The Etsy Blog

How-Tuesday: Kraft Paper Rubbings From The Art of Gift Wrapping handmade and vintage goods



Whenever a package appears in my mailbox from an Etsy artist, I feel like I have received a little present in the mail. I am constantly impressed with the thought and care poured into the beautifully crafted jewelry or clothing or art prints that I find myself purchasing, as well as the attention to detail in the packaging. I think this is one of the many personal touches that makes buying handmade pieces directly from an artist on Etsy a special experience.

If you have been searching for ideas to make your Etsy orders stand out in the postal sea, or are looking for a way to wrap up a handmade gift in a deserving manner, then this How-Tuesday project from Wanda Wen’s new book, The Art of Gift Wrapping, is for you!

You can purchase The Art of Gift Wrapping from Amazon or an independent bookseller.

The charm and peaceful nature of brown kraft paper and everyday cotton string could not be a more welcoming aesthetic, particularly in the busy world in which we all live. With that same spirit, I have used the ancient technique of rubbing to decorate the kraft paper, using graphite pencil and simple objects found around my home. This time-honored, rudimentary printing technique coupled with the pencil, paper, and string reminds me of my childhood days of simplicity and back-to-basics existence.

Kraft paper
Sharpened pencils
Fork, spoon, and knife, or other objects
Cotton string
Manila tags


1. Measure out the paper needed to cover your box. Loosely wrap the box with the paper, gently creasing the paper against all edges of the box. There is no need to use any tape at this point, nor is it necessary to do a full wrap or finish off the sides of the gift wrap. The creases are simply to give you markings for the placement of the rubbings.

2. Unwrap the box and place the paper onto your work surface, keeping track of which areas of the paper will cover which areas of the package.

3. Place the spoon underneath the kraft paper where you want to create the image. Using a sharpened pencil in one hand and holding the spoon in place with your other hand, lightly rub the pencil over the paper-covered spoon, taking care to create the definitive shape of the object. (a)

4. Remove the spoon from underneath the paper. Repeat step 3 using the fork and knife, creating the rubbings one at a time. Continue to add rubbings in this manner any place you wish the motif to appear.

5. When all the rubbings are complete, wrap the box with your paper.

6. Tie cotton string once around the box and complete the package by adding a manila gift tag. (b)

Note: When selecting items to rub and incorporate into this project, choose those with a lot of surface texture or an iconic shape, as they are ideal and well suited for rubbings.

Thank you to Wanda Wen and the good folks at Potter Craft for sharing this project with us. For more gift wrapping ideas and tutorials, check out The Art of Gift Wrapping.

  • Ebruk

    Ebruk says:

    Lovely gift boxes.

    5 years ago

  • Ayca

    Ayca says:

    Good idea! Thanks for sharing:)

    5 years ago

  • HarrietsHaven

    HarrietsHaven says:

    Rubbings are so much fun to make. I can remember doing this as a child, and have since shown my 4 year old how to make her own. She has fun with it, as well. Thanks for the article.

    5 years ago

  • JewelryByVeraVague

    JewelryByVeraVague says:

    yeah! i'm about to go make some pillow boxes right now, embellished with a stamp i carved :) spot on craftiness!

    5 years ago

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie says:

    How fun!

    5 years ago

  • melaniefavreau

    melaniefavreau says:

    That's a great idea! Thanks Julie :)

    5 years ago

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry says:

    This is such a wonderful idea! I've been looking for a more creative way to package my handmade jewelry. Nothing else compares to receiving a wonderfully packaged handmade item from wonderfully artistic folks!

    5 years ago

  • aBreathofFrenchair

    aBreathofFrenchair says:

    I can't wait to see this in person!

    5 years ago

  • CandyTheArtist

    CandyTheArtist says:

    Return to simple can you get. And, how effective!

    5 years ago

  • 3DivasStudio

    3DivasStudio says:

    I love this! So simple and yet so personal. Thank you!

    5 years ago

  • timeforteame

    timeforteame says:

    I already wrap my journals in stamped kraft paper tied with twine. Brown paper packages are the best! And manila shipping tags - love it. Thanks for the rubbing ideas....

