Introduction: Decoy Gift Wrapping

Picture of Decoy Gift Wrapping

The western world's Winter chill is just beginning to strengthen its clutches throughtout, and with the holiday season just around the corner, as is the secret sinister sweater's league, gift giving from all around is about to sky rocket into overdrive.

You know the drill, Wrap, rip, repeat. With the occasional ear shattering, molar cracking scream evey now and again... But whomever would think to give no more than a second thought to that massive ball of colorful paper, shiny bows and adheasive tape left occupying half the room by mornings end? After all, a present's wrapping is but a flame beneath it's pyre, right? Wrong.

Enter, decoy wrapping. Poised to look the part of an innocently wrapped, absolutely and tremendously terrible gift, all while it's diabolical interior, is anything but!

Likewise, the technique used was perfect for, yet not limited to a power drill. Experiment with it yourself; find the most perfectly imperfect and terribly tremendous decoy that is sure to make that special someone squeal!

Step 1: Materials & Supplies

Picture of Materials & Supplies

Besides the actual gift itself, All the materials used in the project will most likely be found already lying around your house. As far as the fake present, I personally decided on a power drill, not only did it work well with the shape of the iPod case, I also found it's form quite recognizable; and, unless you're the crafty type person like me, I'd find it to be rather unusual. (Then again, this is instructables.... Dammit!)

List of supplies:

  • A fake gift (for molding the decoy)
  • The real gift
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper (ordinary computer paper should suffice as well)
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Duct tape/Scotch tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Utility knife
  • Wrapping paper
  • A bow (optional)

Step 2: Prep Work

Picture of Prep Work

Since a major amount of the work here involved paper mache, and in having past experience with it before, I knew this was going to get messy. I needed a way to prevent the drill and it's components from becoming a big goopy mess.

The solution? Simple. One or two layers of ordinary plastic wrap did the trick! After your object has been fully wrapped and sealed, it's time for the next step, prepping the pulp!

Step 3: The Pulp!

Picture of The Pulp!

Just remember there is no exact recipe when making paper mache pulp, It's really all up to the maker, some people prefer having a thinner pulp and vise versa. Just start with about a cup of flour and slowly add warm water while stirring until it reaches desired consistency, I used a cup of flour to about 2 cups of warm water. Once the pulp is made you'll need to make the strips, I began by laying a sheet of the newspaper flat on the table, I then tore the newspaper into 1 inch wide strips Ripping long ways. You may also cut them using scissors, but I have hear that tearing them makes a stronger bond in the end. Once all this is prepared it's time to start layering!

Step 4: Paper Mache Layering

Picture of Paper Mache Layering
Paper mache is messy to work with so It's good to have a covered surface Which makes for an easier clean up! To start take a strip of the newspaper, dip it in the pulp and ring off any excess using you're first two fingers, Then start wrapping the Decoy object in all different directions (Random placement makes the strongest bond) once you have the layer complete, repeat the process again to create a second layer. It will take a full 24 hours for the paper mache completely dry.

Here's a time lapse of the coating process:

The whole process took about 20 minutes to complete.

Step 5: Releasing the Mold

Picture of Releasing the Mold

When the mold was completely dried I took a utility knife and cut a seem along the middle of it and all around it. then I slowly peeled the mold out from the drill. I was very surprised on how well it turned out! The drill was a little dirty in some area's but was unharmed overall and still worked great!

Step 6: Reinforcements

Picture of Reinforcements

The two halves were too fragile to just glue back together so I decided to make some reinforcements. To start I took a few pieces of cardboard and cut them to the same shape as the handles, I secured them in place with some hot glue. I then took two smaller pieces and glued them to the handle supports and the section where the handle and the head connect. Next I cut a long piece of cardboard to the width of the head and glued it on the inside. I then did the same thing but at the bottom battery pack section, These will serve as inner supports when the two pieces are sealed together.

Step 7: Back Together Again

Picture of Back Together Again

After putting strips of glue along the inner supports I put a glob of glue on the seem and spread it along it using a scrap piece of cardboard, You don't have to do this along the whole seem just on the area's like the top and bottom sides, I sealed up All the other area's with strips of duct tape. Afterwards I realized the bottom wasn't totally even so I trimmed it up a bit with some scissors, The iPod fit in perfectly I just used a few dabs of hot glue to keep it from falling. The project it almost complete and there's only one thing  left to do...... Wrapping it up!

Step 8: Wrapping

Picture of Wrapping

To get the best "Obvious" look I ended up wrapped the whole present in three sections The base, the handle and the head, depending on what your decoy is, the wrapping process will always vary; So just try to get it nicely fitted and make sure none of the paper mache is being exposed.

Step 9: Weight

Due to restricted time I wasn't able to experiment with adding weight to it, but it definitely was something I thought about. Various objects have various sizes and weights, so depending on the object the remaining space could be filled with something lighter, like a joint compound or possibly a denser substance such as concrete. Again, these are just idea's as I wasn't able to test them, so feel free to try your own idea's and see what works best for you!

