THIS YEAR’S CHRISTMAS WRAPPING.

presents-around-tree

 

I’m going to walk you through the evolution of a creative idea today.

Normally when I get an idea to do something the whole thing just pops into my head.  Then, I fiddle with it, work it out, plan it, change it and finally execute it.  Sometimes it all goes exactly as planned from the get go with no changes at all, but a lot of times it’s an evolution of the first thought that popped into my head.

Let me give you this as an example.  Last night a thought popped into my head.  It was “I’M GOING TO HAVE FRENCH FRIES FOR DINNER!!!”  That idea obviously didn’t need any changing at all.  I had french fries for dinner.

Earlier in the day I had a different thought.   “I should really start to organize my tax receipts“.  Well,  that idea evolved into “I don’t need to organize my receipts immediately.  I mean, not this minute, but later tonight as I sit on the couch and eat french fries maybe“. Which then evolved into “My Christmas break will be a great opportunity to get caught up on all these things like tax receipts without having to worry about working as well.”  Which then evolved into “I’M HAVING FRENCH FRIES FOR DINNER!!!”

See?  One idea worked out right from the get go, the other one got to the exact same place, it just took a bit longer to get there.

I had a really hard time coming up with an idea for my wrapping this year what with being so busy thinking about the delights of salty, crispy, deep fried chips I suppose.  (Guaranteed one of you will be eating french fries for dinner tonight by the way.)

I had almost given up and resorted to wrapping my Christmas presents in my tax receipts this year when  all hell broke loose on another craft. And just like that, I had my Christmas Wrapping idea thought.

I had some trouble getting what I felt was the right glitter for my Snow Globes.  The stuff I originally had in my house was too thick so I bought more glitter that I thought was finer, but it only looked finer in the bottle for some reason and was actually exactly the same as my original glitter. So I went back to the dollar store and bought two more containers of gold glitter.  So now I had 4 bottles of glitter, plus, surprise, I found another one in the cupboard.  Of these 5 bottles of glitter I used approximately 1 teaspoon for my snow globes.

Nothing makes me more angry than having too much glitter on hand. Seriously. It spoils my mood.  Just look.

karen-bertelsen-2

 

I’m a f*ckin’ angry mess, I am.

So I decided it would make sense to use up some of that anger inducing glitter in my Christmas wrapping.  The seed of the idea was that I knew I was going to add glitter to plain white paper.  I just wasn’t sure how.  Designs?  Words?  Outlines?

SILHOUTTES! I was going to make silhouettes on my wrapping paper from gold glitter. I’d get rid of my glitter and have fun Christmas wrapping. I’d be my usual cheery self in no time.

I considered doing reindeer and Christmas tree silhouettes, but it wasn’t quite right. It didn’t feel me.

That’s when I had my Glitter epiphany.  If you’ve never had one, it’s similar to a migraine aura only you also hear music.  Mariah Carey specifically.

trace

 

As a proud Canadian, I was going to do Group of Seven tree silhouettes.  If you don’t know the Group of Seven I’ve linked to them. They were a group of Canadian landscape artists who had a very specific style.  They and their work is distinctly Canadian.

You can use this technique for any silhouettes you want.

Print off the silhouette you want on your wrapping paper.  I found a Group of Seven painting, then using Photoshop isolated a tree.  I converted it to black and just like that I had a silhouette.

Place the printed silhouette under plain white wrapping paper and trace it.  If you can’t see the silhouette well enough under the paper put it on something that’s glass and shine a light under it.  I use a roll of kids drawing paper which you can get way cheaper than wrapping paper at any craft store and sometimes Ikea.

tracing-with-glue

Once you’ve traced the outline of your silhouette with a pencil paint regular white glue onto it. The glue goes anywhere you want the glitter to be.

sprinkling-sparkles

Then sprinkle your glitter.

I’m a grown up and I make my living by gluing glitter on things.  For real.  IT’S A DREAM COME TRUE. I always wanted to be Mr. Dressup when I grew up.  Canadians will understand that reference.

 

glitter

Don’t worry about being stingy.  Only a tiny amount of glitter will stick to the paper.  The rest you can pour back into your cup and reuse over and over again.

 

 

glitter-outline

 

You can see the glitter completely covers up your pencil lines.

 

Group-of-seven-tree-wrapping-2

This is SO much fun to do and SO easy.  When it worked I was amazed at how great it looked.  In fact if you follow me on Instagram you SAW me getting ready to test this very craft a few weeks ago.

 

group-of-seven-tree-wrapping

wrapped-presents-4

I threw in a deer there so you could see what the technique looks like with something other than a Group of Seven inspired tree.

