It’s a wrap

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Painting Christmas wrapping paper was among her first crafting adventures.

She had so much fun painting wrapping paper she didn't want to quit.

She had so much fun painting wrapping paper she didn’t want to quit.

For years and years, my daughters made home-made wrapping paper at Christmas. I think we started the tradition when Oldest Daughter was about two years old. I sent Sweet Hubby to the store to buy some white wrapping paper and he came back with an entire roll of butcher paper. It took us several Christmases of homemade wrapping paper to use that huge roll. After it was gone, we would go down to the local newspaper and buy end rolls of newsprint. Kids of all ages love to paint.

The first few years, I’d mix a recycled margarine tub of red tempera paint and green tempera paint. We would roll out two or three a long rolls of paper on the driveway. Then I’d dress the girls in raggedy clothes, and then hand them both a sponge brush and a bowl of paint and tell them to go for it. Lots of smiles!

On my roll of paper I’d try to paint patterns of Christmas trees and holly and even circles and squares and stars. In the early years, the girls just painted big splotches of color. As they got older, we added silver and gold tempera paint to the mix, as well as sponges cut out in holiday shapes. One year I remember we even used cookie cutters as shapes. Another year I carved shapes out of potatoes.

Before you paint, make sure there’s ample time for it to dry. The paint will dry all chalky if it is applied too thick, which is what little kids do every time. But it’s all usable. After it is good and dry you roll it up into roll, the painting on the outside.

Then, since you saved so much money on wrapping paper, you go out and buy really nice ribbon to adorn your homemade paper. Some years I’d tie up bows made of red and green raffia. Other years, especially after we added the silver and gold paint, we’d use wired silver and gold ribbon. Another year, we painted on brown craft paper and used hemp rope as ribbon and hot glued huge silk poinsettias on each package.

I think it was the junior high years when we stopped making our own paper. Anyway, last week I was on the Square and saw that the newspaper was selling end rolls of newsprint. Yep, the light bulb went off. I had a ball making my own wrapping paper, alone, savoring the memories of when our two little girls couldn’t wait for Christmastime.

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