making DIY gift wrap using kraft paper and gouache paint!

Another Christmas, another set of hand made DIY wrapping paper! Paint along with me or wrap your pressies while you watch me decorate my basic kraft paper with beautiful designs, using gouache paint.

You can also watch on and subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are subtitles available, and the transcript is below if you need to read as well as watch. I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a comment here or on youtube, or email me. Sign up to my email list as well for more at

I am not sponsored by any brands and nothing has been gifted by brands either (just some presents from friends and family).

Just ask any questions you might have in the comments! I’ll do my best to help you out.


Hi, I’m Arati. Welcome to another festive video. Today I’m going to get started on wrapping my Christmas gifts for my friends and family. Every year I make my own wrapping paper out of kraft paper and paint. This year I’m going to take you along for the ride and show you exactly how I do it. So let’s move over to my workspace and get started. 

You will need some paint – I’m using gouache paint here but you could use markers – and a roll of kraft paper. Before I begin, I always count out how many sheets I’m going to need. Then I lay out my kraft paper using sewing weights to hold it down, and cut out exactly the number of sheets that I’ll need, measuring out the gift sizes as well. 

And then it’s time for the fun part, painting. Now, I have a general idea in my head that I want to do Christmas-y patterns with maybe a little bit of like a snow feeling on them. So I started out with these brush stroke Christmas trees and then I decided to spatter some white paint over to simulate the kind of snowy effect and I did carry this over onto the rest of the designs as well. I didn’t really have an idea of the themes I was going to do, but the trees kind of led me on to snowmen and I did these fun little red scarves on their necks. It was kind of wavy and nice and it just created an overall pattern. I think this ended up being like one of my favourite patterns that I did this time. 

The red of the snowmen’s scarves inspired me to do some red Santa hats with some really fluffy white trim on them, and then I also added a white pompom which you’ll see later on. At this point I was pretty invested in the red and white theme that I have going and obviously I had to do some candy canes. You might notice that I’m being quite casual about applying the details because this is wrapping paper. It’s disposable. It’s only going to be seen for a few days under a tree and then it’s going to be ripped apart. So I’m making sure it looks really nice but I am not being very precious about it. As you can see from this loop-de-loop design, there are little bits that have gone wrong but this also was one of my favourites and I might actually turn it into wrapping paper – for real.

Here’s where I kind of ran out of red and white ideas for Christmas-y paper and I moved on to the blue and white which also really worked well. Then I added some different Christmas trees with a little bit more detail than the previous ones. And of course I had to do some fun baubles to wrap my niece’s presents in. By this time I had enough paper for all the presents I have to wrap but I decided to go ahead and make some extra paper because I have some birthdays coming up in end of December and January  as well, and I might as well get it all done in one go, right? I also use the same kraft paper gift wrap to wrap orders when gift wrap is requested. So it’ll always come in handy and never go to waste. I deviated from the Christmas patterns for this section of gift wrap because nobody really wants to receive Christmas gift wrap for birthdays, do they? Especially when it’s so close to it. So dashes and hearts it is. Don’t forget to clean up your workspace after you’re finished because the spattering does get quite messy. 

I let my paper dry overnight and then I rolled it just like regular gift wrapping paper and here are the finished designs. As you can see, I put some spatter over several of the designs so they kind of look very cohesive in not just colour but also in that kind of snowy effect that I wanted to go for. Here’s the bauble one that’s intended for my niece and here’s the one where I started to deviate from the pattern. This is, of course, the first one that I did – the brush stroke Christmas trees. Here are the other Christmas trees. Next year I feel like I might do a whole series of different styles of Christmas tree. Of course the candy canes and here starts kind of the red and white theme. This is my absolute favourite, the snowmen. It has so much movement in it and so do these Christmas Santa hats. I feel like they turned out really well. The lights of course could be used for any season if you change the colour. 

