Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Do you know where this post’s title is from? Let me set the scene…beautiful rolling hills of Salzberg, Austria; a widowed father of seven children; a convent indecisive about the future of a free-spirited nun by the name of Sister Maria…did you get it? It is from, of course, the Sound of Music!!

Upon becoming the governess for the Von Trapp children, Frauline Maria is faced with disciplining and caring for the seven children. As she learns to be a part of their family, she teaches the children to sing, dance, sew and become well-rounded individuals.

At one point in the film she sings “brown paper packages tied up with string” are one of her favourite things. I couldn’t agree more with you Maria!

Let me just say, there is really (in my opinion) no better or versatile craft material than a piece of brown paper! You may beg to differ but just think of how much you can do with brown paper! Did you know that it also goes by the names Postal paper or Kraft paper in some parts of the world?

During World War 2, as packaging was scarce, brown paper and string served many purposes. For example, it would have been used in place of carrier bags – a trend that is continued in many corners of the world to this day. Or used for fashioning a make-shift envelope to send those all-important message to loved ones.

This environmentally friendly material was also widely used by families, who sent care packages to their loved ones serving in the armed forces. I can only imagine the emotions of those receiving the brown paper packages – These would include anything from small treats, home comforts, photographs to letters with news from home.

Away from the combat regions young children, who had been evacuated to the countryside, would wait eagerly for brown paper packages with the hope of news and treats from their parents.

World War times were, by no means, the very beginning of the use of brown paper as a wrapping material. For many years before, and certainly in the modern times, brown parcel paper is widely used. Nowadays, we even see high street retailers opting for brown paper bags as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic carrier bags.

Here we are in 2019 and brown paper is used for wrapping gifts too. Not because we have run out of alternatives…but because of the homely feel it gives to the wrapped gift. One of the reasons why I love brown paper so much is because it provides a clean base to accessorise a gift however you want! There’s no need to think about your accessories clashing with a pattern on the gift wrapping paper when you use brown paper as your base.

Check out some of these presents where I’ve used brown paper for wrapping gifts:

In this one (A graduation present), the brown paper created the perfect canvas for me to play around with different coloured and patterned ribbons.


Using patterned wrapping paper to add a splash of colour to a birthday present. Here, I have used a silver ribbon to bring out the silver tones in the wrapping paper.

Some ‘thank you’ gifts for former colleagues of mine. I used brown paper and some paper twine to give it a simple yet authentic vibe. These gents highly appreciated the olden-day vibes and the clean folds of the brown paper. They were far more interested in what was within – a grow-your-own crystal set and a book of Chemistry puzzles and a book about Growth Mindset – to admire the wrapping for too long!

Another one where I played around with patterned paper and some twine. This was created for a lovely young lady’s birthday. In hindsight, a brighter patterned paper would have made for better aesthetics


Another one using a mixture of double satin ribbon and curling ribbon – this one took a little patience to create this curling ribbon flower