Making your own Xmas Wrapping paper can give that extra special finish to any gift and I thought it would be fun to show how easy it can be to create your own unique gift wrap this year.
I'll be introducing you to batik printing on paper, using a variety of household printing tools and creative tips and ideas how to make your own successful designs to impress family and friends.
I'm inspired at the moment by Scandinavian patterns and colours and wanted my printed Xmas Wrap to show this influence as it always puts me in the mood for Christmas!
Step 1: Printing With Found Metal Objects.
You can find objects around the house that might have perfect pattern potential.
My favourite is the black metal curtain tie back, which gives these splendid Scandinavian style flower prints.
The metal waffle irons are also ideal for this sort of work if you can find them, used on their own or combined with each other to create larger patterns.
I'm using a flat bed frying pan which has a handy thermostatic control for heating the paraffin wax. Make sure you work in a well ventilated area, due to the wax fumes.
You can experiment with different types of papers, but for this project I used inexpensive plain lining paper, the fish and chip variety, from a local scrapstore. The thin quality of this type of paper makes a good wax print and easy surface to absorb the dyes.
You can contact your local newspaper printers for inexpensive end of rolls too.
Step 2: Printing With Lino
If you have a small amount of craft lino, available from most craft shops, you can create your own simple patterns for printing.
First warm up your lino which will then make it easier to cut with a craft knife or lino cutting tool. I glued these lino squares on to blocks of wood to make it easier for printing.
If you fill the wax heater with too much wax you can easily transfer too much wax and spoil your printing. It can take a bit of practise to get some sort of regular repetition.Shaking off any excess wax between each stamp will avoid carrying too much wax and achieve clearer prints.
I also use a square of felt in the bottom of my wax pan to act as a soft printing pad and keep the printing tools from sitting on the bare metal of the pan. I add just enough wax to cover the felt so it looks just saturated..
Step 3: Printing With Wooden Blocks and Metal 'Tjaps'
Wooden blocks can sometimes be found for sale in craft shops, this one has lovely tree patterns that I thought would be good with the Xmas theme.
The metal 'tjaps' are from Indonesia. I can get multiply prints from one dip in the wax as the metal retains the heat for much longer.
Try your first prints on a bit of spare paper to check the quality of the print.
Step 4: Painting the Waxed Papers
I wanted to keep a simple Xmas colour theme and chose a red dye which I mixed up from a powder with water and applied with a brush/Sponge.
This dye is called Procion dye which I also use for dyeing cotton fabric, but you could experiment with watered down acrylic paints or inks.
This type of dye is available from textile suppliers like Dharma Trading in the USA or George Weil and Sons in the UK or from most good craft suppliers.
Procion dyes do tend to penetrate right through the paper, which gives a good finish back and front.
Step 5: Ironing the Waxed Papers
Once the dye is dry it's time to iron the wax off, which I like to do outside in the garden, due to the wax fumes.
Use an OLD IRON to gently melt the wax and spread it through the paper. I use old newspaper underneath,but iron directly on top of the printed papers. The ironing pushes the wax across the paper, leaving a smooth waxed finish and a thicker, parchment like feel.
(A good use of the old waxy newspaper created at this stage is to keep it and use to light your fires with!)
My best papers were the ones where the wax printing was denser, allowing the wax to be spread throughout the whole sheet when ironed and not leave a waxy halo effect between prints, which I noticed in the more spaced out prints.
Step 6: Ready to Wrap!
It didn't take too long to produce several rolls of my own Xmas paper, which I'm looking forward to using shortly....... just the small matter of finding those presents !!
I'm pleased with the traditional red and white look and there's something nice about the feel of the wax paper that reminds me of those waxy wrappers my bread used to come with, back in my youth! Ah....
I hope this may inspire you to create your own handmade gift wrap this Xmas Season.