Why I Like to Wrap Gifts with Boring Kraft Paper

Though it may not be obvious, this article is really about how I build my furniture.  I want it to be practical.  I also want my work to be aesthetically pleasing and intriguing, or sometimes provoking.

Nearly every boxed gift I’ve received came wrapped in colourful, glossy paper.  You know what I’m talking about.

I prefer to use kraft paper.  Drab, brown, matte kraft paper.  The kind with no excitement, no particular appeal, and no focal point.

This is practical – it conceals the contents

Why?  I see it as a blank canvas.  It offers infinite possibilities and absolute freedom.

I love a blank piece of paper because it inspires me to create without influencing what I create.

On the kraft paper, I can write a personal message or draw something as boldly or subtly as I wish.  I can use paint, pencils, markers or glued-on found items.  I can do anything.  (Or I can do nothing.)

On this particular wrapping, I decided to draw puzzle pieces.  I experimented with pencils, pens and markers before deciding that a rollerball pen was the right tool for the job – it provided a fine, even, bold line.

As the line drawing developed, they seemed to want to move in an arc.  I allowed the puzzle to follow this course and continue off the edge where it then wrapped around to the side of the package.

This is practical and interesting – it conceals the contents and provides some visual interest

Suddenly, my unpretentious wrapping paper became an original, hand-made covering.  Clearly some time and effort went into this wrapping job.  To realize this drawing, patience, focus, a steady hand, the right tool, and above all, the idea was required.

But I wasn’t done.  By simply adding a few letters, I added another level, another dimension.

This is practical, attractive, and provoking – it conceals the contents, provides some visual interest and conveys a message

I chose to place the letters in the middle of puzzle pieces.  I also chose to make the message a little difficult to read (it says, “there are no limits”).  I wanted to invite the viewer to pause and examine it more closely.  I think that it is these little details (and in this case, the challenge to figure out the message) that draw the viewer into the piece, where he/she can then begin to fully appreciate what they are experiencing.

While writing this post, I was reminded of this saying:

A person that works with his hands is a laborer.
A person that works with his hands and his head is a tradesman.
A person that works with his hands, his head, and his heart is a craftsman.

7 thoughts on “Why I Like to Wrap Gifts with Boring Kraft Paper

  1. Interesting , just last night on NPR (I think the Marketplace show) they had a piece talking about gifts that are unwrapped or wrapped in simple brown paper are more appreciated than gift wrap. Had to do something with simplicity and not oversahadowing the actual gift.

  2. I like using similar paper to wrap gifts too. But what you did there, was truly creative. You really let your creativity speak … And on something as basic as the wrapping!

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