 

Tree-presents

 

QUICK TIPS FOR GLITTER GIFTS.

  • Keep your paintbrush dipped into your pot of  glue to stop it from drying out between using it.
  • Once you load on your glitter shake and shimmy the paper around so you get good coverage.
  • Pretend to wrap your present with the paper, then cut the amount you need and work with that.
  • Before marking your silhouette, put your present onto the paper and mark around the base of the present with a pencil.  This way you’ll know exactly where present will be in relation to all the wrapping paper.  It will make placing your silhouette in the right place foolproof.
  • DIY light table.  If you have a clear glass table, you’re set.  Just set a lamp underneath it.  Otherwise, support a glass shelf on kitchen mugs and put an LED flashlight underneath pointing upwards.

 

Group-of-Seven-presents

 

The countdown now begins.  There are only 10 more days until Christmas. Which means I have exactly 10 more days for “tag” inspiration to strike.

 

 

92 Comments

  1. Violet says:

    They look smashing! I really enjoy any Christmas ideas without the cliche. Good job.

  2. Paula says:

    Fabulous! They look gorgeous, it helps to have hardwood floors for cleanup on Christmas Day. I love your sweater, am I allowed to ask where you got it or is that too personal.

    Btw…is Cuddles your Finnegan?

    • Karen says:

      Too personal? For someone who explained in great detail how she got rid of a yeast infection with frozen yogourt tampons? Nope. Not too personal. I got it at Loblaws. Joe Fresh. They aren’t listed on the site anymore though so I expect they’re sold out. ~ karen!

      • Paula says:

        I buy Joe Fresh all of the time, that is likely because I can shop online and they deliver. That suits my semi recluse lifestyle to a ‘t’.

        By too personal, I was referring to the time when a reader asked you what you did on your weekends. You replied that you had to have some things to yourself, so I wasn’t sure if a sweater might be a buy that you would prefer for just, you. 🙂

        • Paula says:

          No reindeer, but I bought the green one because it looks so cozy.

          • Karen says:

            Another reader emailed me the moment this post came out with a picture of her in the reindeer sweater, lol. Her caption to the email was “Great rack”. Glad you got a sweater! ~ karen

  3. Edith says:

    Those are so pretty!

  4. MaryJo says:

    I LOVE anything that’s glittery and I have a ton of glitter sitting in a drawer just waiting for me to get inspired. And now, thanks to you, I can finally use it for something cool.

  5. Elaine says:

    That’s a really unique, clever and classy looking idea! So easy and yes, very Canadian! Love the deer too, Karen. Can’t wait for elegant gift tags now. See how you spoil us?? Merry Christmas!

  6. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Years ago when the kids were little, glitter glue was invented. I suggested to my artist mother in law that this could be a great present for the kids. Christmas morning they unwrapped six jars of glitter and bottles of glue, among other things and I became oh, so mad at the mil!!! What was she thinking???Omg, there will be glitter everywhere!!!
    Fast forward a few weeks and I discovered the dust bunnies were WAY more interesting when they picked up glitter. Now, I would be happy to use glitter as dusting powder!!!

  7. Ardith says:

    It is always illuminating to learn about someone’s creative process. In this case, it seems the french fries, perhaps more specifically the salt, facilitated the breakthrough. Sidebar question, so just how much glitter ended up in places far flung from the point of silhouette origin?

    • Karen says:

      Oh, a lot of it. A LOT of it. But just in the general vicinity really. Vacuumed up perfectly. The flour from making cookies is another story. ~ karen!

  8. Rachel says:

    Fab! Doing them today! Here’s to no more tedious-to-cut felt silhouettes that take forever to do. Glitter good, very good! Might do silver on black as well. You’re really helping me out this year Karen, thank you and thanks for all you’ve shared.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Those came out great! I opted to use twin instead of ribbon this year. It goes with the brown paper that looks like it was hand stamped. I thought they were super cute, until I spent an afternoon with a friend of mine that had to buy coordinating paper and bows to match her TREE! No kidding, she changes her tree EVERY year, and wraps the presents to match!

    Anyways, I was wondering where you got the skinny garland? All I can find is the fat stuff.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vanessa. I’ve collected my garland from a lot of different places over the years including on sale stuff from high end stores, the Dollar Store and Ikea. 🙂 ~ karen!

    • Kathleen says:

      *clears throat* I do exactly the same, Vanessa. I even change the cushion covers in the lounge and table overlays to match the colour of the tree decor… that way, everything matches! 🙂

  10. Liz Marley says:

    Hi Karen

    I have only recently discovered your site. I am really enjoying your sense of humour and style of writing – makes me laugh out loud from time to time. I have already wrapped quite a few presents in recycled white paper. Now I am thinking, if I use glitter to decorate them *after* wrapping, will it end in tears? And do I care if it does?!

