Want to give gifts with great present-ation? Dress them up with these simple do-it-yourself ideas.
Clear the air
For a presentation that's as kitschy as it is fragrant, arrange a variety of tree-shaped air fresheners ($1.19 each at Snappy Convenience Center, 1750 N Western Ave, 773-486-4735) and photocopy them onto legal-size paper. Tie it all together by using one of the fresheners as a gift tag.
Button it up
Everyone knows that good things come in small packages, but a little box tends to get lost next to the big boys under the tree. If you want your tiny treat to stand out, cover the top and sides with assorted buttons from any craft store. Layer the buttons (big on the bottom, small on top) and secure them with dots of hot glue or craft glue. For a few pennies more, you can buy gold accent buttons and group them together for an eye-catching bow.
Get into the groove
Vinyl purists will go into a spin over this decorative presentation, which is sturdy enough to keep past the gift swap is over. Separate an LP cover into front and back pieces. On the back side of the front cover, draw straight lines 2.5 inches in from each side. Repeat with the back cover, but measure in 2.75 inches. You will now have drawn a square in each corner (cut into one of the lines in each corner to create a tab). Fold the covers along the lines you've drawn, and fold the tabs inward to shape the tops and bottoms of the boxes. Glue inside the tabs, clamp two clothespins on each of the corners and let dry overnight.
Wear it out
Giving a vintage tee as a gift is so 2004, so why not wrap your gift in it instead? Pick up a thrift-store tee and secure it to a medium-size box with double-sided tape. Make sure the shirt fits all the way around the box and that the sleeves are long enough to cover the sides. Forego a bow, and clip on a cluster of retro pins instead ($2 each at Beyond the Wall, 935 W Belmont Ave, 773-871-5827).
Read all over
Glossy monthlies are good for more than leafing through on holiday layovers: The pages of fancy fashion and design magazines can make for quite a package. Rip out an appealing color palette (visible text adds a nice accent), and tape the pages together at the edges. Four to six pages from large-format mags, like W ($4.50, newsstands), should suffice for covering medium-size gifts. For sheen, double-up with clear gift wrap ($2.59, Cost Plus, 1626 N Sheffield Ave, 312-587-8037), and garnish with a wide ribbon.
Strip it down
It's easy to turn celluloid souvenirs into gift wrap that'll make your friends smile. If you don't have photo-booth strips lying around, visit www.photobooth.net to track down a machine. Photocopy the photographs onto legal-size paper. To create the ribbon, you'll need a 48-exposure roll of film (about $4 at drugstores). Wrap the film around the box vertically, then secure it with tape. Repeat the process horizontally. Make the bow by stapling loops of film together and topping it with the film canister's lid.