Gift wrapping with Xara

Holiday Gift Boxes overlaid with animated snow flakes

Gift Wrapping With Xara

Gary and Frances (Gare and Angelize) are going to get you into the holiday spirit this month, just in time to create your own greeting card or gift tag for that Big Day in December.

Download and unpack the file. Inside, you’ll find Xmas Gift  Boxes. xar and three handsome seamless tiling textures&nash;Holiday Foil Textures, which along with a special tutorial this month, will provide you with everything you need to almost auto-create a holiday graphic.

Here’s how to spice up the boxes with the seamless textures:

  1. Open the Xmas Gift Boxes.xar file. You will see that each box is a separate group, and this will make it easy to work on each box separately. The boxes are also on their own layer and the file has a high Nudge distance built in so just about every version of Xara can be used this month for these decoration steps. As a little gift to fellow Xaraists, the illustration uses Named Colors, and I’ll explain this at the end of the tutorial.
  2. Figure 1

    Figure 1: Edit inside window – Front face shape selected.

    (Version 7) Double-click on a box to open an edit inside window, now you can access all of the different shapes that make up the box and edit them as if they were ungrouped. (All versions) You can also click on a box to select it, and then nudge it away from the other boxes and then press Ctrl+U to ungroup the shapes. See Figure 1.
  3. Figure 2

    Figure 2: Front face filled.

    Browse to the folder on your computer where you saved the holiday foil textures select one and drag and drop into the edit inside window in Xara.
  4. Select the front face of the box. Go to the Bitmap gallery and with the front face of the box still selected select the holiday foil fill and click the Fill button at the top of the gallery. The front face of the box will now be filled with the bitmap, as shown in  Figure 2.
  5. You can now use the Fill tool to adjust the fill as you wish. Make sure that Repeating tile is selected in the drop down list that is on the Fill tool Infobar.

  6. Figure 3

    Figure 3: Front face clone- stained glass linear transparency.

    To replace the shading that has now been lost, clone (Ctrl+K) the bitmap filled front face of the box and apply a Stained glass transparency to the clone, drag from the bottom up with the Transparency tool to give it a Linear transparency. See Figure 3.

  7. Figure 4

    Figure 4: Use the Page and Layer gallery to move the clone below the ribbon

    Now go to the Page and Layer gallery, and you will see that the clone is at the top of the stacking order select it and drag it down in the list until it is underneath the ribbon, as shown in Figure  4.
  8. Repeat Steps 5 through 7 on the side and top. If you copy the first filled shape (not the clone) to the clipboard, you can then select the remaining shapes that make up the box, and then right-click and choose Paste>Format/Attributes from the Context menu to paste in the fill, not the shape itself. The keyboard combo for this is Ctrl+Shift+A.
  9. Figure 5: Use the Fill tool to align and skew the fills

    Now use the Fill tool to align the fills and skew/squash them to get the correct perspective, as shown in Figure 5. Squashing a bitmap fill is the technical term for holding Shift while dragging on one of the control handles. Clone each shape and use a Stained glass transparency like before to add the shading.

  10. Figure 6

    Figure 6: The completed package.

    Once you are happy with your beautifully wrapped box, press Ctrl+S to save and return to the main Xmas boxes document. Figure 6 shows the finished gift box and Figure 7 is my version of the completed scene. Now you are ready to wrap another gift—it’s probably a pair of gloves or a tricycle—and you should be finished well before December 24th. See figures 6 and 7.

  11. Figure 7

    Figure 7: Instead of Christmas Past, think of Christmas Present!

Name the Colors for Bows of Any Color

Naming colors in a Xara document is an excellent pre-planning measure so that in the future, if you or a client doesn’t like a certain color you’ve used&mdash:or a shade of that color—the illustration can be dramatically recolored in only a few simple steps. And this gift box illustration has a Named Color–bows–which you’ll see at the very beginning of the Color line at the bottom of the interface.

