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!

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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

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

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!

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Haunted Spider made it!7 months ago

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.

Stryker7 months ago

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.

kouraf167 months ago

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.

Ymerej88 made it!7 months ago

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

Decoy Present.jpg
gogglecrab (author)  Ymerej887 months ago

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!

cdstudioNH made it!7 months ago

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".


FIELWM6I3PRQ2GX.jpegYankee Swap prank - So Bad!
gogglecrab (author)  cdstudioNH7 months ago

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!

jtmcdole7 months ago

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!

videogame577 months ago

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

gogglecrab (author)  videogame577 months ago

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 gogglecrab7 months ago


NickiC7 months ago


gogglecrab (author)  NickiC7 months ago

I see Haha, thanks for pointing that out!

cdstudioNH7 months ago

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

canida7 months ago

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)  canida7 months ago

I never would have thought of that, great idea!

ysabet7 months ago

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.

aethersquall7 months ago

This. Is. Hilarious.

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

gogglecrab (author)  aethersquall7 months ago

Thanks and no problem, glad I could inspire!

FunkyNutbar7 months ago

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)  FunkyNutbar7 months ago

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*

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.

Great idea! I love it. Thanks

djyorkie2 years ago
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.

great decoy object :)

kewpiedoll997 months ago

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 :)

gammerguy7 months ago

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

Joint compound would work great for the extra weight. Just mix it up and glop it into one or both halves of the object mold until it weighs about the same as the original. FUN!

gkearney1 year ago

I did this for my wife phone this Christmas :)
gogglecrab (author)  gkearney1 year ago
Nicely done, be sure to let me know how it goes! ;)
waggy1011 year ago
Cool i like to do things like that. One year my cousin wanted to try coconut so i got her one and put it in a dishwasher box with a ton of rocks.
This is an amazing idea, and very well executed. Bravo
poofrabbit2 years ago
HA!! I love this I now must start making decoy boxes for this year thanks for the great idea!
gogglecrab (author)  poofrabbit2 years ago
No problem, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
DrJase2 years ago
Brilliant ible!

I once gave my brother-in-law a DVD where I'd replaced the inlay card with one I created in Photoshop so I looked like a porn film! His face was a picture as he tried to hide it from my sister!!!
Frederbee3 years ago
I like to put a (well-sealed) box of broken glass inside these- they shake it and I say, "Uh-oh..." Best reactions ever
pie popper3 years ago
haha, I love doing this! I had gotten my brother MW3 for Christmas, and I knew as soon as he felt it through the paper he would know what it was, so I stripped an old book of its cover, taped the case inside and wrapped it up. Because the book cover was a bit bigger then the case, it felt just like a book. It was priceless.
e-spiv3 years ago
Excellent instructable, it inspired me to think creatively about my friend's birthday party. A little cardboard and wok becomes turtle!
gogglecrab (author)  e-spiv3 years ago
I'm glad you enjoyed it! It look's awesome, great job!
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