Gift Wrap Rack
Here's a terrific way to keep rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon handy, dust-free and unwrinkled. Simply glue a bunch of 30-in.-long pieces of 3-in. PVC waste pipe with all-purpose PVC glue. The rack can sit right on your worktable and you can store it underneath or in a closet. Learn more about working with PVC plastic pipe here.
Hand-Planed Ribbons and Bows
A few scrap boards of your favorite wood and a sharp hand plane are all you need to personalize gifts from your shop with wood ribbons and bows. We used pine, walnut and cherry for three contrasting tones. Exotic woods are colorful, but it's nearly impossible to plane long, smooth shavings from species that have a wild or inconsistent grain.
To create flat, ribbon-style shavings, moisten the board edge with a damp rag or spray bottle before planing. To make the curly bows, plane the board edge without water. Vary the width of the shavings by angling the plane along the board edge in a bevel cut. Thanks to reader Tom Jackson for this festive tip. If you'd like to learn more about using a hand plane and tips for sharpening and buying them, check out this article.
Soften Old Tape
Revive old masking tape or painter's tape by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds. The heat will soften up the adhesive allowing it to easily pull off the roll. Got a smelly/dirty microwave? Check out our tips for making it fresh and sparkly clean.
If you keep your tape, twine and ribbon spools in a drawer, you're wasting valuable space. Instead, screw a paper towel holder to the window trim in your craft room and slide the rolls on the holder. You'll know where everything is and you can pull off the amount you need without the spools jumping out of your hand and across the floor.
Instead of littering your kitchen counter or dining room table with gift-wrapping paraphernalia every time you wrap a present, set up your Workmate workbench in a corner of your basement. Screw a 2x4 cleat to a piece of plywood, and presto, you have a wrapping table where you can leave all your supplies until the season is over. If you don't have a Workmate workbench, here are four simple-to-build-and take-apart tables.
Create a Gift Wrap Station
Make gift wrapping easier and more fun with this simple, super-functional wrap station. Curved pegboard hooks hold wrapping paper rolls with wooden dowel inserts. Long, straight pegboard hooks hold spools of ribbon and short lengths of PVC pipe that you can fill with pens. You can create places to store whatever you use to wrap all of your gifts. Take your piece of pegboard and roll on a coat of primer followed by gloss or semigloss paint (glossy paints are easier to wipe clean). Apply light coats so you don't clog the holes. Then snazz it up with a frame. After attaching the pegboard to a 1x3 frame, add corner blocks and trim with hot-melt glue?no fancy miter cuts or fasteners needed. Discover lots more pegboard tips and tricks here.
Packaging Fragile Parcels
If you're sending a fragile gift, protect it with expanding foam sealant. First, double-wrap the item in plastic bags, then cover the bottom of your box with 2 to 3 in. of foam. After about 45 minutes, when the foam has expanded and begun to harden, put the item in the box. Then line the box with a plastic bag large enough to cover the item and the sides of the box. Partially fill the box with foam, covering the gift but leaving a couple of inches for the foam to expand. Let the foam set overnight before handling the package. If the foam expands past the top of the box, just cut away the excess with a knife. A can of regular foam?not the 'minimal expanding' version?fills almost a cubic foot. If you're not familiar with expanding foam sealant, here are 17 ways to master this versatile product.
Corral Your Gift Wrap
Propping up rolls of gift wrap in the corner of a hall closet often means wrinkled, torn or lost rolls. Here's a way to keep the rolls neatly organized and easy to reach. Make a wrapping paper 'corral' by screwing a small section of wire closet shelving vertically to the side of a closet wall. Just slide the rolls in and out of the corral?they won't tumble over or get lost behind the coats. Check out more closet decluttering tips here.