How-To: Chevron Hand Painted Wrapping Paper, With Bonus Pie Chart

by jen on February 5, 2013

How to Make Chevron Wrapping Paper

During my unemployment, among the crafting projects I’ve managed to squeeze in in between bouts of debilitating fear/ennui has been making my own wrapping paper. Do not be fooled by the poorly lit collage above, however; below is a more accurate picture of my time spent jobless so far:

How I’m Spending My Unemployment

In any case, making this wrapping paper was super fun, although at some point your eyes will glaze over and you will curse my name. But shortly after that you’ll be done and have the prettiest wrapping paper ever!

What you’ll need:

  • A pencil (I used a mechanical one because otherwise you will have to be a sharpening machine)
  • Butcher or craft paper (I used brown paper; white would also be pretty)
  • Craft paint in various colors – I used Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Acrylic Craft Paint available at Michael’s.
  • Paint brush, not too big
  • Card stock to print out the stencil on
  • An exacto knife to cut out the stencil (or a box cutter; I could not find my exacto knife)
  • Download the stencil (I am including two versions, gif and jpeg because my printer printed the image out in different sizes depending on the file format (thanks, wacky printer!) and you can see which size you want:
                 [gif]   [jpg]

And here’s how:

1. Download the stencil pattern (see links above) by right-clicking those suckers and saving them somewhere.

2. Print the stencil (at 100% size) onto card stock or other paper thick enough to stand up to you penciling inside of it.

3. Cut out the black chevrons, using an exacto knife or other cutting implement, and then cut out the stencil from the paper using the black border around it.

4. Take your butcher/craft paper and lay it out on a table in the size you want. I did sheets as big as my dining room table. Then tape the edges of the paper to the table to keep it in place.

5. Pick a corner! You’re going to be stenciling down your paper from that corner. Place your stencil in the corner and trace the inside. It doesn’t matter which way you start, with the chevrons pointing up or down. After you’ve traced one, with your stencil still in the same direction (chevrons up/down), move your stencil below what you just traced, and put your stencil so that the top of the stencil is either touching or nearly touching the base of the last chevron you just stenciled. Repeat until the end of the row!

6. For your next row, you go back up to the same corner, and you reverse the direction of your stencil, lining the stencil up with the traced chevrons. Like, if you filled in one chevron and then the other, and filled in the little space in between, you could get a continuous line. Like this (see the arrow I drew):

Lining Up the Chevrons

Trace this row, and then repeat the process across the paper until you’ve traced across the whole paper.

7. Now it is time to decide on a color scheme and pattern! I started out with a really colorful one for Christmas:

Christmas Color Chevron Wrapping Paper

Then I tried a more subtle, three-color metallic scheme:

Metallic Chevron Wrapping Paper

And finally, I made an ombre with pinks, purples and a blue for baby shower wrapping paper:

Ombre Chevron Midway Through

The ombre I had to plan out, but even then I changed my mind halfway through and ended up with 1. silver, 2. pink, 3. pinky purple, 4. purple purple, 5. purple blue, repeat backwards (i.e., after the purple blue, then purple purple, pinky purple, pink, silver). Except for the silver, I mixed in some of Martha’s glitter acrylic paint as well to make the colors more translucent and sparkly.

8. Next, start painting in your pattern. The way to get the chevrons to look right is to paint in your color pattern offset by one. I didn’t do that for my Christmas pattern and it ended up with a weird stripe effect across that didn’t look great. So if in row one Color X is your first color, in row two, Color X should be your second color. You can see in the photo above of the ombre, once I figured out my color pattern, I painted all the pinky purples and silvers across using that rule.

9. Eventually, once you’re done painting, you’ll have something like this:

Ombre Chevron Wrapping Paper


Oof, writing the instructions out made it sound more complicated than it is. It is really not hard at all, just a little time consuming. I would say that one three feet by five feet sheet, which can wrap about three medium sized presents, took about 6 hours/8 episodes of Game of Thrones/3 evenings after work for a couple hours.

Not a tiny time commitment, but people are super wowed when you show up at an event with hand painted wrapping paper! You just have to find a way to tactfully point out that your masterpiece is handmade — otherwise people just think you’ve got excellent, on-trend taste!

p.s. This is the first time I have ever really written an illustrated how-to, so if you make your own paper, please comment or email me (jen (at) if I’ve left out any important steps, or something makes no sense. And, please email me a pic! Would be excited to see.


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