Last-Minute Gift Wrapping with Creative Wiz Lotta Nieminen

Great-looking gift wrap doesn’t have to be a chore. We tapped one of our favorite creatives—the crazy-talented graphic designer/art director/illustrator Lotta Nieminen—to show us how to create clever, customizable wrappings out of the simplest already-in-your-closet supplies. “I love collecting paper and ribbons in different colors,” she says. “Then I mix and match them based on the gift and the person receiving it.” The result? Packaging so beautiful, no one will ever guess you did it at the last minute.

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Problem: You Need a Red-Ribbon Alternative

Solution: Use artfully tied twine or ribbon to create a patterned effect on plain paper (bonus: this is the perfect way to repurpose all those paper bags you’ve stashed under the sink—just flip them over to hide any logos). Nieminen created a charming crisscross design (above, right) using our favorite Knot and Bow™ baker’s twine. We love the way she doubled up strands for extra texture.

Problem: You’ve Run Out of Paper

Solution: Layer leftover swatches of paper together for a colorful collage. For her Madewell project, Nieminen contrasted tiles of bright tissue with an unexpected accent of hammered copper (above, center). No worries if you don’t have a little stash of scrap metal handy: “Paper stocks of different textures create a similar effect,” says Nieminen.

Problem: Your Present, Uh, Isn’t the Best

Solution: Compensate for a less-than-perfect gift with blow-them-away-crafty wrapping. The Finnish designer cuts out playful figures (above, left) from regular copy paper (the thin paper is easier to handle than thicker stock) and colors them with marker.  Paste down your own artistic efforts using Lotta’s favorite UHU Stic glue. “I’m always covered in glue and bits of paper by the time I’m done,” says Nieminen. “But that’s part of the fun!”

Need something to wrap? Shop our gift guide here.