    5 years ago

  • ExQuisiteInVitation

    ExQuisiteInVitation says:

    I'm in "LOVE" with unique gift wrapping. Lovin' this article. Thanks!

    5 years ago

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger says:

    Awesome. I always love natural kraft paper! Stylish, simple, and reminds me of the good old days...

    5 years ago

  • blackberrygraphics

    blackberrygraphics says:

    Perfect timing - I was JUST thinking about how to package up my items with a professional yet personal look. I'm fairly new to selling on etsy, and I've been struggling with this very thing. This is AWESOME!!! Thank you!

    5 years ago

  • littlemoandfriends

    littlemoandfriends says:

    how charming! thanks for sharing this lovely idea! xoxo

    5 years ago

  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe says:

    Great idea! I used to do this as a child! AND- I just bought some kraft paper to wrap my items with! Going to try this technique or something similar today! Thanks!

    5 years ago

  • mucar

    mucar says:

    great idea! Thanks...

    5 years ago

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord says:

    Great ideas!

    5 years ago

  • birribe

    birribe says:

    Great article I love wrapping my items and also unwrap gifts!

    5 years ago

  • MarKhed

    MarKhed says:

    oh so brilliant! Love that fork and spoon one!

    5 years ago

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket says:

    Love kraft paper, it just looks so vintage!! So many possibilities!! Thanks for all the great finds and ideas!!

    5 years ago

  • persylla

    persylla says:

    ohh so cute

    5 years ago

  • wontonlove

    wontonlove says:

    I'm a dying fan of kraft paper!!! Like a blank linen canvas... you can turn it into any look you want.

    5 years ago

  • VintageJamie

    VintageJamie says:

    Oh, I love this article!

    5 years ago

  • SimpleTastes

    SimpleTastes says:

    I've always love pretty packaging. When I see wrapping paper and gift boxes I feel like a kid in a candy store. Love your unique ideas!

    5 years ago

  • galstudio

    galstudio says:

    Love the ideas...

    5 years ago

  • squid21r

    squid21r says:

    I love creative wrapping! I practice it with all of my sales!

    5 years ago

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie says:

    I just used up my last big roll of brown paper that I wrap my items with and have it on my shopping list for today. Just a tip ~ if you are worried that your pencil rubbing might smear, lightly mist it with hairspray or a clear matte spray sealer. :)

    5 years ago

  • hempcouture

    hempcouture says:

    Great, inspiring, crafty article! Thank you!

    5 years ago

  • jpstyle

    jpstyle says:

    So cute! Love it!

    5 years ago

  • meoneil

    meoneil says:

    Way cool! And so is the tip in the post immediately above mine!

    5 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Wow such detail these look great!

    5 years ago

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel says:

    great how-to!! looking forward to the virtual lab! thanks!!

    5 years ago

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie says:

    This is such a great idea!! And I have a whole roll of kraft paper at my disposal!!! Bring on the paper rubbings!

    5 years ago

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage says:

    i love this article. even the packaging is a work of art!

    5 years ago

  • jibbyandjuna

    jibbyandjuna says:

    Beautifully simple idea for gift wrap! I like the idea of matching the rubbing to the gift inside.

    5 years ago

  • XauXau

    XauXau says:

    wonderful article! gives me much inspiration! hmm.. where to get an ordinary craft paper? and thank you for those related items - i love those hand carved stamps! :)

    5 years ago

  • pavia

    pavia says:

    I love this idea - thanks for sharing!

    5 years ago

  • Thitaree

    Thitaree says:

    Thanks, Really great idea! I love kraft paper!

    5 years ago

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts says:

    Pretty packaging is so nice if you can do it.

    5 years ago

  • OldTimePickers

    OldTimePickers says:

    Great personal touch and so easy to do!

    5 years ago

  • GenevieveWoodford

    GenevieveWoodford says:

    What a lovely article and a wonderful idea! I would never have thought of that - it's great. Please keep these great articles coming, they really help and enhance everything!

