Don't junk it ... use it How to strings your ideas together without string

Have you arrived at that moment in gift-wrapping something when you have neatly folded the wrapping paper around the gift, then realise you have no string with which to tie it? (Sticky tape is so tacky, don't you think?) Here is the solution: do-it-yourself string.

You start with a piece of tissue paper. You will probably find some around the crystal champagne glasses which you are trying to wrap as a present. Or you can use the thin paper your wine merchant used to wrap around your champagne bottles.

Cut a long strip from this tissue paper. Experiment with different widths of strip for varying the thickness of the resulting string.

Now dampen the paper with a spray. You must not let it get too wet, or it will fall apart. Neither must it be too dry, or it will lose its shape. If you do not have a spray, just dab water on the paper with your finger- tips, or even use a pastry brush.

Put one end of the strip of paper under a heavy weight. Start twisting the strip at the same end, gradually working along to the free end. Finally tuck the free end under another heavy weight to hold everything in place until it has dried.

When ready, you will find that the "string" has a surprising strength and, as long s you are gentle when tying the knots, makes an original and decorative (if you started with a pleasant variety of coloured papers) way to adorn personal gifts.

Personally, I tend to thread mine through the hole on the lever of a bulldog clip. I can then hang the clip on a hook high on the wall above my desk, and clip important papers to it, out of the reach of other people's children who may chance to pass by.

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