint dots or make a star print using star-shaped biscuit cutters of varying sizes, dipped in a little paint. I used Resene Swiss Coffee for the dots and Resene Blast Yellow for the copper coloured stars. Once dry, fold into paper gift bags, cut into large stars to sew together, (see both on previous page) or use to wrap your parcels (above).

Paint stiff card with dots and cut into gift tags. Add reinforcement stickers (used in ring binders) to punched holes or finish with metal rivets squashed into place using eyelet pliers. Thread with twine. Create bunting cards using fabric scraps and twine, glued into place. Make cute tree cards by sewing heavy art paper back and forth with green cotton. Glue onto stiffer card and finish with a star cut from gold tissue. 

Gifts from the heart

Create gorgeous personalised paper by painting basic brown paper with dots or stars. Allow paint to dry before folding paper into bags using double-sided tape. Bake a Christmassy batch of Orange and Lemon Shortbread (see recipe here). Cool, decorate and wrap biscuits in greaseproof paper and use to fill bags. Fold over the tops of the bags and secure with small metal letter clips and sprigs of hardy herbs. Cut spotty paper into two large stars and sew together using a straight machine stitch. Leave a gap and fill the star with treats or scrunched tissue to make a starry gift bag or decoration. Sew up star and complete by adding a ribbon for hanging. 

Handmade touches 

Secure parcels with twine and decorate with snippets of herbs, berries or white painted twigs. Make cute tree cards by sewing heaving art paper back and forth with green cotton. Make bunting using faric scraps and twine. 

Things to collect and use

  • Rolls of brown paper and stiff brown card
  • Stiff white card and heavy art paper
  •  Natural or stripey twine 
  • Watercolour paintbrush 
  • Paint: Resene Swiss Coffee for the dots, Resene Blast Yellow for the copper stars 
  • Plastic animals 
  • Star shaped biscuit cutters 
  • Fabric scraps
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape 
  • Washi tape 
  • Greenery such as ivy or olive branches, long-lasting herbs such as rosemary, thyme or bay laurel leaves 
  • Eyelet pliers and metal rivets 

    Spread the love
    Rate This Article:
    Previous Article
    Next Article
    Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
    Sign up to our email newsletters for your weekly dose of good