Faux Bois

If we Southern hemisphere wrappers edited out every skerrick of Christmas paper, trim, ribbon or tag with a wintery Northern Hemisphere theme, we would be seriously limiting our options. I have long moved past any problem with snowy, cold and frozen patterns when it is 36 degrees Celsius outside and it seems some what churlish to return a card for the simple crime of featuring hand painted lettering  “Let it Snow”.

I have similarly moved past having even a minor issue with woodland themes which again reference the forests of colder climates. That’s why I am not afraid to whip out a Faux Bois wrap every now and then. It’s a particular look but I strangely drawn to it.

Faux Bois comes from the French for false wood and refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media – think Faux Bois concrete, wallpaper, furniture (particularly garden furniture and benches) cakes (Martha Stewart is mad for Chocolate Faux Bois cake) and last but certainly not least wrapping paper.

The Faux Bois craft has its roots in the Renaissance with Trompe-l’oeil itself French for “deceive the eye”, an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that objects exist in three dimensions.   Faux Bois was probably first crafted with concrete using an iron armature by garden craftsmen in France known as rocailleurs using rods, barrel bands, and even chicken wire.

So you can see Faux Bois is a bit of a thing with a bit of a history. Faux Bois wrapping paper gives a forest feel and while you don’t see much of it around in the Australian shops, you can track it down online if you’re keen. You could of course always make your own – again I give you Martha Stewart who has a video on how to achieve the look though I can’t help wondering if this DYI is worth all the trouble.

I love the Faux Bois pattern with bright red ribbons and adornments but it must be said the pattern lends itself to any number of colour highlights particularly well. The golden Faux Bois of my dreams from Vandoros Fine Packaging is a case in point. The natural patterning complements other Christmas and festive styles to create a unified palette and, in my humble opinion, the pattern is neither overly masculine nor feminine -a definite bonus.

I am going to have a little Faux Bois flurry by wrapping all of the presents for a particular Christmas party in this look. They’re all into construction and building things. They’ll appreciate the wood bit even if it is faux.

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