Step 10: Complete!

Picture of Complete!

Top the whole thing off with a bow and voila, the perfect gifting gag! I'd absolutely like to add weight to it the next time I attempt this, but overall the project was relatively easy to make and very satisfying to see the finished product!

I wish you the best of luck with you decoy and until next time, happy holidays!


topkat29 (author)2015-12-24

I would do this but I would put a real gift, a decoy gift, or a favorite candy, maybe tickets to some event. I would not take that much time just to give an empty container.

Team Dogoman RC (author)topkat292015-12-24

Did you not see the first few pictures? He put an ipod in the bottom.

topkat29 (author)Team Dogoman RC2015-12-24

I did see them but did not notice the iPod-silly me. Thanks. Happy Holidays.

Team Dogoman RC (author)topkat292015-12-25

Haha :) You too

Pustolov made it! (author)2015-12-25

This is my gift to a friend... who was not sure what to do with it, to open it or to run away.

Great 'ible!

Tones Shed (author)2015-12-24

awsome, the recipient must have been underwhelmed

Ymerej88 made it! (author)2014-12-15

Awesomeful idea!!

I decided to skip the paper mache and just put the present inside my drill's battery instead. The case holds together just fine without its screws in. I put part of a cardboard tube around the front end and the handle to make it easier to wrap.

My sister will be so excited! I think she saw me looking at this Instructable, so she totally won't be expecting it to be an actual drill :D

Team Dogoman RC (author)Ymerej882015-12-24

LOl man! ;) I have to try this next year !

gogglecrab (author)Ymerej882014-12-16

Thanks! Great idea too, it's one thing to be surprised by a seemingly
obvious gift, but it's a whole other to be expecting the
unexpected and in turn, receive the expected, which in fact in itself,
is something unexpected!

It's like some evil crisscross double flop
diabolical mind game! Nice work!

RobertL40 made it! (author)2015-12-24

Been doing this with my brother for a long time. This one is from christmas of 2011. His were quite interesting as well. Once he made an airplane with the present in the center. This one is the christmasBot. Not made from a real robot. We use cardboard and scraps to make the case not actual items..

king_grimloc (author)2015-12-24

Candy would work as weight instead of concrete, and it would be an addition to the gift.

gogglecrab (author)king_grimloc2015-12-24

Brilliant idea! Can't believe I didn't think of that.

Edwardo Leon made it! (author)2015-12-24

reinforcement required to hold the weight. fun to make.

gogglecrab (author)Edwardo Leon2015-12-24

Nicely done, glad you had fun with it!

nealbirch (author)2015-12-24

Hershey Kisses are nice and heavy.

rayleb (author)2015-12-24

Very cool, haven't done pranks lately because I ran out of ideas, tadaa, new ideas abound

maxhirez (author)2015-12-24

I would love to get a hard-back copy of "War and Peace" into what looks like a Scotch whiskey bottle. Nice work!

Edwardo Leon made it! (author)2015-12-24

Impregnated with ALDI coffee pods afterwards. Fitted in perfectly.

kevincarruthers (author)2015-12-24

I think this is great. My son is a hunter so I think I'm going to wrap a "shot gun" up for him

vatech90 (author)2015-12-24

Great idea! I'm always trying to find ways to disguise gifts for my kids.

gregdavid (author)2015-12-24

I would not want to end up with knife marks on my drill when I cut the mold free. If I were to do this, I would use something a bit thicker & more protective than just the two layers of plastic wrap. Perhaps a couple old socks or nylons or some sort of cloth ribbon wrapped all around first, not unlike is done for a human cast to help protect the skin esp when the cast is removed. Then the plastic wrap in between for release, so the cloth does not become part of the cast.

gregdavid (author)gregdavid2015-12-24

Still very cool idea. Gonna have to try it someday. Make a big one that looks like a vacuum cleaner, blender or mop (etc.) for one's wife or loved one with some very fabulous jewelry or lingere inside!

SwiperF (author)2015-12-10

On Step #5: Releasing the Mold.

You don't need to cut the mold all the way just to get the object out.

You can cut partially then pull out the object, put reinforcements, insert the gift, close the mold, put more paper mache layers, then wrap the gift,

Terranan (author)2015-08-23

This is jus beautiful... Though, being instructables, I think a lot of us would be disappointed that it wasn't a drill. ;p

Haunted Spider made it! (author)2014-12-22

I made this for my father this year. He always guesses his gifts. I am hoping this one gets him. I used aluminum foil around the drill and coated it with clear packaging tape(the heavy duty stuff). It takes about 6 layers to make a form that stays, without the mache mess. I filled it with dried pinto beans for weight. It isn't quite heavy enough but it will work. The Bass Pro gift card is taped to the base. I swear it was more difficult to wrap the darn thing than to coat it in tape and cut it out, fill it with beans and tape back together.

