I’ve always thought it was kind of disappointing to carefully choose or make a gift for someone, then pack it in an off-the-rack sort of gift bag. But I do love gift bags, they’re so nice for wrapping wonky things like jars of food, and such good protection for lofty hand knits. For this ombre gift wrap project I started with some gift bags that were just about as generic as they come – plain kraft paper. With just a few minutes of painting they became beautifully sparkly, and just as thoughtful as what’s inside of them.
– spray paint
– drop cloth/plastic sheet/cardboard/other surface protector
– plain gift bags
– plain sheets of large paper (I used white construction paper)
– dust mask or other breathing protection
– safety glasses
– plastic gloves
I used the two spray paints shown – one is a metallic gold and other a satin finish in a navy color. You probably can’t find those exact paints anymore, it seems like the manufacturers switch out colors and labels all the time. Most home improvement stores have a magical selection of colors, finishes, and special effect paints so you’ll probably have a lot of great things to choose from.
Make sure to be in a well ventilated area when you are using spray paint and read the cans for any specific instructions. I know it can be tempting to skip the safety gear, but your best case is probably some gross congestion caused by inhaling the paint, and worse case is in the severe illness/death range. This is especially true of the fancy finishes, it takes some serious chemistry to make a paint that’s reflective gold. A little protection can go a long way toward keeping you healthy so it’s definitely worth the effort.
Lay out your surface protection. Start out with a flat sheet of paper to practice your technique. I thought these sheets were going to be just scrap, but they turned out so pretty that I used them as gift wrap, too.
Your best effect will probably come from spraying about 12 inches / 30 centimeters from the surface. Start moving your arm on the line you want to paint before depressing the nozzle, this way you won’t have an obvious start point. Starting off the edge also helps. Keep moving as you release the nozzle, too.
This is a close-up of the edge of the spray paint line. It just naturally created that beautiful speckle fade. The dark areas are paint that isn’t dry yet.
I experimented with laying down and standing up my bags, neither seemed to be substantially better with my paint but your paint might be different. This bag I painted about 2/3 of the way up with the blue.
This is what it looked like when I added the gold before the blue was really, really dry. A cool effect, but not was I was after today.
I also had nice results from painting diagonal stripes as shown.
The gold wanted to run, but if I let it dry and then added a second coat to the gold area it looked really nice.
These were a couple of my practice sheets – more than pretty enough to wrap some boxes with!
That’s it, this project is about as easy as it gets, and it turns out so nice!