French fashion-inspired gift wrapping ideas that are budget friendly but look luxe

DIY ribbon and wrap to make your prezzies look like they stepped out of a fashion mag.

DIY ribbon and wrap to make your prezzies look like they stepped out of a fashion mag

(All photography by Autumn Hachey)

I love decorating for the holidays because seasonal decor gives us so much (extra) opportunity to get weird. With winter holidays, we're only decorating for a few short months — so nothing is permanent. For anyone who is afraid to take risks with their decor, the holidays are the perfect time to experiment and shake things up! It's a chance to think outside the box, play with different palettes, try new and wonderful decor ideas (like giant feathery wreaths)... and just have fun. Holiday decorating has changed so much over the years and traditional palettes are no longer a necessity. I would tell you to break the rules of holiday decorating, but there are none. Anything is fair game… even pink glitter and leopard ribbon. More on that in a second ;)

The time has come once again to deck the halls and trim the trees. While I love coming up with creative gift ideas for my friends and family, I equally enjoy putting a little extra love into my gift wrapping. There's just something so special about presenting a nicely wrapped present, especially when it's thoughtful and handmade. Inspired by the French clothing brand Sézane, I wanted to take my Christmas decor down a more unconventional route this year (think leopard print, punches of peachy pink, and polka dots). After a trip to the Mokabu ribbon shop on Queen Street in Toronto — all my velvety holiday wrapping dreams were coming true. I searched the city high and low for brown polka dot wrapping paper (and peachy pink paper) — but found no viable options… so I took matters into my own hands, and made my own!

Below, I'm sharing a tutorial on how I created this dreamy cluster of gifts on a major budget.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Plain boxes (you can also purchase patterned boxes from the dollar store, as we're going to cover them up anyhow)
  • Pencil
  • Circle stencil for polka dots (I used a bottle opener)
  • Brown + red acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • A variety of ribbons (I chose velvet ribbon!)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint
  • Sparkly wrapping paper
  • Plain gold wrapping paper
  • Tape

Here's how to do it:

1. Start by gathering all your boxes — you can use anything you like. I picked up a few boxes in different shapes from the dollar store and I grabbed a plain white box from Michaels. For the polka dot gift box — start by stenciling in where you'd like your polka dots to appear using a pencil. You can trace anything lying around the house in your desired circle shape. I used a bottle opener.

2. After you've mapped out your dots, carefully hand paint them in. These dots took about three coats. When I experimented with this DIY I found hand painting onto the box was easier than stamping onto paper. The white wrapping papers I found weren't very opaque so you could often see the gift underneath the paper. If you do find a wrapping paper you like, another option to create the polka dot pattern would be to make a potato stamp.

3. Add a bow in your desired ribbon. I went with leopard print ribbon, but you can use whatever your heart desires. In this cluster I've created two types of bows. For the leopard bow, simply tie your ribbon into a bow and cut the edges on an angle. Wrap an additional piece around the centre and glue into place. For the bows on the other boxes, cut one piece of ribbon and fold to glue closed so it forms a loop. Wrap an additional piece of ribbon around the centre of the bow. To add "tails", cut two equal length pieces of ribbon and glue them into a V shape on the back of your bow.

4. The pink boxes were quick dollar store boxes sprayed with pink spray paint.

5. To make your gift styling most interesting, mix a variety of different colours and textures of wrapping paper together, within your general palette. Adding different coloured bows makes the gifts unique and if you can mix in different shapes (like the cylindrical box) that also adds a lot of dimension and makes it fun.

Autumn is an interior decorator & stylist, and the owner of Make Moves Vintage, a badass vintage shop based in Toronto, Canada. Follow along on Instagram and say hey!


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.