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How-Tuesday: Kraft Paper Rubbings From The Art of Gift Wrapping

May 18, 2010

by Julie Schneider


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.

Yellow Daisy Topped Gift Box, SALE
Yellow Daisy Topped Gift Box, SALE
Assorted  Bakers Packaging Twine (100 yards) YOU CHOOSE
Assorted Bakers Packaging Twine (100 yards) YOU CHOOSE
Set of Natural Lightweight Kraft Paper Bags (See Through Type)
Set of Natural Lightweight Kraft Paper Bags (See Through Type)
Cute Red Checks on Brown Paper gift bags (set of 10)
Cute Red Checks on Brown Paper gift bags (set of 10)
Robot Party Favor Box - Made to Order
Robot Party Favor Box - Made to Order
set of six Australia mini notecards
set of six Australia mini notecards
Note Card Set Pinwheel Variety Pack
Note Card Set Pinwheel Variety Pack


  • Ebruk

    Ebruk said 6 years ago

    Lovely gift boxes.

  • Ayca

    Ayca said 6 years ago

    Good idea! Thanks for sharing:)

  • HarrietsHaven

    HarrietsHaven said 6 years ago

    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.

  • JewelryByVeraVague

    JewelryByVeraVague said 6 years ago

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

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 6 years ago

    How fun!

  • melaniefavreau

    melaniefavreau said 6 years ago

    That's a great idea! Thanks Julie :)

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 6 years ago

    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!

  • aBreathofFrenchair

    aBreathofFrenchair said 6 years ago

    I can't wait to see this in person!

  • CandyTheArtist

    CandyTheArtist said 6 years ago

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

  • 3DivasStudio

    3DivasStudio said 6 years ago

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

  • timeforteame

    timeforteame said 6 years ago

    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....

  • ExQuisiteInVitation

    ExQuisiteInVitation said 6 years ago

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

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger said 6 years ago

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

  • blackberrygraphics

    blackberrygraphics said 6 years ago

    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!

  • littlemoandfriends

    littlemoandfriends said 6 years ago

    how charming! thanks for sharing this lovely idea! xoxo

  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe said 6 years ago

    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!

  • mucar

    mucar said 6 years ago

    great idea! Thanks...

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 6 years ago

    Great ideas!

  • birribe

    birribe said 6 years ago

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

  • MarKhed

    MarKhed said 6 years ago

    oh so brilliant! Love that fork and spoon one!

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket said 6 years ago

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

  • persylla

    persylla said 6 years ago

    ohh so cute

  • wontonlove

    wontonlove said 6 years ago

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

  • VintageJamie

    VintageJamie said 6 years ago

    Oh, I love this article!

  • SimpleTastes

    SimpleTastes said 6 years ago

    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!

  • galstudio

    galstudio said 6 years ago

    Love the ideas...

  • squid21r

    squid21r said 6 years ago

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

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    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. :)

  • hempcouture

    hempcouture said 6 years ago

    Great, inspiring, crafty article! Thank you!

  • jpstyle

    jpstyle said 6 years ago

    So cute! Love it!

  • meoneil

    meoneil said 6 years ago

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

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Wow such detail these look great!

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 6 years ago

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

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 6 years ago

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

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

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

  • jibbyandjuna

    jibbyandjuna said 6 years ago

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

  • XauXau

    XauXau said 6 years ago

    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! :)

  • pavia

    pavia said 6 years ago

    I love this idea - thanks for sharing!

  • Thitaree

    Thitaree said 6 years ago

    Thanks, Really great idea! I love kraft paper!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Pretty packaging is so nice if you can do it.

  • OldTimePickers

    OldTimePickers said 6 years ago

    Great personal touch and so easy to do!

  • GenevieveWoodford

    GenevieveWoodford said 6 years ago

    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!

  • LeslieGallery

    LeslieGallery said 6 years ago

    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!

