The Gifted Blog

October 7, 2009

Tutorial Tryout: Band Practice

Tutorial Tryouts are my reviews of DIY gift wrapping ideas from the internet and other sources. Click here for the whole series!

Today's Tutorial Tryout tests a gift wrapping idea from artist John Boak's Wrap Art site. His website is fun. It looks so professional that I was confused at first - is someone trying to sell me something? No, it's just a man who loves to wrap gifts.

After poking around the Wrap Art site for a while, I got the feeling it was done by an artist. For one, each creative gift wrapping image is given a title (Ribbon Style, Angled on Tissue, Tricolor Marker Pattern, etc). And two, he makes notes for each project that have this visual analysis feel.
The folding creates a finished look, with a slight pillowing effect which gives a rich dimensionality to the bands. The paper for the bands comes from catalogs and marketing flyers. They have beautiful textures. The paper just arrives at one's house unbidden; it is satisfying to have a use for it.
I love it.

I like a lot of his ideas for gift wrap, but this "Band Collage" really caught my attention.

Since I didn't have an actual gift to wrap, I wrapped a business-sized envelope in pink tissue paper. Sometimes you give a gift certificate and want it to look nice.

I had some magazine pages saved that were perfect for this. (Yes, that is a hot pink print of a human brain. Thank you, Wired.)

I followed the user-friendly instructions and was satisfied with the process and result. I really think anyone could do this.

Here is the back of the envelope. Boak writes, "Take it easy. Focus on the front of the package. The back of the package is backstage; it's ok to let it be messy."

What do you think? I like that this gift wrapping idea could be easily customized for the gift recipient's tastes and interests. Take a picture for me if you try it!


  1. it reminds me of all the collage letter writing and envelope decorating i used to do. one time, i was at the Tate Modern in Britain and they had a showcase of Mail Art--it was sooo cool.

  2. oh and i have to disagree with john. i think creating a cover or way for the bands to intersect in the back would make it a lot more cleaner and interesting. it may be backstage but it's a completely exposed backstage that a recipient may see first.

  3. I agree with Hanna.. I have an issue with the back being a bit messy. After all that work you don't want the back to ruin the final impression. Even just attaching the envelope to a larger gift and thus hidding the back would work.

  4. Ladies, I love the feedback.

    As a perfectionist, I appreciated the author's instruction to "take it easy" with the gift wrapping tutorial, but I see your points. It wouldn't take too much work to clean up the back.

  5. I just found out that the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena is doing a mail art show this summer! I had never heard of something like it, and now two mentions in one week...

  6. Oh, it's beautiful...I didn't notice that you used even photoes of brain! (Although I had experience that I made brain sample like these photoes..) John's masterpieces are also cool, aren't they? But now I can't stop thinking about his "backstage"...Somehow they look cool:)

  7. Now I want to know about your brain-printing experience!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out my brown paper bag wrap!

    I love this post -- such great ideas. Your blog looks great!

  9. Wow, these are great! I agree with the others, though, about the back of the present looking a bit messy. Even though it's 'backstage', it shouldn't be too hard to create a panel of paper to cover the ends of the bands. Otherwise, I can just see the gift recipient exclaiming with delight at the beautiful creative present, turning it over, and their they realise that only the front looks good. Fabulous, creative approach - I'm definitely going to try this myself, too!

  10. It is a pleasure to see all your comments.

    To those of you who want to make the backside as neat as the front, I say: "wonderful, excellent; why not!" Crafting can reach greater heights when you are willing to keep on going. Your thorough wrap designs will be both delightful and honorable.

    I continue to advance my permissive concept of the messy backstage to help other people to embrace and enjoy wrapping as an easy craft. Many have turned away from wrapping because of a perception that they are not neat enough with their folding or taping to be considered good wrappers. The messy backstage is a clear statement that self-expression and playfuness trump other concerns. Most giftwraps have a bottom; the recipient usually receives the top-side impression first. By the time they see the backstage the show has been performed.

    Thanks for your praise and interest. My emphasis on easier wraps has caused me to start a wrap-art blog which shows some of my more labor-intensive efforts: It is a wordpress blog, so you can leave comments there. Thanks!


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