Tips to prettify your swap items.
Let’s be honest – everyone loves nice packaging. A flash of color, a homespun touch, a unique accent, and a beautiful presentation make an item stand out against the rest. Food swaps are no exception! Cleverly and beautifully packaging your items at a food swap is a fun opportunity to let your creative side shine. While it certainly isn’t necessary or mandatory to get “fancy”, it can definitely make your item more eye-catching. For example, a bit of red gingham fabric atop your jars of raspberry jam more noticeable to a potential bidder (a fact to which one gingham-loving, raspberry jam-making swapper from May’s swap will certainly agree).
Want examples? I was charmed like crazy by the labels on these jars at our first food swap back in March (you can print your own here). The thoughtful presentation really drew me in and made me want to try the product.
At the last swap, these cork-topped glass bottles and hand-stamped tags made my heart swoon, as did the awesomely robust infused oil inside!
Here are some simple (and affordable) ideas for making your swap items stand out:
- Cut circles from decorative papers the same size as the lid of your two-piece canning jar. Place the paper on the lid, then screw the band over the top. Cute and simple!
- Cut squares or circles from cute fabrics, parchment, or decorative papers (this is a great way to use up scraps). Make the material 1-2 inches larger than the top of your jar on all sides. Place the material on the lid, then screw the band over the top – done! Or, for a different look, place fabric over the lid and the ring and secure with a string like this.
- Purchase adhesive labels (mailing labels in various sizes work well) and use them to label anything and everything. Run them through your printer, or if you’re feeling crafty, hand illustrate them or stamp them. Use to label your goods!
- Create hang-tag style labels from any kind of paper you have lying around. Hand-illustrate or use stamps to make them charming, then attach to your items whatever way you see fit!
- Look for cute label templates online, such as these cute labels from Homegrown.org or some from this collection. Print, fill in, affix, and you’re good to go!
- Use ribbon, hemp, jute, yarn, curling ribbon, or cotton string to tie the tops of bags or pouches, tie bundles of herbs or greens, or tie anything that needs tying. This takes only seconds to do, and looks adorable.
- Wrap loaves of bread in unbleached parchment and tie with string. You’ll look like you just breezed in from France.
- Use cute glass jars or bottles for infused oils or vinegars, jams, jellies, sauces, or the like. Find cute jars and bottles at thrift stores, rummage sales, or your grandma’s basement, or save them from consumed food items in your own house. If you want to purchase them new, various kitchen stores, hardware stores, craft stores, and online retailers have wide selections of bottles and jars. If you buy an entire flat of jars/bottles, the price may be cheaper than if you buy just one or two.
- Try using natural paper, parchment, or wax paper to wrap items. Not only does this give a totally eco-chic look, it is more earth-friendly than plastic bags. My recent favorite is Natural Value brand unbleached wax paper bags, whichI found at the Seward Co-op. They are larger than a plastic sandwich bag, hold a ton of goodies, and I love the natural brown color and environmentally-friendly option.
- Find clear plastic bags (such as those in the popcorn photo above) at craft stores, online retailers, or kitchen shops.
- Wrap bits of paper or fabric around jars, bundles of herbs, or other things for a touch of color, and then tie with a string.
- Chinese take-out style paper boxes can be purchased in large quantities (or just ask to buy some from your neighborhood Chinese restaurant) and are perfect for holding candies, cookies, popcorn, or the like.
- Paper lunch bags hold just about anything, are inexpensive, and biodegradable. If you want to jazz them up, embellish with stamps, hand-illustrations, or a cute label, and tie with a bit of string. Nice!
- Reuse plastic berry containers for homepicked or foraged produce or berries, and relabel the top with something customized.
- Whatever other crazy ideas you come up with – the choice is up to you! Let your imagination run wild.
What other ideas do you have? Share them in the comments below. Happy prettifying!