Black and White Gift Wrapping Ideas

When we think of the concept of black and white, we may think of classic movies such as, It’s a wonderful Life, Casablanca and Brief Encounter.  We may think of impeccably dressed scenes in more recent movies, such as that of My Fair Lady at the races or of stunning and dramatic black and white architectural or fashion, photographic images. I am a huge lover of monochrome and wanted to share my Black and White Gift Wrapping Ideas.

Perhaps the classic little black dress pops into our mind?  May be, elegant, crisply contrasting fashions and geometric designs of the 1960s or iconic images of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s are what we think of?  Perhaps a black suit and a white wedding dress, pinstripes and spats or the black and ivory keys of a grand piano pop into our heads?  Or, possibly, a black bowler hat and a crisp, freshly printed broadsheet?

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Whatever we attach to the theme of black and white, it is usually viewed as sophisticated, elegant and classic in its appearance.  Using black and white within the world of giftwrapping, whether it is plain or patterned, with or without an injection of colourful contrast, plain and simple or high shine and embellished, the look we aim to achieve is one of tasteful and timeless distinction.

There is something about the crisp contrast of black and white and its use through history to make design statements in art, fashion and interior design that render monochrome a safe choice if ‘elegant’ is your ambition.  Here are a few of my tips and suggestions when wrapping with black and white.

My love of Monochrome

jane means in paris

Jane Means working in Paris top to toe in Monochrome

Inspiration can be taken from anywhere and everywhere.  It has been said that the way a woman dresses will influence the way she styles her home and what her general purchasing choices will be.  Well, I adore the simple elegance of monochrome and in Paris, recently, it was apparent that my love of black and white extends far beyond my wardrobe.  Utilising contrasting patterns, these gifts are simply and perfecty coordinated and look chic enough for any Parisienne boutique.

black white ribbon

 

Getting inspiration

Monochromatic design is everywhere, from my favourite sweets to fashion pages and perfect interiors.  My favourite liquorice sweets have inspired some of my most distinctive ribbon designs and the crispness of a freshly starched, pin-tucked shirt inspired this classic, masculine gift wrapping style, which utilizes the japaneze pleating style of paper folding.

black pleated gift

 

Great gifting for a guy…black paper with pleats – classic look

With repeated reference to my favourite sweets, because they are so deliciously wonderful, the inspired combination of black and white spots and stripes is one that I use over and over again, employing different wrapping techniques and adding the occasional signature colour.

dream bathroom

A dreamy bathroom with black walls and a chequered floor
Image courtesy of Pinterest

chairs

Love these chairs teamed with wood – Image courtesy of Pinterest

black white bags

Ribbon, Tags and Bags by Jane Means

Party bags

My black and white stripe gift/party bags match perfectly with my spotty ribbon and instantly evoke the chic sophistication of Dior or Chanel.

 

It may be merely packaging to some, but it is a statement about your consideration of the recipient and about your own creativity; about your attention to detail and about creating a temporary, aspirational image that must be taken apart to reach what lies inside.  The question is, what image do you wish to create?  The same gift, presented in varying degrees of thoughtfulness and sophistication, can leave very different memories with the recipient.  A sense of occasion and drama is sometimes the goal and attention to detail is necessary.

celebrity gift

 

A gift I did for Claudia Winkleman…’Strictly’ monochrome

The monochrome, harlequin check pattern is seen in bathroom tiling and on chessboards, on chef’s trousers and on the checkered flag of motor sport racing.  It has found its way into fashions, interior fabrics and also ribbons.  It is a very sharp, crisp and iconic piece of black and white design and I, for one, love it.  It injects a little fun into the black and white theme and, when placed against plain black, it stands out, dramatically.

luxury gift wrapping

 

Height of Luxury

Sometimes elegance is understated but, as with the little black dress, it can be dressed up or down, depending upon the occasion.  Sometimes a little gloss, glamour and sparkle are required.  This monochromatic delight has been created with a glossy, textured paper, a beautifully luxurious, two sided, monochrome ribbon and a lavishly jeweled embellishment.

 

It is every inch a black and white classic but, rather sadly, the only reminders of such works of art are the photographs taken and the memories they leave behind.  Giftwrapping is the art of inspiring excitement about what lies within and about telling the recipient that, whatever lies inside, it has been given with the greatest of thought, care and attention.

 

black white dior

Classic Gift Wrapping I did for Dior

Nothing but the best from Dior and these pristine gifts appear to be perfectly pressed dress shirts with individually monogramed, precision tied, black bows.  Elegance and sophistication prevails.  Architecturally accurate in their folded construction, they are perfect for him and ideal for her.

lassic look

Monochrome look book

There is a smart, reassuringly formal look to something white that is edged with black or that is black, highlighted with white.  It is easy to place emphasis on shape and draw the eye to where you wish it to go.  The white may have tones of cream or pale shades of grey but the overall effect is one of smartness.  It can be a very masculine look but, with accessories and embellishments, it is also very feminine.  Monochrome is one of the most versatile styling combinations in all areas of design.

black wedding favours

Wedding favours in black

Simple, smartly wrapped, monochromatic wedding favours cannot fail to hit the required mark of elegance but there is always the option of injecting the element of contrast with an embellishment of a single colour.  Perhaps add a gift tag in the colour of the bridesmaid’s dresses or a jewel colour of deep purple, or emerald green or a rich shade of red.

 

personalised paper

Personalise your own paper

The crispness of news print, combined with the softness of a floral styled embellishment offers a less formal monochromatic presentation.  But to ensure the perfect news content of your broadsheet, why not create your own typed sheet of newsprint?  Only one repeated word may be adequate or, perhaps a phrase or two?  You may wish to add a photograph or two to your newsprint?  Black and white, obviously…

antique look

We’ve always loved Classic Black and White and have even dedicated a Pinterest Page to it

All my blogs are personal but this one really talks about something that I have a particular passion for.  I have adored monochrome design for as long as I can remember and even have a Pinterest page dedicated to collecting all things monochromatically inspiring.  I love its elegance, its versatility and its timeless, classic impact.

I have said that 2017 is my year of colour but there is always room for monochrome.  Black and white also look great when they are punctuated by an injection of a single, vivid, contrasting colour.

My new wrapping paper for Christmas just hits the spot x

Wrap by Jane Means 

 

 

 

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Great Gift Wrapping Ideas for Father’s Day

I’m often asked about Gift Wrapping for the men in our life. Should you include ribbon, tie a bow and are there any colours or themes that should be followed? So read on about ‘Great gift wrapping ideas for Father’s Day’

Vintage Grey Ribbon by Jane Means

Whether you are wrapping for a Father, a loved one, husband or friend, the gents in our life also appreciate good presentation and many love those extra embellishments and thought that has gone in to the gift giving process. If you’re giving a tricky shape and have no idea how to wrap it, you could always hide it in the shed or garage and present the key tied with ribbon

Moustache Paper by dotcomgiftshop
Marble paper by Rossi
Brown Ribbon by Jane Means

For me, the main thing is thinking about the person you are giving the gift to. Are they a keen gardener, do they like wine, Is there a favourite country they like to visit or do they enjoy dealing on the stockmarket?  All of these traits can be catered for and adapted to the recipients personality

Often on my gift wrapping courses, I hear stories of gifts being wrapped in newspaper by the amateur gift givers in our family. Some of my own wrapping has included newspapers and magazines. In this project I’ve included some petit pleats and you could add some rich grosgrain ribbon if you wish.

Even if you’ve left it to the last minute and have a limited amount of resources, you can get a dramatic look by doing some recycling. Here I’ve used some used brown paper and scrunched it in to a tight ball to give a consistent crinkled effect. Teamed with some raffia, sticks and feathers this is the perfect theme for a Country gent

Another great theme is the classic understated look. This small gift has been wrapped in some Charcoal colour art paper and finished with a classic black edged grosgrain ribbon

Marbled Paper by Rossi
Twine by Clifton Nurseries
Tag by Jane Means with Calligraphy by Judy Broad

And if Dad is really not in to Ribbon… well fear not you can experiment with some coloured Twine and tie in a heartfelt tag.

And if you really are struggling to buy something for Dad, have a think of his favourite tipple, maybe buy a DVD of his birth year, or treat him to a trip out fishing, golfing or visiting a favourite landmark (dads often value time with their children more than gifts themselves)

Although Fathers Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide, many countries observe this day on the third Sunday in June

Happy Gifting folks!

 

 

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International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures

After 20 years in the business, I’m now finding myself travelling the globe sharing my knowledge and decided it was time to write my latest post ‘International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures’. My in laws live in Japan, my second home is in Singapore, plus I have Scottish ancestry and run courses in Glasgow and have American relatives, so I’m fascinated how to wrap presents differently to suit the different nationalities and cultures. With all of this and my courses in UK, Singapore and Australia, I’ve dedicated a section in my book ‘Giftwrapped’

I’m a firm believer that first impressions count and it’s what is on the inside that counts…we’ve all heard that saying ‘Packaging is everything’

There are obvious symbolic similarities between Chinese and Japanese theming but two beautiful and very different oriental giftwrapping styles can easily be created.  The similarities come in the use of lavishly embellished silk and symbols such as fans and chopsticks, together with their respective and beautifully illustrative, calligraphic characters. I also love to wrap items creatively and constrasting colours like Yellow and Red

Chinese styled giftwrapping.  The flag of China inspires the use of red and golden yellow, and stars are very much a symbol.  A gift wrapped in shiny, red paper or red, silk fabric, tied with a golden yellow silk, sash ribbon needs only the addition of chop sticks slotted into the bow and a gift tag in the shape of a large, yellow star to achieve the required look.  Add a carefully chosen and perfectly positioned Chinese symbol or two to your wrapping paper.  With a little practice and painted in black, these symbols will instantly define your oriental theme.

Red stitched ribbon by Jane Means

Japanese styled giftwrapping.  With its red circular sunburst design on a white background, the Japanese flag is a good source of inspiration.  With a focus on the traditional colours of red, black and white, embellishments of chop sticks or tassels and the use of painted, red, Japanese symbols onto white paper with red, silk ribbon, a very traditional, Japanese style can be created.

Reversible Gift Wrap by Jane Means
Image Courtesy of The General Co

In addition, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding is ideal to introduce to this theme.  Using origami to add embellishments of simple fans or more complex flowers will, no doubt, make your gift look very pretty.  Paper pleating is a Japanese technique, which looks rather stunning and will impress any recipient.  It is an interesting fact that, historically, an odd number of pleats on the gift was used for a happy occasion, whilst an even number of pleats would have meant the gift was intended for a sad occasion.

Image courtesy of The French Tangerine

American styled giftwrapping.  Well, it is hard to think of America and not think of stars and stripes and red, white and blue.  Any combination of these colours is a great place to start.  For example, red and white striped paper with a blue ribbon, blue paper with red and white striped ribbon (see my red and cream striped grosgrain ribbon) or a combination of contrasting blue paper with white paper, centrally separated by a red ribbon.  To add American stars, position white star stickers on the blue paper.

Tartan by Scotland Shop

Scottish style giftwrapping.  I have various tartan ribbon designs in my range and when they are used generously against navy blue, red, forest green or parcel wrapping paper and combined with embellishments of heather or thistles, the Scottish theme is clear.  Add celtic symbols in the form of brooches, trinkets or hand painted emblems on homemade gift tags to enhance the theme. Having Scottish ancestry I also love to use Tartan and Tweeds in my Gift wrapping projects.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Indian styled giftwrapping.  Famous for its vivid and spice-derived colours, India evokes thoughts of silk saris, bangles and opulent golden necklaces, lavishly embellished with precious stones.  The peacock, with its iridescent feathers, is the national bird of India and vivid blue, a rich green green and intense purple, the colours of the peacock, combined with embellishments of gold coloured chains,  pendants and varying textures of gold ribbon can form the strong basis of an Indian theme.  Brightly coloured layers of tissue paper offer the image of saris whilst tying in several golden bangles with a brightly coloured chiffon scarf adds to the embellishment of your gift.  Bright colours and opulence are the main features and the presence of a peackock feather, elephant charm or pendant or a handmade circular gift tag featuring the ‘Ashoka Shakra’, a 24-spoke blue wheel that appears on the Indian flag.

I am a huge fan of India. I have been several times and hope to run some future courses there.

Red Ribbon by Jane Means
Map Paper by Clifton Nurseries

Pick a country and try to capture the essence of its nature as you wrap your gift.  Perhaps the gift originates from that country or is to be given to a person from that location or to someone who is going to travel there soon…  Creating a personalised theme only serves to increase the meaning and quality of both the gift giving and receiving experience.

Jane Means is a Worldwide Gift Wrapping Consultant who works for Luxury Brands, Celebrities and Royalty

If you are stuck on what to give as a gift, check out Minding Manners who cover perfect Gift Giving on their brilliant etiquette workshops

Happy Wrapping

 

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10 inspirational gift wrapping ideas for Dads Birthday or Fathers Day

No matter how humble the gift, dads know it is the thought that counts and so I have put together a selection of gift wrapping ideas for Dads Birthday and Fathers Day , suitable for the wide range of dads out there.

ribbon key

 

Vintage Grey Ribbon by Jane Means

Why not inject a little humour and mystery into your dad’s day by neatly wrapping his very own garden shed key in a small box.  His real gift will be wrapped and hidden inside the shed but he will have to engage in a little treasure hunt to find it!  An ideal method for the gift of gardening gloves, DIY items or, perhaps, in the shed, you have hidden a batch of dad’s favourite homemade cookies, placed in a jar, perfectly tied with beautiful ribbon in dad’s favourite colour…

Fathers Day gift wrapping

 

Brown and Orange Ribbon by Jane Means

For the dad who loves being surrounded by nature, a natural look, with hints of the countryside can be easily achieved by using traditional, rustic-looking brown paper, always a favourite of mine, and accessorizing with budding twigs, feathers, herbs or wheat.  Using herbs will also give a wonderful country garden scent to your gift

wax seal gift wrapping

 

Wax Seal by Manuscript Company          Narrow Slate Grey Stitched Ribbon by Jane Means

Dads really appreciate presents that have a personalized or signature element to them and so, for the ‘city gent’ dad, what about using the Financial Times as wrapping paper, add a formal looking ribbon and complete your smart wrapping by adding a wax seal for a very sophisticated look.

Hamper gift wrapping

 

True, plants and contents from Clifton Nurseries

Who does not love to receive a hamper full of goodies?!  Make your dad feel special with a mini-hamper packed full of tempting treats and, perhaps, his favourite tipple.  In a simple rustic basket, wrapped with raffia or ribbon and, by tying in wooden cutlery, a napkin or a bottle opener, your dad may not have to leave his chair for many happy hours on Father’s Day!  Sitting on a ruffled bed of tissue paper, olive or preserve filled jars and bags of delicious fudge or chocolates can be tied with ribbon, whilst further specifically selected surprises lurk beneath, making dad feel pampered.

 

Rossi paper

 

Paper by Rossi

For many dads, cars are a favourite topic of conversation and this beautifully coloured and elegant ‘car design’ wrapping paper by Rossi is ideal to wrap a car enthusiast’s Father’s Day gift!  A wide black paper band wrapped around the box provides a road and the addition of a small car model, preferably dad’s favourite, adds the personal touch.  When in doubt, a red sports car usually does the trick!   A nice new bottle of car shampoo could be the perfect accompaniment to such packaging and would also provide dad with something to do too!

DaEnglish

Image Courtesy of DaWanda

There are lots of DIY enthusiasts out there and dads who prize their ever-increasing collection of tools would, no doubt, appreciate the time taken to create a personalized ribbon with tiny nuts and bolts attached.  Combined with brown wrapping paper and, with small wrenches, spanners or screwdrivers tied securely into the bow, the perfect gift inside would be a super-duper shiny new tool for dad’s collection

Randomly scattering and colour- copied, traditional playing cards can produce a very striking,  black, white and red design, which many poker, gin rummy and bridge playing dads alike would appreciate.   Matching with black and red ribbons and using a paper-backed playing card as a gift tag produces a personally themed and very attractive gift box.  The king of hearts might be a good card to ‘play’ as the gift tag for Father’s Day.

map gift wrapping

 

Petrol Blue Stitched Ribbon by Jane Means – Vintage Maps bought at Portobello Market, London

For the dad who travels with work or simply loves to travel, using old or photocopied maps for wrapping paper and gift tags produces a very personalized gift.  Choose a map featuring a country or city that is special to your dad and, for extra detail, select a ribbon bearing the colours of that country’s flag.  The map may bring back shared memories of a family holiday,  be of a place you know your dad longs to visit or, perhaps, the gift inside is evocative of that country’s culture…

The well-groomed dads, who love the feel of a crisp, white shirt and a good suit might like their Father’s Day present wrapped in glossy editorial pages, depicting smart, fashionable menswear.   Select a ribbon that compliments your improvised wrapping paper and replace the bow with a Windsor knot to add a ‘dad-approved’ smartness to the way his gift is ‘tied’!  If I may be so bold, ties of red, purple and shades of blue are considered to be the most positive colours to wear…

burgundy stitched ribbon by jane means

 

Burgundy Ribbon by Jane Means – Music Paper from Les Puces, Paris

If music is one of your dad’s greatest interests, then wrap the Father’s Day gift he will love in the music he loves.  Antique sheet music can be found in charity shops and at flea markets and may also be photocopied onto new paper of your own selection.  Small rolled up scrolls of music and a contrasting ribbon results in a most elegantly presented gift, which is personalized to your dad’s musical taste.

 

Alternatively, you could use plain or traditional brown paper and aesthetically position selected handwritten song lyrics onto the gift box after wrapping.  Black writing on cream paper and white writing on black paper are two of the many possible options.   Handwriting also adds another personal touch. Personally I love understated and classic Monochrome.

Black gift wrapping

 

Black and White Dotty Ribbon by Jane Means – Black paper by Paperchase

Gifts offered with thoughtful, creative and personal touches are, I believe, always the best ones, as they come straight from the heart, and Father’s Day or a special birthday is a perfect opportunity to show that it is not about the size of the gift but about the size of the heart that gives it.

Happy Wrapping!

 

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Join Jane Means and Kirstie Allsopp at The Handmade Christmas Fair Manchester

This month Jane Means will be sharing her Gift Wrapping Tips with Kirstie Allsopp live at The Handmade Christmas Fair at Manchester Central. The duo will be on stage in the Super Theatre on Saturday 21st November at 4pm.

Jane Means and Kirstie Allsopp

Jane will will be sharing stories about her career, talking about her plans to start courses in Asia and Australia and she will also be signing copies of her book ‘Giftwrapped’

GIFTWRAPPED COVER v9

As well as the demonstrations, expert talks and workshops, the fair is packed with handpicked exhibitors selling crafts, jewellery, haberdashery and gifts for Christmas.

We are giving away 2 tickets to the fair which takes place from 20th-22nd November, so head over to our Facebook page to enter.

The Handmade Christmas Fair

In September the team exhibited at the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court and had a great time. Jane did workshops for 300 people at a time, the largest number for her to teach ever!

Jane Means at The handmade Fair

 

 

It was great to see so many people on the stand, with many visitors travelling from as far as Melbourne and Jakarta!Jane Means Ribbons

 

We are now in the middle of our busy Christmas season doing our Christmas shows and Gift Wrapping Courses.  Jane has been filming Christmas commercials for WHSmith and has been busy behind the scenes with Kirstie, so make sure that you keep an eye on your TV screens at Christmas!

 

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