Having recently graduated from college with a degree in Studio Art, I am constantly looking for new ways to translate the skills I learned into applicable daily practice. The recipe for my latest inspiration (i.e., citrus stamp gift wrap) consists of three ingredients only: an affinity for printmaking, a surplus of oranges, and a lack of store-bought wrapping paper.
This DIY project is the perfect way to add some zest to your holiday giftwrapping experience. It is quick and simple and, best of all, most of the materials you’ll need can be found right in your kitchen or pantry. The natural pinwheel shape of the citrus fruit leaves behind a beautiful organic imprint when dipped in paint and used as a stamp. The result is surprisingly elegant and appropriate for any occasion. It is also a nice way add a personal touch and homemade feel to any gift or gadget. Whatever the gift or whoever the recipient, this giftwrapping technique is sure to make an impression!
Step 1: What You'll Need:
• Brown butcher paper (You can also use paper grocery bags if desired)
• Newspaper lining
• Oranges, or any other citrus fruit*
• Kitchen knife
• Foam brush
• Acrylic or Tempera paint
• Paper towels
• Paper plates (These will be used as palettes for the paint; I would recommend using 1 plate palette per each color of paint used)
• Scotch tape
*Note: I used oranges simply because that is what I had on hand at the time, but any citrus fruit will do. For example, when all life gives you is lemons, try making lemon-stamped gift wrap!
Begin by slicing the fruit in half.* At this point, you will want to remove any seeds from the interior. You will also want to blot away any excess moisture with a paper towel to avoid thinning the paint.
*Note: This is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. However, the preparation of the fruit halves should either be done by an adult or with close adult supervision, as it requires the use of a sharp kitchen knife.
Next, squeeze a decent-sized dollop of paint onto your paper plate palette and dip the fruit stamp into the paint cut-side down. Once the paint has been applied, use the foam brush to spread it out and make sure all surfaces are covered evenly.
Once you've lined your work surface with newsprint and laid the butcher paper on top, you are ready to begin stamping. The most important thing to remember with this step is to have fun! At this point, you can experiment with applying different levels of pressure, creating different patterns, and altering the amount of paint you use.* Happy accidents sometimes make for the best discoveries!
*Note: You may want to consider starting with a piece of scrap paper to test different techniques and help determine the look you want to achieve. For example, too much paint will smudge and lack definition. Less paint will give you a more detailed print. Also keep in mind that you will have to reapply the paint rather often if you want to maintain a consistent look.
Step 5: Play Away!
After your prints have dried completely (acrylic paint generally dries in about 10-15 minutes), you are ready to begin wrapping. Wrap packages as you would with any standard store-bought paper, starting by centering the package in the middle of the paper and folding the paper up on either side. If you are lucky like I was, the pattern might just line up with one side overlapping the other. Use scotch tape to secure one side to the package itself and then again to secure the overlapping side overtop.
At either end of the package, create a crease on both sides of the excess paper, folding it into a near triangle. Next, put another crease near the bottom edge of the package and fold the paper triangle upward, securing it to top of the package with more scotch tape. Repeat these steps with the other side of the package.
To dress it up even further, add your own little embellishments like ribbons and bows. I chose a red satin ribbon to give my package a pretty, polished look.