Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Decorative Gift Container

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

It’s easy to make your own decorative gift container. All that is necessary is a container, some decorative paper, double sided tape and a craft knife or scissors. Just follow the do-it-yourself instructions below.

From left to right: the tin my tea comes in. the tin with the paper torn off (sticky stuff still showing), tin cleaned, De-Solve-It which really takes the sticky off my tin.

From left to right: original tea tin. tea tin with paper torn off with sticky residue remaining, tea tin cleaned, De-Solv-it which takes off the sticky residue.

I love to use cylindrical containers like the ones that tea or hot chocolate or oatmeal comes in. My favorite is the metal tins in the photo on the left that contains Double Green Matcha Tea from The Republic of Tea.

First I empty the contents from my container and clean it as best I can. For my example I have used my tea tin. I first remove the paper label. There is usually an awful sticky residue and some paper left behind. To clean this I use De-Solv-it which is organic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly and works like a champ to remove all sorts of sticky stuff.

Paper cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch.

Paste paper is cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch going around the can.

Once my tin is ready, I measure the height of the tin. I cut a piece of decorative paper the height of the tin and about an inch longer than its circumference. I have found that using a fairly light weight paper works best. In this example I am using a piece of paste paper that I made. For information on how I make my paste papers, see my posts Making Paste Paper: Part 1 and Making Paste Paper: Part 2.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Now I attach a strip of double sided tape to each of the ends of the paper. Be sure to apply the tape to the wrong side of the paper. I put the tape as close to the end of the paper as possible and overlap the tape on top and bottom on to a cutting surface. Then  I cut the tape as close to the height of the paper as possible without cutting the paper. See the photo on the left. The double sided tape is just one I picked up at a local stationary store. You don’t need a special type of artists tape.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

Now I attach one side of the paper to the tin. I carefully line up the paper on the can and press to attach the paper to the tin. I roll the tin slowly while making sure the paper fits properly. If I am off, I unroll the tin and carefully reposition the paper and start rolling again. When I come to the end of the paper it should overlap a little and I push to attach the end of the paper. Now all I need to do is to add a gift.

My finished gift container.

My finished gift container. Note that the seam is facing you in this photo. It’s hardly noticeable at all.

See, it’s easy. I love finding ways to re-use things that would normally end up in either the trash or recycle bin. Once I give a gift in this container, I am sure my container will get used over and over again.

Enjoy, Candy

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Making Paste Papers: Part One

It’s Summer, which means I get to pull out my paints, cook up some archival paste, and play for days making paste papers. I only make paste papers during the summertime, because they dry so much quicker. Since I have a limited amount of space in which to work, the faster they dry, the more I can make.

This is what I use to make my paste.

I usually work with two paste recipes. The first is simply methyl cellulose and distilled water, which I use when adding gold and silver highlights. I get powdered methyl cellulose from www.danielsmith.com. Getting it to the right consistency takes about two days and lots of stirring. Once made, this paste can be used for months. The second recipe consists of wheat starch, rice flour, glycerin, tincture of green soap, and distilled water. This requires cooking, cooling, and running the paste through a sieve to remove any lumps. Even when refrigerated, this paste only has a shelf life of a week or less.

Here I am painting yellow paste on wet paper.

Once the paste is ready, I put it into small containers and add acrylic paint until I get the intensity of color that I want. I generally use Golden Acrylic paints because they’re highly pigmented; ‘a little dab’ll do ya’.

Here I have added more colors of paste and am blending them together on the paper.

If you’re working with children, and you want a simple, kid friendly recipe, you can make the paste from flour and water and use tempera paints to color the paste.

Before painting with the colored pastes, the paper needs to be wet. I have a shallow plastic storage container partially filled with water in which I can dip my paper. Now the real fun begins. After putting the wet paper on a non-porous surface and smoothing out any bubbles, I apply the colored pastes, usually with a large brush. Then I make marks, patterns, and textures in the paste with all sorts of objects. I’ve used combs, bottle caps, brushes, rubber stamps, chopsticks, various found objects, and anything else that happened to be around at the time. I also sprinkle metallic powders on some of the paste papers.

Now I am adding texture by stamping a bottle cap into the wet paste.

My favorite paper to use for this is Mohawk Superfine, which I use in a variety of weights, from text weight all the way to cover stock. It all depends on what I plan to make out of the finished paste paper. For my non-porous surface, I use glass, plexiglass, or a piece of laminate.The first day I make paste papers usually feels like a warm-up. By the second day, however, I find myself making some absolutely fantastic paste papers. Since I only do this once a year, I try to make sure the color combinations I use cover all four seasons. It feels weird to be making a ‘Winter’ paste paper on a hot summer day, wearing a tank top and shorts.

Paste paper laid flat to dry.

We’re not done yet! In Part 2, I’ll tell you what comes next, and I’ll show you some of the new paste papers I’ve made this summer.

Enjoy, Candy

P.S. Click here to view Making Paste Papers: Part Two.