This handmade gift wrap gets its bold color from a pantry staple — food coloring. Create a rainbow of colorful gift wraps this holiday season with a simple fold-and-dip technique.


Head to the pantry for this stunning handmade Christmas gift wrap. Plain white tissue paper becomes a kaleidescope of hues thanks to food coloring. Simply fold, dip, and dry. This colorful gift wrap doesn't need bows or ribbon to wow. 

watercolor present wrapping

What You'll Need

  • Uncoated white or ivory tissue paper sheets
  • Gloves 
  • Food coloring (1–2 oz. of each color)
  • Small bowls 
  • Paper towels
  • Iron

Step 1: Fold the Paper

Fold tissue paper sheet into even accordion pleats, then into triangles or squares. Be creative with folding. Each way you fold will produce a unique pattern when the tissue paper is dyed.

Step 2: Dip

watercolor napkin

Wearing gloves, squeeze each food coloring into a separate bowl. Dip a corner or edge into it. Pinch tightly to stop color from bleeding. Blot with paper towels. Repeat with different colors until you achieve the look you want.

Step 3: Dry and Iron

watercolor napkin unfolded

Carefully unfold, lay between two dry sheets of tissue paper, and press with warm iron.

wrapping paper

Comments (1)

November 9, 2018
I got these instructions from a BH&G magazine article in December 1975! We have been making this ever since and shared it many, many times. We also dip the folded paper in water and blot (a lot!) before dipping in the food color, the colors will bleed and blend with a more pastel effect. Don't forget that when using more than one color on a corner you dip the lighter color first. We have found that using lots of newspaper sheets also works very well to blot and iron the tissue, with no transfer of newsprint. My most craft-challenged friends have had great success with this method of dying paper. You really can't make a mistake! Also, we do this year round with other colors for birthdays, etc. I'm so happy to see this come up again after all these years, and I encourage you to try it. It's a great way to have a craft day with family and friends.