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It’s been a long time since I’ve bought wrapping paper… and I find it almost impossible to throw away bags and boxes that I ‘just might’ find a use for. So in the interest of decluttering let me guide you through the creation of these truly unique gift bags and boxes.

Firstly, you’ll need some bags and boxes to upcycle. I LOVE Apple packaging, and it’s best to paint over all the imagery on them so you don’t get your recipient’s hopes up (unless you truly are giving them and iPad of course!). I’ve also used a couple of simple bags and a post box with some interesting Ukrainian leaf stamps (thank you Etsy!).

If there are stamps or interesting things or images on your bags and boxes, make sure they’re stuck on well. I’ve used some Golden Gel Medium to adhere the stamps well, but PVA or a glue stick would also do the job for this project. (The leaves on these stamps inspired the pattern I ended up painting onto this box.)

Choose your colours and paint over the text and logos – I’ve used Teal + White, Hansa Yellow + White and Magenta + White. By adding the white to each colour I’ve made the paint more opaque/less transparent, and more likely to do a good job of covering the bits I want to disguise.

Then using a paint pen or brush, start adding some patterned detail. You can also use stencils, more collage, pencils or sharpie markers. Be inspired by the patterns around you – fabrics, cushions, even all those new colouring in books that seem to be everywhere at the moment, can all be sources of pattern inspiration.

Here I googled ‘woodblock’ images and started with this paisley pattern inspiration.

For this bag I used acrylics to sketch on a loose wreath especially for Christmas.

Now, whether they go under a tree or in the mail, know that your packaging is as much a gift as what’s inside. Do a few at a time so you’ve always got a bag or box handy.

Fun, huh? I’d love to see what you make! Share with me on instagram or facebook – #shinyhappyart