Stryker (author)2014-12-19

Thanks for posting. I made mine out of insulation board and hollowed out the "battery" area to put the gift. It's the same thickness as the drill but less work. Also cut out a wood saw shape from coroboard.

kouraf16 (author)2014-12-18

When I was in the university, in a class we had to wrap plushies in plastic wrap, then with simple transparent tape. The resulting "cocoon" was surprisingly durable and it was much easier to make than papier-mache. You should try that as well. Also you shouldn't ask why I was making plushie cocoons in university. To this day, I wonder myself.

cdstudioNH made it! (author)2014-12-15

I was so inspired by your awesome idea. My twist on it got a LOT of laughs!

Here is the instructables, which also includes a movie of the guy unwrapping the "gift".

gogglecrab (author)cdstudioNH2014-12-16

Love the idea of the contrast in presents! And besides the misconstrued drug bust, it looks like it all went over pretty well. ;) Excellent work, glad I could inspire!

Haha, this is such a funny idea!

jtmcdole (author)2014-12-13

This is genius. I usually hide gifts inside of other gifts, al'la russian nesting dolls, but this is just fun 'evil' that I will employ in future gifting. Thanks!

videogame57 (author)2014-12-11

I can't help but ask, why are you giving someone an iPod touch 2G with no touch panel/glass?

gogglecrab (author)videogame572014-12-12

Psst. Just between you, me and the entire internet... It actually wasn't a real gift, I just used an old broken one I found buried in a drawer as stand in to demonstrate the process; I don't think I could actually be that evilto someone!

bremus (author)gogglecrab2014-12-13


NickiC (author)2014-12-12


gogglecrab (author)NickiC2014-12-12

I see Haha, thanks for pointing that out!

cdstudioNH (author)2014-12-11

This is so cool! I'm going to use this as inspiration for a Yankee Swap that I am going to this weekend!

canida (author)2014-12-11

You can also sub duct tape for the paper mache. It's a lot faster and less messy, but requires stuffing to keep its shape.

Great idea!

gogglecrab (author)canida2014-12-11

I never would have thought of that, great idea!

ysabet (author)2014-12-11

I've done things like this! It's a blast, and this is one fine instructable. One of my absolute favorite things to do for small gifts is to find odd containers at thrift shops, cut a hatch in them, stuff the gift inside and wrap the whole thing. I once gave a silk scarf stuffed inside a plastic banana.

aethersquall (author)2014-12-11

This. Is. Hilarious.

I simply cannot *wait* to try this out! A simple concept, great result! Thanks for the idea!

gogglecrab (author)aethersquall2014-12-11

Thanks and no problem, glad I could inspire!

FunkyNutbar (author)2014-12-11

What a simple and evil idea! Well executed, I'd love some suggestions for other good decoy items too. Bottles of wine are a very easily recognisable shape, that could be good for stashing smaller gifts in.

gogglecrab (author)FunkyNutbar2014-12-11

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And yes, a wine bottle would make
make a great decoy! As far as some others, let's see, just off the top
of my head,

High heels

An iron

A guitar (Although I'm not quite sure of anyone who'd be particularly disappointed by this.)

A variety of tools have distinct shapes, e.g., hammer, wrench, screwdriver, a power drill... (Cross promo!), hand saw, etc.

Cleaning supplies, e.g., a vacuum (Big reveal!), spray bottle, broom, etc.

Pots, pans and kitchen equipment

Fitness equipment, e.g., weights, medicine ball, resistance bands, etc.

Garden supplies, e.g., watering can, shovel, rake, etc.

a lot of things to decoy really! Maybe try taking a look around the
house as well. Just be sure to make it something they hate! *cue sinister laugh & diabolical thunder*

janine.rinker.3 (author)2014-12-11

Some people use a glue and water solution for paper mache... I think it just dries up instead of spoiling, which the flour kind can if you leave it out too long.

declanshanaghy (author)2014-12-11

Great idea! I love it. Thanks

djyorkie (author)2012-10-13

before seeing this, i had actually planned on taping my wifes best small presents to an ironing board, and then wrapping that up for under the tree... i can imagine her face on seeing it. come on... who gives their mrs an ironing board for christmas. i may even use this technique to make a "wrapped iron" for her too lmao.

kewpiedoll99 (author)djyorkie2014-12-11

great decoy object :)

kewpiedoll99 (author)2014-12-11

i'm a long time fan of decoy gift wrapping. this is a great choice for decoy object. p.s. love the squash in the background of the pictures :)

Rhetorical_Save (author)2014-12-11

Wow that's amazing thx for the idea I have to go to THREE White Elephants. Talk about a lot of gifts.

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Bio: Concocted Creations From The Mind Of A Maker.
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