    I sometimes do craft with our care farmers (young people with learning difficulties) on rainy afternoons when we cannot do gardening, and I have now bookmarked your page for do-able ideas! Thank you! Liz

  11. Courtney says:

    They’re so cute! I could use a reindeer outline for this. Thanks for sharing

  12. Karen Too says:

    Any idea who the elegant lady is in your very large painting? Intriguing!

    • Karen says:

      Yup. She’s Margaret from Argyllshire, Scotland. Her husband and husband’s family were in the military. Got her at an auction. ~ karen!

  13. Jenny W says:

    Mr. Dressup would be proud ! Casey and Finnigan, jealous as all get out, what with having no thumbs and all 🙂 You’re rocking the red, by the way!

  14. Cathy Reeves says:

    Do you print images on your home printer? Mine is limited to 8.5 X 11 so how do I/you handle larger pieces of paper?

    • Karen says:

      I just print the image onto a regular sheet of paper and then stick it under the white wrapping paper to trace. None of my finished sparkle images are bigger than about 6.5-7″ high. ~ karen!

  15. j says:

    Great idea Karen–this one idea could keep me busy for a year–thanks to your blog everyone thinks I’m the most creative person they know–should I tell them I pirate my ideas from you? [Nah!]–and if I decide I have to knit the raindeer sweater first, this could last the rest of my life–but what a challenge!! Do you think I’m too focused on becoming you? Maybe I should rethink all this after I get some sleep. Feeling kind of holiday burnt,,,,but also–I’m thinking about sending you an all inclusive thank you note for the eclectric and fabulous recipes you’ve shared this year – the garlic herb bread, the pasta sauce, the beet salad. ‘Glad to know you’ should cover it!,,,,[with a heavy dose of sparkles and strings of lights just about everywhere.] Have a great holiday, and smooch the furry and feathery kids extra from me!

  16. Maggie says:

    Brilliant! Thomson and Jackson are my favourites of “The Group”

  17. jainegayer says:

    You are a glitter genius AND I now want french fries with my coffee!

  18. Kim C says:

    Simply beautiful. I can’t stop staring at the 3rd to last photo. It invokes a sense of peace and tranquility. I think I now have a new respect for glitter!
    Merry Christmas.

  19. Tigersmom says:

    Stunning. This may be my favorite of all your giftwrap ideas and it’s far more festive than gifts wrapped in tax receipts. I do so love a blingy Christmas.

    I’ll have to remember it for next year though, as the only part of the Christmas challenge I have completed is gifts bought and wrapped. I have two trees (real) and both have the lights but only one is half decorated. : /

  20. Jody says:

    Brilliant. As in glitteringly brilliant. Where’s the dough whisk from? Lee Valley?

  21. Mary W says:

    Thanks for the tips at the end. I would eventually come up with those but AFTER glitter and wasted paper went everywhere. A mess is the mother of invention. Thanks Mom.

  22. Melissa Leach says:

    Now this glitter I can do…where do you come up with this stuff, Ms. Art of Doing Stuff ???

  23. Melissa Leach says:

    BTW, thanks for adding the red pins to each photo. You are a girl of your word. Love you!
    I pinned this one too.

  24. Karin in NC says:

    Brilliant! Mine are already all wrapped up but this is definitely great inspiration for next year’s gifts. Thanks! Can’t wait to see the tags…

  25. Teresa says:

    French fries for breakfast! Yes!

  26. Joslynne says:

    Wow! I loved the gingerbread desserts yesterday and you wowed me again with this decorating idea – wow!!!

    Have a great Christmas!!

  27. Su says:

    too bad I’m done wrapping…. very chi-chi!!

  28. mickey says:

    Awesome!!!!!

  29. Anj says:

    I LOVE these!!! Group of Seven in glitter! My favourite stylized tree too! You don’t have to give me a gift for Christmas just the wrapping paper with a glitter Tom Thomson. That could be my tree.
    Anj
    Oh and loved the description of a Glitter epiphany.

  30. Chris says:

    Ingenious and very beautiful. I wonder if you could skip the tracing step and just paint on the glue while the paper is on the light table. Thanks for including instructions on how to make a light table. Usually I tape my paper to a big window, but then I have to work on the vertical surface and only do tracing in the day time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris. I tried skipping the tracing method and going straight to the glue and it just doesn’t work as well. It seemed like it would be faster but it isn’t and it also isn’t as precise. ~ karen!

