Custom Paper: Hearts and Letters

A high school friend’s baby shower is this weekend. The baby girl has already arrived so I’m able to customize her wrapping paper with colours and letters. Honestly, the colours could have been anything (boy babies and girl babies are basically blobs who like anything new).

This is a fun project you can do on your own or with kids (just make sure a grown-up helps with the stamp cutting!). From start to finish (not including dry time) this took me less than an hour. Clean up is easy too. Wash your brush and rinse the paint from your potatoes. The potatoes can go into the compost.

Materials

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  • Plain paper – I used some brown wrapping paper from Ikea ($1.99 for 26 feet)
  • Sweet potato or regular potato for your stamper
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard or plastic lid for paint mixing and stamp dipping
  • Painters tape
  • Assortment of acrylic paints
  • Paintbrush
  • A marker you are okay to ruin

How to make custom printed gift wrap

1. Trace your stamp shapes on your potato. For my pattern I drew a heart and the letter E (baby’s first name starts with E).

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2. Using your knife, cut around your shape. You can cut all the way down for one long stamp or you can leave some of the excess potato, which is what I did. I cut a notch in the top of each stamp so I knew what the top was when I was stamping. It wasn’t totally necessary for this pattern because I went in every direction with the stamps.

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3. Cut your paper and tape it down. I used painter’s tape on the corners because the tape won’t tear the paper. You could use masking or scotch tape too. I’d steer clear of duct tape. Make sure you cut more paper than you need for wrapping so you don’t end up short!

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4. Mix your paints. You can use the colours that come out of the tube or you can mix them up to create your own custom colours. I wanted my hearts to be pastel colours so I added white to fuchsia, purple, and yellow. The “E” was going to be a metallic copper so I just used it straight from the tube. You can mix your colours with your brush or a palette knife if you have one.

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5. Dip your stamp into your first colour. You can dip it directly into your paint or you can paint the stamp with a brush. For my hearts I did a direct dip. When it came time to stamp the “E” I ended up using the brush. The small spaces on either side of the middle bar of the “E” held a lot of excess paint and caused some blobs. Don’t get too much paint on your stamp otherwise you’ll lose the shape and it will look sloppy.

6. Stamp your gift wrap. Start very carefully so you get a feel for how your stamp works. You can even cut a piece of practice paper or use some scrap paper from your recycling bin as a tester. Don’t smoosh your stamp around or you’ll lose your shape. I found that having a small amount of paint thinly spread over the stamp worked best. This gives it a rustic, home-made look. Perfectly imperfect. 🙂

7. Let your paint dry for at least one hour. If you have areas where the paint was a bit thicker, you might need to let it dry longer. A gentle touch with your finger will tell you if your paint is dry.

8. Wrap your gift!

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