Tuesday, 15 October 2013

DIY Birch branch packaging from cereal boxes

Handmade Holidays - another packaging upcycle...

I like to get as many things as possible ready in advance once the holiday season approaches.  I like to wrap gifts early to get them out of my closet, BUT, I don't like having them under the tree early as I think it puts too much emphasis on the gifts, and over stimulates children.  I think I have come up with a solution:
These faux birch branches can go out early, as part of the decorations, and I am the only one who will know they are stuffed with little gifts.  They are pretty easy to make, too:

You will need:  cereal boxes (one box makes one branch, but 2 boxes makes 3 branches)
                        a tube to wrap the cardboard around - the "shaper" (I used a tube of caulking)
                        a circle to trace that is larger than your tube (I used a mason jar lid) 
                        carpenter's glue
                        white paint, paint brush, brown markers (or black)
Note:  You can make a short, thick branch, or a longer thin branch depending on which way you wrap your cardboard...just keep it in mind when painting (to follow).

Cut your cereal box to the size you need to fit around the tube, making sure to leave enough space to overlap.  Using white craft paint, lightly brush on streaks to represent the paper-like birch bark.
 Continue layering on the paint until you have the look you like.

Loosely wrap the "bark" around your tube "shaper", run a bead of carpenter's glue along the edge and use rubber bands to secure it in place. Allow it to dry completely before pulling out your "shaper".
Add some birch markings to your "branch" using markers, pencil crayons, or paint.

Trace your "shaper" onto the cardboard and then trace a larger ring around it. Use a pencil, and mark it lightly so that it won't show when you are done (or mark it on the patterned side).  Here, I traced the caulking tube for the inner ring, and the mason jar lid for the outer ring.  Note: you want your cap to fit INSIDE your finished cardboard tube, so when cutting your notches, you want to go all the way inside the inner line.
Draw on the notches that you need to cut, as in the picture above.  If you are doing this with a child, I recommend marking the cutouts all the way around.  If you are doing it yourself, you can eyeball it.
Cut the notches.  I didn't go far enough here, so I had to go back and cut the slits a little longer, to go to the inside of the inner ring.

Draw the growth rings on the cap.  I made mine all wonky and freehand, but you could use a stencil or compass if you like.

Bend down all of your tabs, making sure to bend them far enough to fit inside your bark tube.

Run a bead of glue inside the tube, close enough to the edge that your tabs will reach.

Insert your cap and let it dry.

 Insert your little gift.

Glue the remaining cap on the other end.
Ta-LAAA!  A couple of little presents that will be camoflauged as decorations.  Sneaky sneaky.  I plan to do this with anything that will fit in the tubes...I would like a good little pile of them.  I might even leave some empty ones on top.

                          Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole 
                          Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
                          From the Farm Hop at Fresh Eggs Daily
                          Homemade Monday on Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity 


  1. sneaky.....but brilliant!!!

  2. Sneaky gift wrappers. I want to steal that idea. Gifts dressed up as doco objects. Don't mind if a few of them rattles. The thing about not putting emphasis on the gifts, I totally agree. Mind if I steal this idea?

    1. Absolutely MotherOwl. That's all the fun of sharing.

  3. Not only are they a great idea, they are beautiful in their own right. Fabulous idea.

  4. I thought that you were kidding because I really thought that those were branches!! They look so real so make sure you don't have them to close to the fire because a dad might put the presents in for kindling! That is a great craft idea for holiday gifts and entertainment to focus on giving instead of receiving :)

  5. Those look great, very realistic! Thanks for the idea!