    5 years ago

  • LeslieGallery

    LeslieGallery says:

    I love this idea. recently for the holidays i have been buying stamps on sale and using kraft paper to created my own wrapping paper. it looks great and just makes the present that more special. wonderful to see it incorporated in this manner. thanks!

    5 years ago

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig says:

    Very creative, Thanks for sharing :)

    5 years ago

  • caleya1010

    caleya1010 says:

    I love this idea, I'm always finding a way to gift wrap or do souvenirs for any occasions.....

    5 years ago

  • kloseknit

    kloseknit says:

    Oh, definetly good info for sellers!! And shoppers! Finally, a way to dress up brown paper sacks. Very Green, Loves it!

    5 years ago

  • VintageScriptPress

    VintageScriptPress says:

    Great idea love it!!

    5 years ago

  • SandBagsDesigns

    SandBagsDesigns says:

    Brings back childhood days when I would create my own wrapping paper at Christmas! These are way more chic & stylish; thanks for sharing.

    5 years ago

  • pavia

    pavia says:

    I love this idea - thanks for sharing!

    5 years ago

  • LARaised

    LARaised says:

    some pretty pretty things!

    5 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 says:

    Love to use craft paper for wrapping. This adds another dimension. Thank you.

    5 years ago

  • coup

    coup says:

    Loved this how-to piece. The hand-silkscreened ooak gift wrap and boxes I use are why my repeat Etsy customers keep coming back ;)

    5 years ago

  • CaliforniaCraft

    CaliforniaCraft says:

    Cute idea, I will have to try it! I'm always on the look-out for great packaging favorite!

    5 years ago

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions says:

    looks like fun!! Great items here too!!

    5 years ago

  • bunnygoods

    bunnygoods says:

    beautiful rubbings and what wonderful inspiration! makes me want to go leaf hunting immediately!!! thanks for sharing! cheers!

    5 years ago

  • SeasationalShells

    SeasationalShells says:

    Adorable wrapping!! =)

    5 years ago

  • birdie1

    birdie1 says:

    Great look and so easy.

    5 years ago

  • WoodPigeon

    WoodPigeon says:

    Nice tips thanks!

    5 years ago

  • aemcdraw

    aemcdraw says:

    I wrap all my Etsy packages in Kraft Paper too. Although, the extend of my creativity is the Paypal label on the front with a ton of clear tape, and my shop stamp on the back. :D

    5 years ago

  • rubypaperco

    rubypaperco says:

    Great idea!

    5 years ago

  • DeltasWorkshop

    DeltasWorkshop says:

    Thank you for this article. What a great idea!

    5 years ago

  • HornCatCreations

    HornCatCreations says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I'm going to look for the book- I bet it's chock full with great ideas!

    5 years ago

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage says:

    simple idea...awesome!

    5 years ago

  • TastyVintage

    TastyVintage says:

    Thanks for the ideas! Lovely article!

    5 years ago

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey says:

    very cool. I will def be experimenting with this!

    5 years ago

  • StylesbyHolly

    StylesbyHolly says:

    What GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    5 years ago

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares says:

    What a great idea. This brought back memories of a history project I had in high school, where I had to do a rubbing of old tombstones from the early 1800's. Same concept, but his would be more fun.

    5 years ago

  • tiemee

    tiemee says:

    I want to try this--thank you for the great ideas!

    5 years ago

  • DiamondDollsCouture

    DiamondDollsCouture says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    5 years ago

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria says:

    Great ideas to dress up a package!

    5 years ago

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome says:

    That's great. Thanks for these tips.

    5 years ago

  • chyrls

    chyrls says:

    I missed the virtual lab timing (time difference, I'm in Singapore). But I found this article. This is a very interesting concept. Thank you for sharing! :) A big thank you for featuring my gift box too! ~Cheers! ~Chyrl

    5 years ago

  • artbycarrie10

    artbycarrie10 says:

    This does make sense...thanks for the info!

    5 years ago

  • artbycarrie10

    artbycarrie10 says:

    This is a good idea...I will put in the extra effort in packaging.

