Geeky Wrapping Paper DIY Tutorial
Today’s geek craft project will teach you how to make your own nerdy wrapping paper! What’s great about this project is that it’s easy, inexpensive, and quick (excluding paint drying time, it can be completed within 30-60 minutes). Sure the store carries lots of wrapping paper options for purchase, but sometimes you need a more personal touch, or you just can’t find the right print for that geek in your life.
- Craft foam
- Round, tube-shaped object (rolling pin, PVC pipe, poster storage tube, etc.)
- Adhesive (double-sided tape or glue)
- Roll of plain paper (these can be found at most craft and/or office stores)
- Cutting utensils (scissors and/or x-acto knife)
- Ball-point pen
- Paint (acrylic is what I used)
- Plastic wrap or tin foil (Optional- to protect your tube-shaped object if necessary)
1. Theme: Decide on a theme for your nerdy wrapping paper and pick images and symbol to make up your print pattern. Keep in mind that you’ll be cutting the images out, so don’t choose anything too intricate that you won’t want to cut out. You can have 1 or 2 symbols that repeat, or a handful of images that make up your pattern; remember, this is custom so it can be whatever you like! For my geek wrapping paper I decided to make a Doctor Who print as well as a Harry Potter pattern.
2. Pattern to Foam: Once you have your theme and symbols picked out, either draw them onto your craft foam or cut out a paper pattern and trace them onto your foam. Once transferred, cut your pieces out. I’d recommend using an X-acto knife to cut out interior areas for better precision. Remember that you may need to cut out multiples of the same image in order to fully cover the surface area of your tube-shaped object. Use a ball point pen to trace/indent any detail lines in your symbols.
3. Foam to Rolling Tube: Once you have all your pieces cut out, it’s time to form them into your wrapping paper pattern and adhere them to your tube. Since I didn’t want to wreck my poster storage tube with paint, I wrapped it in a protective layer of tin foil first. You can then glue or tape your pattern pieces right to the tube. If you’re a visual person, you can measure out a piece of paper that fits your tube so that you can plan out your pattern on a flat surface (if you create your pattern this way, remember that the bottom and tops of the paper will join side-by-side on the tube). The next step will be easier if you leave a small margin on both edges of your tube in which to place your hands when rolling the paint covered tube.
4. Paint: After your foam shapes have been adhered to your tube you’re ready to print your pattern. Lay out your sheet/roll of blank paper. You can individually apply paint color to each of your foam pieces, or pour out small “puddles” of paint to roll your tube through. You don’t want the paint to be too heavy or it’ll drip and fill all your cutout details, but you also don’t want it to be too thin or it’ll dry before you print it. Once you’ve applied paint, roll you tube across the blank paper in a steady motion using light pressure. Repeat as many times as necessary to fill your paper. Let dry.
Harry Potter print
Doctor Who TARDIS print
Things I Learned -Tips!
- Use new paper. I recycled packing paper I had received in packages. I believe I would have gotten a better print if my paper was less wrinkly and actually laid flat while painting.
- Use thicker foam. My foam was roughly 1-2 mm thick. I would have purchased thicker foam or doubled mine up to create symbols with greater depth. This would have made the painting step easier and would have led to cleaner printing.
- Paint directly on the foam. I found I had more control on the amount of paint applied to each of my foam pieces when I individually applied paint using my fingers (or a brush) rather than rolling my tube through a “puddle” of paint.
- It doesn’t have to be completely “perfect.” A few extra drops of paint or a symbol that may have a couple bare spots adds to the charm of the paper!