I’m going to go ahead and guess if you are venturing out to give something you made, that you are very confident in the thing you are making. 

Whether it be your town-famous pies, dreamy fudge, essential oil blends that strangers on the street stop and ask you about, or spoons you whittle from wood from your backyard–you don’t need me to teach you how to make stuff. 

I’m not here to give you a list of 25 no fail DIY ideas because from what I’ve observed, that’s not what most people need help with. 

Also, I do not have a list like that.

The other day I wanted to purchase some handmade bath items from Etsy and support some small businesses and I’m sad to report that the search was actually frustrating and disturbing.  

I was already willing to pay more than what I would pay at Target, plus pay for shipping, wait two weeks for delivery all for something I couldn’t hold or smell before hand– and I still believed it was worth it to get a quality item and support a small business. 

The problem was the packaging. Although I bet the product itself was a much better quality than what I could find mass produced, 99% of the packaging looked like I designed it back when I was 15 years old. 

Not only was it not pretty, most of it was literally, ugly. My apologies. 

There were fonts, colors, and weird, WEIRD logos that were a distraction and cheapened the product. 

I was shocked and let down that so many merchants didn’t put more effort into their packaging. I want pretty items on display in my own house, and I FOR SURE want to give gifts where the packing adds to the experience and doesn’t detract.

Heather Bullard’s Handmade Holiday Gift Tags

This is a lesson that we can learn from in our own presentation of things.  

Especially when it comes to giving handmade gifts. Whatever you do, DO NOT cheapen your meaningful, thoughtful, handmade gift by stuffing it into a four year old recycled gift bag with a rip in the corner. 

Presentation matters. 

One major way to elevate a handmade gift is to take an extra two or three minutes and consider the packaging. This can make or break how the gift feels when it’s received. 

It doesn’t have to cost any more to have pretty packaging than weird packaging. Usually, it just requires some editing out and focusing on a few key things.  

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” –Leonardo da Vinci

These gifts might look fussy but they were the easiest ever, black or brown or white craft paper embellished with bits and pieces of notions and ribbons that I mostly already had around the house.

When you wrap your gifts, if you want it to have a simple impact, I want you to think like a Cozy Minimalist: more style, less stuff. Simple, yet impactful. 

Instead of the hand-me-down-ripped Christmas bag with the cartoon snowman, keep the packaging simple and elegant. 

Don’t roll your eyes at the power of timeless craft paper, a wide satin ribbon and a simple embellishment like a bell, tassel, piece of evergreen or even an unexpected sticker. 

These simple touches are what makes a handmade gift, well, giftable.

Jeanne Oliver’s Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap

Even off the shelf items can look more thoughtful with a few simple embellishments: tie a pretty tea towel around a bottle of your favorite wine, wrap some burlap around a live rosemary topiary and secure it with twine, add some funny stickers to embellish the second hand jacket you know your niece is going to love.  

I know this isn’t brand new, life altering information. But also, I know that almost NO ONE is prioritizing this old information. Not even people who are trying to make an income off of their amazing products.  

So even though you know about this, my question is, have you applied it?  

The truth is, we are all busy and can’t spend half of December creating pretty over-the-top embellished gifts. But I do believe those handmade items deserve a little extra thought to make the giving complete and instead of feeling homemade and cheap, feel bespoke, handmade and personal. And the packaging makes all the difference.

Personally, I like to keep the wrapping paper simple and the embellishments special: 

Black craft paper

Black artist’s tape in different widths

Wide black  ribbon

Cloth napkins–perfect for tying around a bottle of wine  

Custom “Handmade by” stamp

Related Links: 

 Jeanne Oliver created these Hot Toddy kits for her neighbors–wouldn’t you agree the the packaging makes it extra, extra, EXTRA special? 

Emily Lex packages her handmade caramels

My post about the pretend gifts I wrapped for the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas shoot

More about my simple papers and found embellishments

Simple Gift Wrap Ideas on Pinterest 

Happy wrapping!