I’m a huge fan of making a big impact with a small budget…
Honestly, who isn’t? And I always think back to my wedding when I consider that balance. It was out of a fairy tale: a stunning Spanish-style home complete with an enormous garden courtyard with a fountain, a stone colonnade, a pool filled with floating candles, a rooftop terrace… all surrounded by woods studded with millions of twinkling lights. The celebration began just after dark, and the myriad of glittering lights was magical.
No one has to know that the venue happened to belong to my grandparents… so with a little extra work hanging Christmas lights, hundreds of candles ordered months before online, and a friendly volunteer willing to light them all, we had the most glamorous wedding site ever for free… That, my friends, is my kind of party.
And I think every celebration – from once-in-a-lifetime weddings to yearly Christmas wrapping – should have the same effect. Here are my tips for creating the most beauty for the least bucks:
Thrifty: Use free brown bags and real sheet music
For $0.25 at the local used book store, I got an entire book of sheet music, which has lasted me through my sheet music Christmas trees and present wrapping. Real sheet music, as opposed to wrapping paper designed to look like sheet music, is a little firmer and easier to cut out silhouettes. It’s not as large, of course, so it works better for embellishments and smaller packages. For my brown paper, I used the backside of a grocery sack. No one has to know that you paid no more than a quarter for all of it!
Stunning: Balance rustic, natural textures with more glamorous ones
Juxtaposition is my favorite decorating technique. I used it as my guiding principle throughout my entire Christmas decor this year, and I love the result. Putting rough burlap next to shiny gilded paper creates a balance that is both soft and comforting and attention grabbing. You can see the same effect with my sparkly Christmas ornaments against my DIY no-sew tree skirt. Or the DIY vintage marquee lights and the rustic jingle bells and pine cones in my entryway. Oh, and don’t forget that wrapped presents make
great easy decor, as well!
Special: Use 3D embellishments for that extra touch
I love using real jute twine (I bought an enormous roll forever ago and still haven’t used it all), especially when wrapping multiple packages; it’s so much stronger than traditional wrapping ribbon. And if you add a little jingle bell or pine cone (hint: just use a dot of hot glue – for a small pine cone, it works perfectly), the 3D effect is impressive.
Simple: Don’t forget that it all ends up in the trash eventually! 😉
The most labor-intensive and time consuming thing I did was to print out a dove and reindeer (which I found via google images), cut them out, and trace them onto paper or burlap. That’s. it. Everything else was choosing the right materials and embellishing with complementary items. I have two small children, neither of whom are school age yet, and one on the way… Let’s just say that wrapping presents doesn’t get hours of attention around here! But that doesn’t mean that I have to settle for less than gorgeous…
And I hope you won’t either!
For more amazing and creative gift wrap ideas, be sure to visit these other incredible gals to see their gorgeous gifts: