Who needs fancy expensive wrapping paper and bows when you have a garden of gorgeous herbs and flowers? Lend an extra-special touch to birthday gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, shower gifts and more by weaving your garden beauties into the wrapping. All you need is some plain-brown kraft paper, white tissue or freezer paper, and raffia or natural threads for a simple and sweet garden-inspired package.
Before you begin wrapping your gift, gather some equipment: Floral wire, paddle wire, green floral tape, a glue gun and a pair of scissors can help you create a beautiful bundle. Then all you need is a bit of creativity to make the package complete. Here are some gift-wrapping ideas to get you started.
1. Bouquet Garni
Wrap a cookbook with value-added packaging that includes your favorite recipe and the herbs that go with it.
Get the Look (pictured above): Start with a piece of brown kraft paper. Cut a piece of paper that will fit the book and trace around it, so you know how large the face of the package will be. Write a recipe. In the example pictured, I wrote out the chicken stock recipe from the book in continuous script so it would cover the entire package facing. Wrap the book with the paper. Tie a piece of butcher twine on the vertical and a 6-inch-wide piece of cheesecloth on the horizontal. Gather a bunch of parsley, thyme and bay leaves, and lay it on the center of the cheesecloth, tying the cloth to secure the herbs into a rustic bow.
2. Lavender Printing
Add color and perhaps some scent to your package by using herbs to color the wrapping paper.
Get the Look: Gather a few sprigs of herbs, plain wrapping paper and a hammer. Place the fresh sprigs on the paper in random order, cover with another piece of paper, and pound away with the hammer. Be sure to pound the entire herb to get an impression of all parts of the plant, including the stem and leaves. The color will bleed through to the top paper you are pounding, so it’s easy to tell. Lay the paper aside to dry for a few minutes before wrapping the gift.
3. Tussie Mussie
Spring flowers and herbs make a cheery delicate topper for a gift to mom or someone special.
Get the Look: Make a small bouquet of herbs and flowers. Wrap the stems with floral tape to completely cover the ends, so the cut flowers will stay fresh for a few hours. Make a cone using a heart-shaped doily and a little hot glue to hold it together. (Make a sturdier cone with two layers of doilies.) Glue the stems into the cone with the glue gun, then glue the doily cone onto the package. Fill in the top of the cone with a small piece of moss.
4. Herbs and String
This quick, simple techniques makes for an artsy and fragrant last-minute embellishment.
Get the Look: Wrap your box with brown kraft paper and glue an inexpensive woven placemat on the front and back of the package. Crisscross the box with hemp thread, pulling it taut, as it will hold the herbs. Gather the threads that cross in the center and tie a knot. Finally, trim the fresh herb stems and tuck them under the threads.
5. Rosemary Bow
Do away with wasteful ribbon bows and top your packages with fragrant herbs that can be used later.
Get the Look: Cut five to seven sprigs of rosemary about 8 inches long. Gather the ends and wrap with paddle wire. Bend down the other ends to form loops, and wire these into the bundle of ends. Press out the loops to resemble a bow, and tie onto the package with green raffia.
6. Herb Wreath on Stamped Paper
This is a wonderful package topper that will dry and provide a small wreath to hang on the wall.
Get the Look: Print freezer paper or any plain paper with the design of your choice. I had fun herb stamps and a green ink pad, which seemed appropriate. To make the wreath, take a piece of 18-gauge floral wire or the wire from clothes hanger and shape it into a small heart or round wreath. Cut fresh herb sprigs (thyme or rosemary work best) into 2- to 3-inch lengths and attach them onto the form with paddle wire. Wrap the package with three rounds of green raffia and tie the wreath at the top.
7. Herb Honey
Herb-infused honey is a treat to use and simple to make. When the gift is as pretty as this, there’s no need to even wrap it.
Get the Look: Place fresh or dry herbs in a jar and cover with honey. (If using fresh herbs, be sure there is no moisture on them.) Let steep for one to three weeks in a sunny location, turning the jar over every few days to distribute the herb. Honey infused with mint, lemon balm and lavender is delicious in teas or drizzled over fruit. When steeped with savory herbs, like thyme or rosemary, you can add the honey to vinaigrettes or sauces. I like to mix equal parts thyme honey and grainy mustard and spread over chicken before roasting.
The process of making a decorative lid is simplified by using a canning-jar lid. Press a sprig of herbs to match the honey under a heavy book for a couple days. I used my computer to print out the label on parchment paper, but good calligraphy always comes in handy for this. Arrange the herb around the name and secure it with clear, matte-finish contact paper. Press firmly to make sure it sticks to the herb and the paper. Cut out the circle and lay it on the canning jar lid. Secure the lid on the jar with the rim.
8. Herb Tea
Need to wrap a pretty cup and saucer? Why cover it up when you can plant an herb that will provide the tea?
Get the Look: Find starter plants at the farmers market, or dig up a small plant from your own garden. Of course it can’t stay in the cup for long, but it’s a much prettier gift than a plastic pot. Choose herbs that make delicious tea, such as mint, chamomile, bee balm or lemon balm.
This is just a start of wonderful herbal floral gift packaging ideas. Take a walk around your garden and you’ll be inspired to decorate a plain-Jane package into something the recipient will admire and talk about for days.
About the Author: Patricia Lehnhardt is a cook, artisan and writer in Galena, Ill., who focuses on all things natural.