Hand Printed Wrapping Paper

Hand Printed Wrapping Paper

Add a personalized touch to that special gift! This tutorial for hand-printed wrapping paper uses block printing to create a repeated element on brown builder’s paper. Create your design on an easily carvable block (or half potato!), then choose your ink colors for the printed pattern.


  • Brown Builder’s Paper
  • E-Z-Cut Printing Blocks
  • Speedball Linoleum Cutter
  • Block Printing Ink (Assorted Colors)
  • Pen
  • Bench Hook or Paper Plate
  • Brayer

Step 1: Use a pen or pencil to draw a design on the E-Z-Cut block. For inspiration, you can search holiday images online. 

Step 2: Begin carving the block. Start with a fine-tip carving tool and cut along the outline of the design. 

Step 3: Next, remove the background with a broader tipped tool. All the raised areas that remain will be printed. 

Step 4: Squeeze a small amount of ink onto a paper plate or bench hook. Roll the brayer through the ink. There should be a tacky sound as it moves. If it glides smoothly, there is too much ink. To fix this, roll the brayer on an inkless paper plate. 

Step 5: Lightly roll the ink-filled brayer onto the carved block, fully coating the design. 

Step 6: Carefully flip the block, ink-side down, onto the paper. Gently, but firmly, press down to transfer the ink. 

Step 7: Continue to ink and print until the desired pattern is achieved. Rinse the brayer and block under running water before switching colors. 

Step 8: Once the paper is dry, wrap a present! 

Ideas to take your hand-printed wrapping paper to the next level:

  • Frame a small portion of the wrapping paper and hang it on the wall as an art piece. 
  • Use the same technique using fabric ink and fabric to create furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Learn more about it with this Waste 4 Change article.
  • Create a folded card or gift tag with the print design to complete the look. 

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. In 1917, Joyce and Rollie Hall accidentally invented what we now know as wrapping paper. Learn how this happened by reading these articles from The Atlantic and NPR

2. Practicing the art of block printing keeps an artmaking tradition alive! Sara Barnes, Staff Editor at My Modern Met, touches on the importance and history of this art form in her article, How Can You Keep the Long Tradition of Block Printing Alive Today? 

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

PNC Bank Banner