  31. Diana says:

    Fun Story: In our store we are selling glitterbottles. When I had to put the pricetags on them, one of them explodet. My hair, my eyelashes, my whole clothing, my shoes, my underwear… There was NO part of my Body without Glitter. I swear, even after 2 weeks I was able to fart clouds of glitter.
    So-really nice wrappingpaper but nope for me;o)

  32. Sorry, I can’t let this go. FROZEN yoghurt tampons? Wasn’t that cold???

  33. Julia (mumo3kids) says:

    What if…
    You cut a stencil out of acetate, then laid it over the ready wrapped parcel and then used a brush/sponge to apply the glue? The acetate is totally wipe-able and protects the surrounding wrapping paper (although a very intricate drawing would be a little tricky to cut…).
    Always for looking for mass production short cuts – hope I don’t sound too bossy (I am bossy, I just hope I don’t sound it)!
    Julia

    • Grammy says:

      Seems like your way would work (it also seems like more work to me, but what do I know?) But you would definitely lose the individual artsy look that Karen’s packages have. Depends on whether you want your glitter pictures to look hand-painted or production line.

      • Julia (mumo3kids) says:

        Ouch!
        I kinda thought that cutting a stencil outline once rather than redrawing it on every sheet may save a little time?!!
        Free-hand brush strokes within that shape could be just as lively as following a pencil line…
        ?✂️✨

        • Grammy says:

          Oh, my, Julia — didn’t mean to insult your idea. I only meant to point out that Karen’s technique produced a particular look that seemed different from one that would be derived from a stencil. I didn’t mean to imply the stencil look would be less attractive, just that it wouldn’t have produced the look that Karen was going for.

  34. Pat says:

    Lovely salute to our famous artists! And don’t you look so lovely!

  35. Deb says:

    Just found your website today and love the glitter packages. I adore the trees and deer. I have a sister who doesn’t wrap more than one gift in the same paper so I can’t imagine how many rolls of gift wrap she must have. Am going to share your glitter wrap photos with her, even she can do so many different ideas that no two will be the same. ( Go ahead and say it, I do all the time, she is weird!!!!) Anyways, thanks for the beautiful wrap and look forward to more to come….

  36. Ann Gray says:

    All I could think about was where did you get that fabulous sweater – I want one!

  37. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Let me be the first to say, “Nice rack!”

  38. Jossephine says:

    Love the glitter idea. Next year though I am ahead of the game on wrapping for the first time ever. When I saw the Dough Wisk in your picture I started to chuckle, I bought several of the 2 different sizes from Lee Valley and are giving them to my sister and daughter-in-law and of course one for my self.

  39. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Just an fyi for those of you lucky enough to live near an Ikea . . . the white paper (Mala) is 17 3/4″ by 98 freekin’ feet long for only $5.99! If you check their web-site, it’s possible to find out if your local store has any in stock without leaving the comfort of your own home. Avoiding their parking lot on a weekend before Christmas is the best advice I can give you . . . for the moment.

  40. Karol says:

    Oh, if only I had gifts to wrap. But alas, life has gotten in the way, and gift getting is low on my priority list this year.

  41. Andrea says:

    Very cool…i have brown craft paper as wrap so I am going to try this with white…or coffee grounds …might give it a very rustic look ! I loved Mr Dress Up…i had tickle trunk envy, we never had cool costumes like his in our storage box.

  42. Wendy says:

    So pretty.
    But doesn’t the glitter shed on your floor at some point, and get stuck in the floor boards forever? I’m an elementary teacher. I speak from experience.
    Wendy

  43. Mary says:

    Karen, I went right to the Joe Fresh website where I found and ordered your sweater in two sizes (not sure what fits me when something stretches as sweaters do). Price was $24.94 on sale and web site states that the item is available for shipment to the US only. Love your posts and wish they were daily as before but understand why they are not.

  44. Agnes says:

    A little off topic, but thought you might find this this glitter pill phenomenon good for a laugh… http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/glitter-pills-for-poop/

  45. Stefanie Barrett says:

    Is there a way to seal the glitter so that I don’t end up looking like an over the hill stripper for the next 3 months?

  46. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great as usual..well..I was a bit worried that you were going to decorate them with French fries at first..but you never disappoint with your Christmas wrap…I will look up the Group Of Seven..Love the sweater also and so did many others apparently as it is sold out…Oh well..Nice rack Karen…now I THINK I AM GOING TO HAVE FRENCH FRIES FOR DINNER!!!

  47. Gretchen Sexton says:

    And here I was thinking that you could not top your dioramas were the best ever…way to go!

