Dads & Dudes: Patent Drawings Gift Wrap

JUN 17, 2013

Spoonflower crew member Caroline used her grandfather's patent applications to create personalized gift wrap for Father's Day. Check out the how-to for this unique project perfect for any occasion using your own keepsakes or memorabilia!

When I was younger, my dad used to tell me that my grandfather invented the folding umbrella and had a patent to prove it. Unfortunately this story was not exactly true, as the Chinese invented it, according to historical accounts, during the Cao Wei dynasty about 1,700 years ago.

The truth of it was that my grandfather, Edward Okun, had several patents for improvements on the current design in the 1930s as well as some others for a garment hanger and a corkscrew.


This stretched truth nonwithstanding, since Father's Day was coming up, I thought I'd do something unique and fun
for my dad and give him a framed photo of his father wrapped with paper
I'd made using the drawings from those patents.

I found the documents easily on Google and downloaded the PDF files. At this point I had 2 options:

  1. Print out the PDFs, use scissors and adhesive, make the pattern by hand, then scan it in.
  2. Import the PDF into Photoshop and cut and paste the various images and words digitally.

In this case, I chose option 2 since it removed the step of rescanning the images. BUT…if I were to do this with drawings from my niece, for example, I'd certainly use the "old-fashioned" method.


I began by creating my canvas. In Photoshop: File > New, named the file accordingly, chose a width of 26 inches (the width of our gift wrap) and 300dpi since it would be printing on paper.

Once my canvas was ready, I chose File > Open and the particular PDF I wanted. I kept the resolution at 300dpi since I wanted my images as sharp as possible and that was the DPI of my canvas.

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, I carefully selected parts of the image, copied them, then pasted onto my canvas.

I repeated this step with the same image several times, rotating it and moving it around the canvas to get a non-directional pattern. (Another way to do this on a Mac is to press CTRL J, which will duplicate your layer.

Then I hunkered down and repeated these steps, choosing images and text, copying and pasting, and rotating and moving the pieces around the canvas.

By the time I was finished I had over 35 layers with several copies of each one. Whew!

This is a detail of the pattern when I was finished with the layout in Photoshop.

The next step was to upload it to the Spoonflower site. From the CREATE tab in the main navigation, I chose Custom Gift Wrap and chose the file I wanted to use.

Once the file finished uploading I clicked the SMALLER button until it was 26" x 26" at 300dpi and also chose the Matte finish to give the wrap an authentic "old-fashioned" feel.

A really cool feature on our site is that you can choose the GIFT BOX option above the design preview to see your gift wrap
on a box and get a great estimation of how your project will look!

My folding umbrella gift wrap turned out so well I created a few different colorways.  I was totally thrilled when I got the actual paper – the drawings were crisp and clear – so professional I was almost surprised I'd designed it!  My father loved everything and was really excited to get such a heartfelt and personal gift!

About Our Guest Author

When Caroline is not working as a part of Spoonflower’s marketing & engineering teams, she can
be found boxing, gardening, cooking, or snuggling
with her dog Albatross.

**The awesome Darth Vader Father's Day card in the first photo was designed by my very talented friend Amanda Wright of Wit and Whistle.

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