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig said 6 years ago

    Very creative, Thanks for sharing :)

  • caleya1010

    caleya1010 said 6 years ago

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

  • kloseknit

    kloseknit said 6 years ago

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

  • VintageScriptPress

    VintageScriptPress said 6 years ago

    Great idea love it!!

  • SandBagsDesigns

    SandBagsDesigns said 6 years ago

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

  • pavia

    pavia said 6 years ago

    I love this idea - thanks for sharing!

  • LARaised

    LARaised said 6 years ago

    some pretty pretty things!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

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

  • coup

    coup said 6 years ago

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

  • CaliforniaCraft

    CaliforniaCraft said 6 years ago

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

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 6 years ago

    looks like fun!! Great items here too!!

  • bunnygoods

    bunnygoods said 6 years ago

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

  • SeasationalShells

    SeasationalShells said 6 years ago

    Adorable wrapping!! =)

  • birdie1

    birdie1 said 6 years ago

    Great look and so easy.

  • WoodPigeon

    WoodPigeon said 6 years ago

    Nice tips thanks!

  • aemcdraw

    aemcdraw said 6 years ago

    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

  • rubypaperco

    rubypaperco said 6 years ago

    Great idea!

  • DeltasWorkshop

    DeltasWorkshop said 6 years ago

    Thank you for this article. What a great idea!

  • HornCatCreations

    HornCatCreations said 6 years ago

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

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 6 years ago

    simple idea...awesome!

  • TastyVintage

    TastyVintage said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the ideas! Lovely article!

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 6 years ago

    very cool. I will def be experimenting with this!

  • StylesbyHolly

    StylesbyHolly said 6 years ago

    What GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 6 years ago

    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.

  • tiemee

    tiemee said 6 years ago

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

  • DiamondDollsCouture

    DiamondDollsCouture said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria said 6 years ago

    Great ideas to dress up a package!

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 6 years ago

    That's great. Thanks for these tips.

  • chyrls

    chyrls said 6 years ago

    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

  • artbycarrie10

    artbycarrie10 said 6 years ago

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

  • artbycarrie10

    artbycarrie10 said 6 years ago

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

  • VerreDesign

    VerreDesign said 6 years ago

    Awesome ideas!! Thanks:)

  • Chandeluse

    Chandeluse said 6 years ago

    Easy and fun idea. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Yvonne4eyes

    Yvonne4eyes said 6 years ago

    I must try this...great article!

  • pineappleaisle

    pineappleaisle said 6 years ago

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

  • frenchtoastfriday

    frenchtoastfriday said 6 years ago

    Nice packaging makes me happy!

  • felicitycrew

    felicitycrew said 6 years ago

    Such a cute idea!

  • EvenAndy

    EvenAndy said 6 years ago

    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:)

  • minthome

    minthome said 6 years ago

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

  • huiyitan

    huiyitan said 6 years ago

    very creative, thank u for sharing!

  • owlbot

    owlbot said 6 years ago

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

  • GomiConstruction

    GomiConstruction said 6 years ago

    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!

  • wansoowen

    wansoowen said 6 years ago

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

  • Jordannajoy

    Jordannajoy said 6 years ago


  • RobotsAreAwesome

    RobotsAreAwesome said 6 years ago

    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.

  • ScotlandUK

    ScotlandUK said 6 years ago

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

  • lemonring

    lemonring said 6 years ago

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

  • CrazyAngelArt

    CrazyAngelArt said 6 years ago

    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.

  • hoopdreamz

    hoopdreamz said 6 years ago

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

  • xoazuree

    xoazuree said 6 years ago

    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!

  • sistersilver

    sistersilver said 5 years ago

    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.

  • chriskoskidesigns

    chriskoskidesigns said 5 years ago

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

  • everydaysaholiday

    everydaysaholiday said 4 years ago

    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!

  • TheRobinsTree

    Robin from TheRobinsTree said 4 years ago

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

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