A Brief History of Gift Wrap (And How To DIY)

Wrapping paper is not cheap. It’s wasteful. But it’s pretty darn cool. There are ways that you can create beautiful wrap from recycled goods found around your home.

Where did this whole wrapping tradition come from anyway?

Decorating your gifts with cloth or paper has been a longstanding tradition beginning with eastern cultures as early as first century A.D.

In the west, using paper as a covering for gift items has been a well established luxury dating back to the Victorian era. Think ribbon and lace! The early 20th century brought on the new technology of tissue paper. This thin paper was introduced, and really took off, in retail locations to jazz up presents as well as a perk to purchasing retail items.

Starting in 1917, two brothers running a stationary shop in Kansas City, Missouri, invented gift wrap sheets. This was not planned, as they had run out of tissue paper and needed a quick replacement. The next year, the brothers began offering paper as gift wrap. Upon finding out that the sales trick wasn’t a complete fluke, they began producing decorated printed paper for resale. The brothers were Joyce and Rolling Hall. This was the beginning of Hallmark.

Sure you can pop into a Hallmark store still today to purchase rolls of beautifully designed printed paper. But why not create your own this year?

What you’ll need:

  • Brown crate paper in a roll or brown paper grocery bags
  • Colored paper (think construction paper)
  • Acrylic paint & brush
  • Markers to create your own designs
  • Old maps
  • Fabric (use whole or cut to make a bow)
  • Cooking twine
  • Stock paper or cardboard to create tags

If you’d really like to jazz up your gift…

  • Festive stamps (and ink pad)
  • Dried evergreen or flowers
  • Decorative paper to embellish
  • Glue gun for attaching paper shapes to twine

Join us for Gift Wrap Better Than Martha Stewart in Denver this Thursday (all materials included).

PicMonkey Collage (9)

Photo credit: elissa.park // embellishaccessoriesandgifts // wrapshopyyc // sipbitego // rendyordinarylife

Sources: Mental Floss & Wikipedia