Thinking outside the bow: tassels and other gift toppers
It’s the year of the tassel in gift wrapping.
This holiday season, in lieu of the traditional bow, lifestyles magazines are showing tassels and pompoms adorning brightly wrapped packages and wine bottles.
“We’re seeing tassels on everything … on pillows, throws, in fashion and in jewelry,” says Amy Panos, deputy editor of Home Design for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Other creative gift toppers might include washi tape, cupcake liners, fabric, wire or tree sprigs.
Panos recommends “going big” — make the tassel large, or top the gift with a giant, tissue-paper pompom.
“The bigger the better,” she says. “That’s what makes something look festive and modern.”
Tassels may be purchased for a few dollars, but are easy to make, says Marcie McGoldrick, editorial director of crafts for Martha Stewart Living.
Homemade ones “have a more considered, personal feel,” she says. “They’re great for hostess gifts atop a wine bottle.”
Usually crafted with yarn or thread, tassels can also be made with tissue and other paper. Better Homes’ December issue uses brown Kraft paper, but scrapbook or construction paper works, too. Panos suggests using metallic paper or incorporating several colors in the same tassel. She says solid colors — not patterned paper — work best.
“It looks really subdued and elegant,” she says.
The tassels can be saved and hung as ornaments from a tree, wreath or light fixture, Panos says.
For packages that need to be shipped or stacked flat, she recommends weaving ribbons of different sizes and colors in a simple pattern — crossing one over another and attaching them in the back. Or use washi tape, which comes in many colors and holiday-themed patterns.
Add a fringed “belly band” around the midsection of a gift: Cut a strip of crepe paper long enough to fit the package (either lengthwise or widthwise), fold it lengthwise and cut slits along the edges to fringe. Reopen, flatten and attach to package and top with a coordinating color of ribbon.
More creative alternatives to bows:
■Add flattened cupcake liners to the tops and corners of packages, says McGoldrick. “They add dimension and texture and come in great colors.”
■To create a monogram, bend 8-gauge wire to form an initial, and then wrap it with yarn or thin ribbon and glue the yarn ends to the wire. Attach it to the package with matching yarn or ribbon, says Kayla Kitts, special projects editor for HGTV.com.
■Make a gift tag from fabric glued to cardstock, and attach it to the package with ribbon, Kitts says.
■Use the eraser end of a pencil, dipped in paint, to create a design or image on a package wrapped in Kraft paper, says Kitts. “It adds that personalized touch.”
■Wrap gifts in a square of inexpensive, holiday-themed fabric with the corners gathered and tied at the top; it’s called “furoshiki,” a Japanese term, and works especially well for small gifts.
■Go outdoors and snip something green and wintry (think evergreen). Panos recommends tucking small pinecones, pine branches or holly into a package tied with ribbon. If those aren’t in your vicinity, use what you have, such as seashells.
“Anything from the natural world is automatically going to look gorgeous on top of a package,” Panos says, noting that the live tree standing in many homes this time of year is a perfect source. “Snip from the back,” she advises.
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