Introduction: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

If you grew up with Postman Pat you'll know how mysterious and inviting a traditional brown package looks. Modern sorting machines have retired them to cartoons and songs from classic films, but who doesn't want to recieve a parcel like the ones Pat and Jess deliver? Nobody I know! Today you'll learn how to wrap a present in the traditional packaging style, using brown paper and string, and discover how to easily tie a knot that's secure, simple to open AND eye pleasing!

Step 1: Things You'll Need

  • Brown parcel paper
  • String or twine
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A gift (boxed or box shaped is best)

You can get all the materials you need from your local stationary shop or market but a large home goods store will likely have an all in one kit. Of course, you can always pop down to your local Post Office!

Step 2: Wrapping the Package

Before you start it's good practice to fold any cut edges as this adds to the allure of any present whilst helping to avoid paper cuts! Also be careful with any packages that have to be kept upright; ideally you'll want the seam to be on the bottom of the package, but the side will do in a pinch. You do get the bonus of adding a "this way up" sticker for an authentic and functional accessory. Wrap your package as you would any ordinary present but you'll need to keep in mind that your string will be replacing the tape you would normally use. Once you've wrapped your package it can be helpful to use some poor quality tape or a little blue tack to keep it all in place while you tie. Any tape will need to be poor quality so you can remove it later without damaging the paper.

Step 3: Measure Out Your String

The amount of string you'll need depends on the package. You can get the correct amount by holding one end close to the centre of the package and wrapping it round once. Loop the spool around the end and do the same for the other side. Take another 20-30cm (or 8" to 12") of string and you'll have just the right amount to tie your parcel, plus some wriggle room in case you have difficulties making the knot. For this instructable I went with 20cm, larger presents and thicker twine will benefit from larger bows.

Step 4: Adding the String

You'll want your string to lie flat across the centre and top of the package, or wherever your bow will be. Bring the pieces all the way to the bottom and then do a half twist so that they curve round one another and come off to the right. Where this occurs is where you'll be tying your bow on the top side, so bear this in mind! Your string will stay loose enough for fine tuning, but it's good practice to be mindful of where your knot will be.

Step 5: Fully Bound!

Once you've bought the two ends of the string back round, poke them both under the central string so that they both run parallel with a slight gap between them. Make one sting U-turn back over the central string then do the same with the other tail so that both bends lie above the opposite tail. Now you just need to pull the tails and your package will be nicely secure! If you added any blue tack or tape you should remove it now, tightening the string a little so your package doesn't come apart. Check the position of the semi knot on the reverse as well; if it's not properly aligned then maneuvere it in now else your package may end up with some post-knot slack. Keep in mind the contents of your parcel; if it's delicate you'll need the string a bit looser. A little slack is better than a squished cake!

Step 6: Final Bow

After making sure your string is nice and tight, use the tails to create a bow as you would with a shoelace. It can be pretty tricky if you're not used to doing it at this angle, but with this knot your tails should be in a familiar position. Make sure that your string doesn't go slack and you're set! You can affix a lable or create a tag, but beware of handing it to Postman Pat. These days post services aren't happy with strings as they can jam their sorting machines, so please double wrap if you do wish to mail it. Still, it's cheaper to deliver it yourself, plus you get to see the joy your present (and its' wrapping!) brings.