Homemade Fruit Gift Wrap

_MG_9902Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making my own gift wrap. While there are so many beautiful options readily available out there, I find that people notice when you’ve taken the time to paint it and that makes the gift all the more special.

In an effort to stretch out the summer, I’ve been going a little crazy with fruit-themed projects before the produce switches into Fall mode (hence The Perfect Fruit TartThailand-Inspired Fresh Fruit Shakes, & Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie). For the upcoming birthday and housewarming presents I’ll be gifting this month, I decided to stick to this theme and make fruit-inspired gift wrap with watercolors and acrylics. I love how colorful and sweet they looked in the end, especially as a group.


Materials:

  • Plain white gift wrap
  • Spray paint (optional, but it’s the ideal paint for your base layer)
  • Watercolors or acrylics
  • Paint brushes (one thick, one thin)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Green ribbon and bows

First, place a large piece of scrap paper or newspaper on the ground to protect from any mess you will make. Then cut the wrapping paper into the sizes of paper you need towrope your gifts. You’ll want to paint them one at a time, so place your first piece on the ground and tape down the edges.

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Going into this project, I already had two colors of spray paint, olive green and pink, so I went ahead and used those to make the base for the watermelon, kiwi, and strawberry papers. Simply spray an even coat over the paper and set aside to dry (for the watermelon, do half of it pink, half green, and leave a fuzzy strip of white in the middle).

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Using watercolors or watered-down acrylics, coat the remaining pieces of paper until completely covered. It may be a little wrinkly from the water (which is why the spray paint is ideal), but those waves will smooth out when you wrap your gift.

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Allow the base coats to dry completely.

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Once dry, you can begin painting details onto the papers. The amount of detail it up to you. I added seeds to the watermelon as well as a few strokes of darker green, I also add seeds to the strawberry and kiwi. I used acrylic to paint the pulp into the orange and lemon papers, and a simple black star to the blueberry. For the grapes, I liked the base enough to leave them alone.

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Once the paper is completely dry, wrap the gifts and decorate with green ribbon. Hope you have as much fun making these as I did!

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Happy wrapping!

-Kirby

Candy Advent Calendar

_mg_8162goldleavesIt’s that wonderful time of year – December is finally here! We’ve been overwhelmingly busy with final exams and packing for winter break, but decided to take a day off to craft and embrace the holiday spirit together before we leave for home.

Advent calendars are the most exciting Christmas decoration thanks to the sweet surprise that hides behind each day. Usually we get the cardboard ones where you punch out the chocolate each day, but this year we decided to make it more interesting. We loaded up on our favorite candies (pretty much all of them to be honest) and wrapped them up like mini Christmas gifts. The end result is so festive and cute, plus the wooden structure is sturdy and reusable so we never have to go back to the plain old cardboard calendars again. Because we were a little late starting this one, we embraced the excuse to eat five candies in one night, and there’s no shame in you doing the same!


Materials:

  • A long piece of wood
  • White spray paint
  • 25 nails
  • Black acrylic paint
  • A thin paint brush
  • Wrapping paper (we mostly used tissue paper)
  • 25 small candies
  • Ribbon
  • String (we used the red & white twisted kind)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Command strips for hanging

Use a piece of wood that is long enough to hold all 25 candies. We found this scrap wood at the UCLA sculpture lab – it doesn’t need to be fancy. Set it down outside on paper or newspaper and coat the wood with white spray paint. We only did one layer for a more rustic look but feel free to do another for a cleaner style. Allow to dry completely.

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Carefully measure out where each number will go. It’s been a while since we took math and this took us a few tries, but it will look much better if it is evenly spaced apart. We marked each space with a small pencil mark. Then using whatever font you would like, paint the numbers over each dot. If you don’t have faith in your calligraphy skills, you could easily use number stickers from any craft store.

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Next, hammer the nails into the pencil dots. You want them to be secure, but still protruding quite a bit in order to hold the candies (Note: doing this in a Christmas sweater will add to the festive vibe).

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Pick out your 25 candy surprises. We opted for a large variety of things from chocolates to fruity chewy candies. Pick what you like, because you will be the one eating them! The goal is to find candy with small, easy-to-wrap packaging. Some things, like the starbursts, you can divide up into three separate days. We poured the skittles into little plastic baggies that would be wrapped into cute pouches.

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Wrap all of the candy. Warning, this is not a craft for those who hate gift wrapping. This is probably what it feels like to be Santa Claus for mice. We used tissue paper except for the plaid gift wrap, and we used variations of gold ribbon to create consistency.

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Cut different lengths of string (so that the mini presents will all hang at different heights) and tape them in a loop to the back of each candy gift.

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Using command strips, attach the wooden piece to the wall. Hang the gifts onto the advent calendar in a random order. We tried to arrange them based on wrapping color and the length at which they hang.

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Now relax, indulge your sweet tooth, and let the countdown begin!

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Happy December!

-Kirby and Michelle