Friday 23 December 2011

5 DIY Present Toppers for All Year Round

   I wanted to make a simple but relevant tutorial for the day before Christmas Eve, and subsequently probably my last post of the year, but I couldn't come up with much. Then, while I was wrapping my boyfriend's presents, whose birthday falls on the 28th December, I found that the brown paper, though quite stylish, seemed a bit empty. I used an entire roll of baker's twine this Christmas, somehow, and I didn't want all his gifts to look the same, either. In fact, because my birthday is on January the 9th, we've been buying eachother birthday presents amongst Christmas presents, so we agreed to wrap all birthday gifts in brown paper and all christmas gifts to eachother in, well, christmas paper.
   But, washi tape can only make presents look so good. They needed embellishments, of some sort. I had a think, and I had seen a tutorial on pinterest for how to make a general gift bow, so I decided to elaborate on it. I am quite pleased with how they came out, actually, given that all of them were my first attempts.
   None of these are difficult, in fact they range from "really really easy" to "easy", and I made sure to use materials that most of you would all have lying around your house. The only thing some of you may not are doilies, but you can pick up packs of them from craft shops easily enough, or ebay, like I did. Plus, they can all easily be made really small, or really massive. All it depends on is how much stuff you have! Now, down to business...

1. Tissue PomPom

   This one is easy enough, as the below picture method shows. All you need is a pair of scissors, a stapler and some tissue paper. Cut a length of it, fold it in half lengthways then in half again, then take your scissors and cut lots of slits along the fold. Once you've done that, roll it up. I found this a bit tedious, because I found that once you'd gotten half way, the middle of the bunch, the point you started folding at, starts to move upwards. If you like it then carry on that way, it looks vaguely tree-ish, but I had to reroll about 3 times, eventually rolling it slowly and pinching the tab that was forming tightly to keep it from spreading upwards.
   Once you're happy with it, staple it in place. I will admit that I'm not sure what to do with the tab now, so I folded it over and used it as a flat piece to stick the pompom to the paper. You could probably cut it off if you stapled high enough, but my stapler was old, so much so that I only used it on this one project before turning to my trusty Podge.
    You don't have to use tissue paper for this, but thicker paper might require more patience to roll up. But, when has wrapping presents creatively ever been easy?

2. Junk Mail Gift Bows

   This is a fun one. I was lucky enough to have a Firebox leaflet lying around, which was made up of colourful pages. I will admit on this, though, that it's not too accurate in response to the number of strips of paper I cut out. I was looking at the original pin for this one, but I ended up only using half of them. I found the quality of paper to be too thick and glossy which really affected how much I was able to fix together, but I think I also cut the strips too wide. Either way, the finished piece actually looks quite jammy, so either way I'm pleased with it. Like I said above, with this one I turned to Mod Podge (didn't have pva glue anyway), which dried in about 30 seconds, so I didn't have to wait long. I spent my time watching Seeg play Assassin's Creed Revelations while waiting so it was all good.

3. Book Page Bow

   This one has a simple finish, but I'm not too keen on it myself. I think it's too bland, but any number of things could be done to spice it up. I just tore one page out of a book (I initially thought I'd need two but I was wrong) and cut one strip wider than the other. Podge the back a bit and stick the ends to the middle, then used the narrower strip and podged that to the middle of the front. I found that the bow looked a bit silly so I trimmed the sides to shape it slightly more curved, like a fuller bow. I'm happy enough with what I did, but like I said, it could be better.

4. Newspaper Poppy

   This is the easiest of all of them, and has one of the best finishes. I originally cut out some large circles, but I was using the local rag so there were more advertisements than stories in there. For a big one, you might be better off buying a broadsheet paper instead. But anyway, in the end I cut out 6 small circles, about 1.5 inches across. They don't need to be exactly the same shape either, which makes it easier. Just fold some paper over a few times and cut the circles out together. Once you've got them, screw them up in your hand. I found it's best to do them individually, and instead of vigorously screwing them up, roll them between your palms so they make a rough ball, then pull them apart. Don't lay them completely flat, though, or it'll ruin the effect.
   Once you've screwed them up and layed them back out, stack them up together, then staple them once in the middle (looks like I lied because I used the stapler here too). Use some sort of embellishment in the middle to hide the staple - some string, some curly streamers, some other paper, anything! I used some small plastic gems that I found while clearing my room the other day. They fill in the place of the anthers, and give it a nicer, classier effect. The fact that they're clear gives it a cleaner look, and though it adds more detail, it also keeps it minimal. It's my favourite, apart from...

5. Doily Flower

   This is the most difficult of the five. And, to make it even more difficult, I forgot to photograph the hardest part. Yay! So you're going to have to grasp my ramblings. This actually took 4 doilies, so I'm sorry for the mistake I made in the beginning. For each doily, apply some glue/podge in a line from the centre to the edge, then pinch the doily in half from the middle, so that the line is running from the middle upwards, and stick it down. Don't fold the doily in half by running your finger right across the bottom because you want the sides to stay open.
   Once you've done this for all four doilies, pinch the centre again so that it's now folded softly into a quarter. Now, this is the tricky part, so bear with me: get some more glue, and apply it in another line, from what is now the right angle corner (what used to be the centre of the flattened doily) to the new middle of the top. Imagine it as a triangle (I am so bad at explaining), and apply a line of glue from the corner to the middle of the top line, or in this case, scalloped curve. Make sure you apply a little more glue to any wide area you come across in this line. The doilies I used have flowers in the detail, so if the glue ran through a flower, I'd coat the whole flower. Then, stick this to the side of another doily.
   Do this with all of them, and then glue the final edge together. You might also want to treat the middle of a doily's fold the same way, so that there are no unusual gaps here and there.
   Once you've done that, you can fix it to your gift. It might look nicer if you add some silver or peach glitter to the scalloped edges, too. I am so sorry for my poor explaining, but I hope the picture of the finished piece will give you the rest of what you need.

I hope you enjoyed this, I'm thinking of adding something similar to my shop (I always say
that and it never happens), so check back soon! Thanks for reading.
This is probably my last post for 2011, so if I don't see any of you sooner, have a great
Christmas and a great new year! Don't drink or eat too much, I of course won't be drinking
at all because I hate alcohol and the feeling in my legs when I drink it. It's the eating I have
to worry about...anyway, thanks for following, and thanks for everything! I'd love to hear your
resolutions! And remember, there will be a sale in my shop from the 9th to the 31st of January
to celebrate my 21st birthday!

Peace out, peeps!


  1. I've been feeling pretty down about my wrapping skills - definitely going to go try a newspaper poppy! lovely! :)

  2. hello, I was just reading over some team comments on Etsy tonight and saw yours -- I thought I'd come see your blog and I love! Just thought Id introduce myself as a fellow 'Etsier' and your newest follower -- your blog is a refreshing change from some Ive seen of late (ho hum) and to see whether you would be interested in being interviewed as part of my weekly 'inspiring artist' series in 2012. If you are keen, just drop me a line on my blog: or email

    Happy 2012

    x Nicole
    Bubby Makes Three

  3. yay! i liked the fun comment you left me kim!
    you put it so beautifully - "what they care about enough to spend the time..." etc

    and honestly i like the little bow but i didn't know that first bow was so easy! man...i could have had fun with that one at christmas...


I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!