DIY Stenciled Wrapping Paper

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DIY Stenciled Wrapping Paper

Experiment with multiple layers of reusable cardboard stencils to create personalized wrapping paper.

By Lori Zimmer
May 2017

Breathe new life into that old cardboard box by learning from contributors located around the world that come together in The Art of Cardboard(Rockport Publishers, 2015), by Lori Zimmer. Although paper and cardboard seem to be common materials, discover the unexpectedly beautiful, intricate art that can be created using repurposed and upcycled resources.

Making personalized wrapping paper is an easy way to experiment with multiple layers of stencils. The stencils can be reused again and again with different colors and placement to create as many designs as your heart desires.


• Thin cardboard (reclaimed from the back of a sketch pad works well)
• X-Acto knife
• Straight edge
• Roll of paper
• Spray paint

1. Using your straight edge, draw parallel lines across your cardboard.

2. Cut out every other line, removing fat stripes of cardboard.

3. When your stencil is all cut out, unroll the paper and decide how you want the stripes to be placed on the page.

4. Pick your favorite spray paint color and begin to spray out the stencil, moving it down the roll of paper as you go.

5. Now, create a second stencil in a graphic shape contrasting with the stripes.

6. Cut the outline of your shape and remove the excess cardboard.

7. Spray the new shape in a different color, repeating the stencil around the already striped paper.

8. Wait a few minutes for your wrapping paper to dry and then wrap your gift!

More from The Art of Cardboard:

How to Make a Trendy Triangle Wall Vessel

Logan Hicks is a Brooklyn-based artist who has developed a photorealistic style using layer upon layer of stencils. Inspired by the urban environment, Hicks’s pieces often portray the dirty and gritty nature of urban life. Hicks is also an accomplished exploratory photographer, traveling the globe to snap pictures from the tops of buildings or in abandoned subways.

Reprinted with permission from The Art of Cardboard: Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling, and Reuse,by Lori Zimmer and published by Rockport Publishers, 2015.