Jun 26

Embroidered Elephant Gift Box… and wall art.

I am a sucker for a beautifully wrapped present.

When someone gave my Granny a present she would always say (in a lovely southern accent) that it was just to beautiful and she couldn’t possibly open it. As a kid, that sounded absurd, why wouldn’t she want to open her present. Now, I understand. Amazing gift wrap makes a present so much more special. Besides, wrapping presents is sooo much fun!

On Monday, I told you about the chevron crochet baby blanket that I made for my friends pending little one. The chevron pattern was designed to match her grey and yellow nursery with chevrons and elephants. I wanted to wrap it up in packaging that also fit the theme. I was thinking about stamping grey and yellow elephants onto a simple white shirt box I had on hand.

Then I had an idea. An awesome idea – and a total experiment. What if the gift wrap was more than gift wrap? What if my friend could open her shower gift and still use gift wrap for something else? How awesome would that be? This is what I came up with. Pretty cute, huh?

embroidered elephant gift box

Since I am becoming a pro at embroidering on card stock, I thought I could make an elephant in negative space on a shirt box like the monograms that I shared a few weeks ago. Then (here is the awesome part) the elephant could decorate more than a gift box, it could have a second life as wall art, if I included instructions to cut it out and packaged it with a matching frame. Once it came to me, I got twitter-pated with the idea and had to start crafting immediately.

Here is how I made this embroidered gift box. I started with a vector image of an elephant that I downloaded for free here. I edited a little in illustrator to simplify the elephant and then made the outer line dashed. Here is my final pattern (download it here).elephant pattern

I printed out the pattern, taped it to the top of the box and poked a hole through every dot. After the holes were poked, I could see the elephant on the inside. I took the opportunity to draw a 8×10″ square on the inside with the elephant in the center. I used the lovely family that came in my frame as a template, drew around it, and added my simple instructions… Cut here.elephant cut here

Then I got my embroider on. I started by backstitching around the elephant. Don’t know how? Check out my post about embroidering on card stock

embroidered elephantTo add the stitching around the elephant, I just made random stitches, poking holes as I went. I made them pretty dense near the elephant, and then added some sparse stitches a little further away. It took a little time, but was pretty easy. I am seriously obsessed with this technique.

embroidered elephant box

To finish, I painted my simple frame with a couple coats of  grey acrylic paint. I put the rest of the frame and the blanket in the box and tied the frame to the top with some yellow ribbon. The frame showcased my embroidered elephant perfectly, not to mention hinting at the box’s dual use.

embroidered gift box

My embroidered elephant was a hit at the shower, even though the mama-to-be thought thought that there was a framed picture attached to the box, not just an empty frame. And I got many compliments on my creative prowess – enough to make me blush several times over. I can’t wait to see my embroidered elephant all framed up in the lil’ one’s nursery.

Have you ever done something out of the box with a box (or gift wrap)? Do you get twitter-pated about crafty ideas? I’d love to hear about it.


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This post was also linked up at Mum’s Make Lists’ Friday Baby Shower.


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  1. Melanie

    AMAZING!!! I am super inspired now..thanks! 🙂

    1. Laura

      I am so glad Melanie! I hope you turn that inspiration into some crafty goodness!

  2. Aniko@PlaceOfMyTaste

    Hey there!! This is just too cute!! I would love for you to come and link up at our TGIF party @ http://www.placeofmytaste.blogspot.com/2013/06/living-better-together-and-tgif-link.html

    Hope to see you there!

    1. Laura

      Glad you like it Aniko! and thank you for the invitation.

  3. Simsim

    This is such a good idea! I have been stitching cards for a few years now, but never thought to do a gift box!!! Thanks for the inspiration and the elephant pattern. He is lovely. xxxx

    1. Laura

      I hope you give it a try Simsim! I have really been enjoying embroidering on all sorts of things, it isn’t just for fabric and hoops anymore!

  4. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    This. is. brilliant! I love the idea of the gift box doubling as the gift! And that elephant is just darling. This actually makes me really want to learn how to embroider. Thanks, friend!

    1. Laura

      Thanks, Lauren! The only downside to the gift/gift wrap plan is that the mama-to-be didn’t really get it until I explained it to her – which put a kink in the baby shower fun. You should learn to embrider… I think that embroidering on box board or card stock is so much easier than embroidering on fabric. It is easy to pre-plan where your stitches go so that everything stays even. Also, you don’t have to monkey around with an embroidery hoop (which I can never get to hold my fabric still enough) cuz the box is already stiff.

  5. Kristy gd

    Oh My Goodness! This is amazing! I love it so much! I’ve been embroidering wedding cards in cardstock, but this is just, simply amazing. Thanks so much for shaing! Now… what can I add to my Christmas presents… 🙂

  6. claudia

    Have you ever tried on canvas, this same technique?

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