The Bait & Switch Wrapping Project

We are all getting heavy into gift wrapping season. Some of us love it, and some of us can do without it. I happen to be in the first camp – I get really into gift wrapping. I think every family needs at least one designated wrapper, someone who really digs it. In my family we had my father, and he taught me.

Last week, I went into the studio to show Rachael some out-of-the-box (no pun intended), gift wrapping projects. As often is the case, there wasn’t enough time to feature everything, so I ended up left with a few super cool ideas that I’d like to share.

In my family there has been for years, an unpacking gift conspiracy. It all started with my uncle Angel Luis, who would shake his gifts to hear how they rattled, hold them to his head, put them in front of a light (to see if he could look through the gift wrap). We, as kids, decided to take things one step further, and would unwrap the sides and peek at the label on the box, fold it and tape it up again so no one would know.

If you’ve got family like us, then you can see why I was out to find a way to wrap a gift, especially for one of those small but ridiculously expensive tech gifts everyone has on their lists (cell phones, digital cameras, ipods, etc.) that would resist detection.

I started with an ordinary VHS tape. Imagine your kid’s horror to discover that instead of the new iPod Nano he wants, you’re slipping him a classic VHS of Aladdin, his childhood favorite. Bwah ha ha!

5 small screws hold the tape together. Remove these with a small Phillips head screwdriver. Next, remove the guts of the tape, two large reels that come out super easily. What’s left? The perfect cavity for a small tech gift…

Remove the tech gift from the box it came in, coil the cords, and pop it into the VHS tape. Plug the two holes where the reels would normally be with black construction paper, put the tape back together, this time without the screws, and put the tape back into the case.

Now for the fun part – you can customize the cover. The one I made for Rachael is based on the cover of Goodfellas, because she’s got a thing for true crime movies and TV shows… I replaced, Joe Pecsi, Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro with Rachael, John and Isaboo, using Photoshop magic. Check out the results below:

I also made a version for more of a compilation gift. I plan to give my boyfriend’s family a copy of the Planet Earth series (if you haven’t seen it you should check it out, just amazing) but I wanted the gift to be more substantial, more than just a box of DVDs. So I found these decorative film tins online, a nice gift for any film buff, and pretty inexpensive. Double stick tape a DVD, or DVD set to the bottom of the tin, fill the remaining space with microwavable movie popcorn and movie candy, and give a movie night (or movie nights) in a box. This cover also allowed for some personalization. Though really for my boyfriend’s family, it was appearing on the show, so I taped on a photo of Isaboo to the top of the tin, and the gift was ready to give:

What are you guys giving as gifts for the holidays? Planning any bait and switch wrapping projects? Let me know all the thrills and spills!

Happy Holidays!

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Rachael Ray