Each year, Christmas becomes more habitual, a practice performed by rote. Carefully selected and purchased wrapping paper is torn open and dumped unceremoniously, often without a glance, into the garbage. Break out of that commercial slump, and teach your children to think about things in a new way, with this fun DIY project.
Homemade Wrapping Paper
Making your own unique wrapping paper is easy, and can be a great project for you and your children. My wife and I did this with our 21 month old daughter, whose little brain-gears went into overdrive.
The most important part is finding large paper. Standard 8 ½ x 11 paper is too small. If you already have a large drawing pad, the paper from that will suffice, but it’s not the most economical option. Plain white butcher paper will yield more creative area for less money. You can find butcher paper online, or at your local school- and art-supply stores. It typically comes in a large roll, and might seem expensive on the front-end, but it is a great deal of paper; you will have plenty left after this project.
You also need paint, and, for young children, Crayola’s Washable Kids Paint cannot be beat. Clear a large work area, preferably not on or near carpet, and let your kids do their thing-most likely, they will use their own hands as stamps, and finger-paint their own designs on the butcher paper. The paint is completely washable, so let the little Picassos go!
In addition to hand- and finger-prints, smears and daubs, your children can apply stickers or even use Crayons, pens, or markers. For extra fun, you can make and use potato stamps.
Make Your Own Potato Stamps
Making your own potato stamps is simple, and it’s a fantastic way to extend the gift-wrap project. To begin, round up some baking potatoes (each potato will make at least two stamps).
1. Cut each potato in half length-wise. The raw surface will be the stamp.
2. Draw on paper several shapes (star, moon, smiley face), not larger than the raw surface of your cut potatoes. These shapes will be your cutting templates.
3. Cut out the shapes and trace them on the raw surface of the potatoes. Then use a knife to carve away the background. Don’t cut too deep; you can re-use each potato-half later by shaving off the shape and carving a new one.
4. Pour your paint into saucers large enough to dip the potato stamps into. Now, have fun!
Your new potato stamps will spice up your homemade wrapping paper.
Be sure to set aside each sheet of paper as your child finishes it, so that the paint can dry. It’s not important that your child fill every square inch of white space on the paper, either; most kids’ attention spans will have run dry long before anyway. Allow them a few minutes with each sheet of paper, and then set it aside to dry while they go on to the next sheet. Within the hour, you’ll have a stack of unique wrapping paper.