  48. Patricia Reed-Pederson says:

    I love the tree. My husband would give me a hard time about the glitter, but would love the packages in the end. Your so full of inspiration! Thanks!

  49. Stephbo says:

    You do realize that glitter is the heroes of the craft world, right? And yet here you are, encouraging all of us to spread it around willy nilly.

  50. marilyn says:

    love it! we are in the middle of a kitchen reno tho so christmas has been relegated to a fake tree half covered in lights and a 12 “santa statue outside my door..poor!

  51. Heather (mtl) says:

    So cool and so fun! I’m a (rubber/acrylic) Stampaholic and have often used favourite stamps then the glue and glitter. I also tried heat embossing the images, just for a change. Makes for such an elegant and pretty presentation. Versafine Crimson Red ink is the perfect vintage red for Christmas.
    Mr. Dress Up would indeed be proud as would the Friendly Giant 🙂
    BTW, thanks for the kind words on the (minor) surgery. Darn thing was postponed at the last minute.

  52. CoCoDubai says:

    I can never decide which I love more – Karen’s posts or Karen’s readers’ comments. Life is good when I am reading The Art of Doing Stuff.

    • Karen says:

      Glad to hear it CoCo! Life is good when I’m writing the Art of Doing Stuff. And yes … I have the world’s best blog commenters. ~ karen!

  53. Dana says:

    I love it! And I’m planning on making mini gingerbread houses with my 3 kids this weekend. I also noticed the Danish whisk tied to someone’s gift under your tree–lucky them! For fun, I searched kitchen shops in Denmark this fall, and never saw a Danish whisk there.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well as the saying goes, maybe they just all them whisks. And maybe they’re so popular everyone is bequeathed one and no one ever has to buy it in a store. ~ karen!

  54. Maggie says:

    Thank you for introducing me to the Group of Seven….I grew up in Calif., didn’t know about them.
    What great paintings.

    • Lynn Johannson says:

      I grew up in Seattle and first ran into Emily Carr’s work on a trip to Victoria with my Girl Scout troop in the 70’s. Because of her work, I found the Group of Seven. They have influenced my own work more than any other style. Check out W. P. Weston (1879-1967). His major works were done in B.C. a decade or so after the Group of Seven but the same feelings and lines are there! Yum.

  55. I love glittery stuff! Too bad I’m done wrapping all the gifts. Lol.

  56. Laura Bee says:

    All this post needs is ….omg….my train of thought just went crashing ahead.
    hmmm, Canadian things…what could make it more Canadian? Beavers, no – maple syrup maybe. Maple syrup instead of glue…nah, too messy. Wait – they make edible glitter. Glitter pancake stencils!!!!!!
    Creative process in action. Ha!

  57. Mel says:

    I like you. You’re like Martha Stewart and Ellen all rolled into one glitter-bearing, deer-shirt-wearing, blogging do-it-yourselfer with talent. Thanks for the laughs, intstructions, and…hmmmm, I like to say things in groups of three. Hmmmm…Ideas! Yes, thanks for the great ideas! Even those that involve yogurt.

    • Karen says:

      That’s very astute of you Mel. I AM Martha Stewart and Ellen rolled into one. I say that with the confidence of someone who has both been in jail and had lesbian relationships. Actually no. I haven’t. But it makes me seem much more interesting to say I’ve done both of those things. ~ karen!

  58. Mel says:

    and thanks for the “instructions”, too. Intstructions often elad to misspelled words.

  59. Connie says:

    I confess, I didn’t read all of the comments but I wondered why you didn’t wrap the gifts first and then put the glue and glitter on the paper? Wouldn’t that be easier and not disturb the glitter afterwards? Just a thought. Lovely by the way. Just used my glitter excess in an empty glass ornament with a few drops of mop-and go, shake and it’s wonderful.

  60. Thera says:

    I finally got to coordinate my wrspping paper this year, I have plain brown, plain blue and blue w/silver snow flakes. For ribbon I have twine, thin blue yarn, blue ribbon, glod washi tape, gold sequined ribbon and a braided blue, silver, gold thin rope stuff.
    Love your wrapping, another thought might be to use cookie cutters to trace.

  61. Robin says:

    As pretty as glitter is, I use it very sparingly and very carefully in my house as I don’t want or need two cats who have the run of the place, running around spreading glitter everywhere with their furry tails and butts… or need them ingesting it!

  62. Sally says:

    Well I didn’t grow up in Canada but lived in Bellingham WA for many years so I’m familiar with the Group of Seven and Mr. Dressup. Thank you for reminding me of the Group of Seven I saw an exhibit in Vancouver BC it was fantastic.

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