Wrapping it up

By Claire Smail


Claire Smail shows us how gift wrapping can be fun and environmentally friendly!

Every year in our house by the end of Christmas day there is always a big bag of used wrapping paper bagged up and ready to be collected.  But last month I was surprised to see a post highlighting the fact that wrapping paper is not necessarily recyclable.  According to recyclenow.com it depends on different local authorities as to whether they will accept wrapping paper as it is often dyed, laminated, glittery, and very thin so it contains few quality fibres or has sticky tape on it.  This means it is likely to just end up in landfill.

With this in mind I have been inspired to only use recyclable papers, tissue paper or keep and then reuse, old wrapping paper.  For this Christmas I bought  several rolls of brown paper that can go into the paper recycling as well as natural fibre string which will biodegrade.

During my Christmas shopping I saw the Lino Wave women’s  and Sealight men’s T-shirts from Saltrock and I was inspired by them to print my wrapping paper so my gifts will look unique and Christmasy.

To achieve a festive feel I designed and then cut out a snowflake using similar lines to the Sealight t-shirt and then made a neoprene block print with a wave from the Lino Wave t-shirt.

To make your own festive printed wrapping paper you will need…

  • Brown paper
  • Cotton string or twine
  • For lino printing…
  • Lino
  • V shapes lino cutting tool
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

For the block printing…

  • A piece of old neoprene
  • Pen
  • Small block of wood
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • PVA glue


For printing….

  • Block printing ink – I have used blue and white
  • A printing roller
  • Plate or sheet of acrylic plastic
  • Newspaper


How to make…

First I had to make my lino and block stamps.  I chose to do these two different types of printing as they both give very different effects.

To create the lino snowflake I drew out my design on the lino block using pencil.  Then I cut out the design using the lino V cutting tool (this tool is sharp so be careful and keep away from young children). Be aware that any line you cut out, will not get any ink in so will be the colour of what you are printing on. Once I had cut out my design, I then used very sharp scissors to cut around the lino to make it into a circular block.

To make the wave block print I found an old piece of neoprene that I had set aside for patching my suits with. After drawing my design on it I used really sharp material scissors to cut out the shape. I then PVA glued it onto a scrap block of wood I had found which was slightly larger than the wave shape. Remember when you stick down your neoprene that the shape will be reversed when you print it.

To print…

Lay out your length of brown paper and next to it place on a news papered area your blocks, roller, ink and plate/sheet of acrylic plastic.  Squeeze out a 20p size blob of ink and drip the roller into, then on the plastic/plate roll out the ink until it even coats the roller…you will know when it’s right as the ink will feel ‘sticky’ when rolled. At this stage roll over the lino or neoprene block and then place ink face down on your paper. Apply even, firm pressure to the block before lifting it off. I found I had to re-ink the lino block after each print if I wanted each print to look the same colour but could use the neoprene block several times before I had to re-ink it.

Once you have covered the paper with your chosen design of printing, leave it to dry before using it to wrap up all your presents. 

When I came to wrapping, I used cotton parcel string to tie up each presents as this helped eliminate none recyclable sticky tape.