Now here are the extra papers that I did. The first two are kind of Christmas-y but I suppose they could be used at any other time of year as well. But these ones are pretty generic and I could use them for any time of year – gifts or orders. To finish wrapping my gifts. I have my wrapping paper and a few accessories. The main thing I want to use is this red ribbon and finish it off. But I also have some bias tape and a few other bits. So this is some really nice gold ribbon that I used in previous years and some black and silver ones too. This one would kind of really go well with the kraft, but in case I run out of red ribbon, I do have some jute twine in red and green that I can use. Now let’s get packing! Any breakable or awkwardly shaped large gifts I always put in boxes – not necessarily the box that it came in, but a box that fits it and maybe can fit some packing material inside it too. I feel like boxes are the easiest to wrap because they have sharp corners. It’s easy to bend the paper over them and you can crease it so that it stays in place. I tend to use the minimum amount of tape that I possibly can and where possible I don’t use tape at all.  

Here I’ve used a little bit of brown paper tape which blends in with the kraft paper and there you go. That’s the first present wrapped. Easy as! Of course I am going to add the red ribbon on top of it and once I’m done, because I’m not quite sure what’s in the present, I always add a little label so that I know when I add the tags whom it is for. I always start my bows by measuring out my ribbon – four measures of depth, two measures of length, and two measures of width. Then I added an approximate extra measure for the bow and a little extra for wastage. Next, I match up the ends of the ribbon I have and find the centre point. The centre point goes on the middle of the right side of the package and then you twist the ribbon on the opposite side. I make sure it’s holding the sides because I haven’t used any tape there and then hold the ribbon taut and flip over the present. At this point you want to make sure that the ribbon ends are even still and adjust if not.

Then put each end under the centre ribbon, pulling them across. These are going to be tied in a single knot over the centre ribbon and again keep your finger on the middle of these ribbon knots, because you really need them to be taut so that the package doesn’t come apart. Once you’ve tightened this knot, twist the present around so that the bow is facing away from you. Create a single loop, loop the ribbon around that and pull the second section through. If you didn’t quite catch that, just slow down the video and watch it again. It really is just that simple. With satin ribbon like this it’s always nice to curl the ends and you use one side of a scissor and pull, with tension, to create that lovely little curl. It just adds that something extra, which means that you really put in time and effort into wrapping this present, when you give it to someone. A little fiddle-faddle to make sure that the ribbon sits right and there you are – ready and wrapped. Isn’t that pretty?! 

Not every gift can be put in a box and some of them like this frisbee that we got for our dog can simply be wrapped by just wrapping paper straight over it just like a paper bag. All it needs is a little bit of tape on the top and the sides. And voila, you are done wrapping a weird frisbee. And then sometimes your wrapping paper is just too small to fit the ginormous box that fits the present in it. But all you need to do is wrap the present diagonally. Most often, the paper will be just enough to wrap in this manner. As you can see, I’m folding the sides and then folding down the top end so that it looks neat and tidy as well. That one worked out pretty well. Here’s another awkwardly shaped gift with lumps and bumps, but you don’t really need to put it  in a box because when you wrap it like this, the lumps and bumps end up being on the back  of the parcel and the front is nice and smooth.

One of the last things that I do is take off any tape that I have where it’s not needed. So when my sister opens this present, for example,  it’ll just open up when she undoes the ribbon. Some presents with longer sides do tend to need a little bit of tape and I usually use paper tape that blends in with the kraft paper. I didn’t really use tape on most of the presents so they’re all right. But this big one I did, but, because the ribbon is wrapped nice and tight, I don’t really need any tape on that either. For my final touch, I’m using these paper tags that I’ve had for years and years and years. I think they came in a pack of like 100 or 200 and I’ve been using them ever since.

I’m using a Tombow brush pen marker to just add a little heart and just our initials because it’s only family and they all know who it’s from. I will add the recipient’s name on the other side of the tag. Look at all the beautiful pressies. I actually really love giving beautifully wrapped presents. It’s… one of my favourite things is to see somebody’s face when they open it up and see what I’ve chosen for them with love and with care, and that is the best feeling in the world. Not all of these presents are expensive but they are given with a great deal of love and affection and I really really hope that they love what I’ve got for them. 

Oh, that was so much fun to make those papers and to wrap my gifts. I can’t wait to give them to my friends and family. They are the sort that will rip the packaging off. So all that hard work will be gone in 2 or 3 seconds. But really it’s the thought that counts isn’t it so it’s worth all that effort. If you got into the fastest spirit with me and made your own wrapping paper, leave a comment down below and tell me what pattern you used and how you made it. I will also link my gift guide video here for you to watch. Thank you so much for watching. Have a very happy festive season. See you in my next one. Bye!

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