Wrap your Gifts in the Scent of Herbs

Spice up this season's gift-wrap projects with this easy-peasy one-of-a-kind herbal decor.

| December/January 2006

Sometimes the presentation makes the present. Even humble gifts can seem like a treasure when they’re wrapped with affection, verve and attention to detail. With a little assistance right off the spice rack, you can add a natural, artistic look to your wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, while offering the recipient aromatic, sensual pleasure. Create elaborate designs or simply add a cinnamon stick or two — either way is sure to please.

Adhering Whole Spices

A simple way to add an herbal flair to your gifts is to attach whole spices to the outside of the wrapped gift. Not only do whole spices look great, their scent just says “holidays.”

Once you’ve wrapped your gift, select your favorite decorative spices and either glue them directly to the wrapping or, for longer-lasting beauty, tie or glue them to the ribbon of your package. White, water-based glues, such as Elmer’s, won’t work well for this project. They take too long to dry and will wrinkle your gift wrap as  the glue sets. Choose a low-temperature or “cool melt” glue gun with plenty of glue sticks for speed, accuracy and less mess.

The benefit of adding whole spices is that it can be done at the last minute to personalize gifts. Most likely, your herbal accents still will end up getting thrown out with the other wrapping debris. For a longer-lasting herbal decoration, try making the simple “Spice Ornaments” on Page 26 that double as tree ornaments once the package has been unwrapped.

Framed Floating Spices

Adding a floating frame around whole spices and attaching them to the front of a plain gift bag, or even to the top of a gift, adds intrigue and style. (See photos at right.)

1 piece framing paper (such as colorful wrapping paper), 5 by 7 inches*
1 piece corrugated cardboard, 5 by 7 inches*
Glue stick or double-sided tape
Sharp knife, such as a utility or exacto knife
Cutting surface, such as a cutting mat or board
1 piece background paper (choose a subtle solid), 5 by 7 inches*  
Whole herbs and spices, such as cinnamon sticks, star anise and allspice
Low-temperature glue gun with extra glue sticks
Gift bag (or wrapped package)
*Cut materials smaller or larger depending on the size of your gift bag or wrapped package.

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