    5 years ago

  • VerreDesign

    VerreDesign says:

    Awesome ideas!! Thanks:)

    5 years ago

  • Chandeluse

    Chandeluse says:

    Easy and fun idea. Thanks for sharing with us.

    5 years ago

  • Yvonne4eyes

    Yvonne4eyes says:

    I must try this...great article!

    5 years ago

  • pineappleaisle

    pineappleaisle says:

    What a great way to use kraft paper and found objects.

    5 years ago

  • frenchtoastfriday

    frenchtoastfriday says:

    Nice packaging makes me happy!

    5 years ago

  • felicitycrew

    felicitycrew says:

    Such a cute idea!

    5 years ago

  • EvenAndy

    EvenAndy says:

    Beautiful packaging:) I was unable to attend the lab yesterday. Thanks for posting a how-to from the lab! I love the kraft paper idea:)

    5 years ago

  • minthome

    minthome says:

    Such a great idea! Will definitely give it a go. Sounds like a fun way to get our little ones creativity flowing!

    5 years ago

  • huiyitan

    huiyitan says:

    very creative, thank u for sharing!

    5 years ago

  • owlbot

    owlbot says:

    Love it! I love kraft paper and the rubbings wrapping is such a fantasic idea!

    5 years ago

  • GomiConstruction

    GomiConstruction says:

    Fabulous! love the rubbings. My boyfriend took me to do rubbings on decorative gravestones at our local historic cemetery for our first date! I knew he was the one when he had us doing off the wall art! Thanks for the article!

    5 years ago

  • wansoowen

    wansoowen says:

    Thanks for all your comments! For more great resourceful ideas, pick up my book, The Art of Gift Wrapping. Available at,, or Barnes & Noble.

    5 years ago

  • Jordannajoy

    Jordannajoy says:


    5 years ago

  • RobotsAreAwesome

    RobotsAreAwesome says:

    Watched Wanda live last week, it was wonderful. She really reminded me to keep it simple and friendly, brown paper and string. I have to wrap my robots in gaggles of bubble wrap for shipping, but after that, it's nice to touch off the wrapping with tissue paper and brown string. Some of my hang tags: Thank you Wanda.

    5 years ago

  • ScotlandUK

    ScotlandUK says:

    I loved this paper and think Wanda is just SOOOooooo clever. Thank's loads for the information

    5 years ago

  • lemonring

    lemonring says:

    lovely boxes & papers!!! Wraping is always my big worry. Thanks for the good ideas!!!

    5 years ago

  • CrazyAngelArt

    CrazyAngelArt says:

    very cool....i love doing special things when gift wrapping...i try to use something that can be reused a scarf or a lovely piece of fabric....tied up with a piece of ribbon or even a strip of cloth's fun to do something out of the ordinary.

    5 years ago

  • hoopdreamz

    hoopdreamz says:

    Really liked the brown paper with string idea. Simple. Beautiful.

    5 years ago

  • xoazuree

    xoazuree says:

    What a great idea. I am such a sucker for kraft paper (Kraft envelopes come with the greeting cards in my shop) and for bakers twine! I love the idea of beautifully packaging something for a customer from my shop! I am very excited to be able to share the love in this way because i LOVE so much receiving a package that wasn't just thrown in an envelope! Best of luck to everyone in their shops and thank you for this great article!

    4 years ago

  • sistersilver

    sistersilver says:

    love the rubbings...I will use that this year for sure. Half the fun will be finding things to rub! Thanks for the wonderful idea.

    4 years ago

  • chriskoskidesigns

    chriskoskidesigns says:

    What a unique and fun idea ~ thanks for sharing! :-)

    4 years ago

  • everydaysaholiday

    everydaysaholiday says:

    I like the rubbing idea. I am a big fan of kraft paper myself. Currently, I stamp images on everything kraft but I will give rubbings a whirl. Thanks so much...I'd love to view Wanda's book!

    3 years ago

  • TheRobinsTree

    Robin from TheRobinsTree says:

    Is it not amazing how everyday items look like art when on paper?

    3 years ago