Let’s say you’d prefer gold bows over the red ones. Follow these ridiculously brief steps:

  1. Nothing needs to be selected. Open the Color Editor by clicking the icon to the left of the Color Line, or by choosing Utilities>Color Editor (Ctrl+E is the keyboard shortcut).
  2. Figure 8

    Figure 8: Choose the bows color swatch on the Color Editor’s drop-down list

    Click the drop-down button to the right of the scrolling list of colors at top. Then choose bows, the red icon toward the top of the list. See Figure 8.
  3. Figure 9

    Figure 9: At any time in the future, you can redefine the bows color by selecting the swatch from the Color Editor’s list and then mixing up a different color by dragging the marker in the color field.

    On the Color Editor, change the color model to HSV if it’s not the current model. Use the color field and the hue slider to pick gold, or green, or whatever color you like to change all the shades of the Named bows color, as shown in Figure 9. Choosing your own bow color adds a nice personal touch that the recipient will appreciate.

    And it makes the gift harder to return after the holidays if the drawing of the socks inside are the wrong size.

Discuss this givaway in the Xara Xone forum on

Photo of Frances Proctor

Frances Proctor (Angelize online), is the co-publisher of the weekly, Good Morning Sunshine! that has brought a smile to the faces of print and online subscribers for 14 years. She uses Xara products extensively in her work for her firm, SunWings Graphic Design. She loves to teach and share her love of Art though her YouTube channel, her contributions to The Xara Xone and her work on Xara’s TalkGraphics forum as a moderator. You can drop her a line through her website or better yet stop by the Xara Xone forum on Talkgraphics and chat with Angelize there.

Photo of Gary David Bouton

Gary David Bouton has been drawing with traditional tools for almost 40 years, and with digital tools such as Xara for close to 20. As large a fan as he is a practitioner, Gary encourages others to express themselves artistically through his writing, the over 25 books on graphics he’s had published, through the videos and tutorials he creates for The Xara Xone, and through his online school, Exclamations. You can send him some email, visit his personal website, or better yet drop on over to the Xara Xone Forum on TalkGraphics and talk to Gary and the rest of the Xara community.

Baker's Dozen of Bouton Textures-August 2015 Giveaway

Knockout Venetian: a Bold Boutype Free Font - August 2015 Special Giveaway

Gary Bouton's Fresh Textures - June 2015 Special Giveaway

Gary Bouton's Dimensional Drop Caps - June 2015 Giveaway

How To Use Bump Maps To Make Cool Artwork Like This - March 2015 Giveaway

Nouveau Gothic Rounded Outlined Font - February 2015 Giveaway

25 Free Seamless Tiling Textures - January 2015

Igor's Propellers - 5 Free Geometric Wonders - December 2014 Giveaway

Frances Proctor's Seamless Tiling Stone Textures - November 2014 Giveaway

Christine Farrelly's Seamless Pattern Collection - October 2014 Giveaway

Simulata Typeface in TTF and OTF - September 2014 Giveaway

Twenty-five Vector Icons - August 2014 Giveaway

12 Mixed Theme Textures & Make a Sphere Tutorial - July 2014 Giveaway

The Forecast is for Lots and Lots of Clouds! - June 2014 Giveaway

Twelve Textures and One Creative Way to Use Them - May 2014 Giveaway

Using These Free Textures in a Novel Way - April 2014 Giveaway

Eight Wisps of Smoke and Steam - March 2014 Giveaway

Framed Again! Five Vector Frames - February 2014 Giveaway

14 For 2014 - January 2014 Giveaway

The Dodecagon 2014 Calendar - December 2013 Giveaway

Snowflake Maker Template - November 2013 Giveaway

A Dozen Vector Gears - October 2013 Giveaway

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Seamless Textures - September 2013 Giveaway

Gold and Silver Trinket Brushes - August 2013 Giveaway

Victorian Frames - July 2013 Giveaway

Free Gorgeous Seamless Marble Textures - June 2013 Giveaway

YouTube One Channel Theme Template - May 2013 Giveaway

12 Web Page and Pasteboard Layer Backgrounds - April 2013 Giveaway

10 Spring Textures - March 2013 Giveaway

Borders and Corners: An Elegant Collection - Feburary 2013 Giveaway

Bouton Icons! - January 2013 Giveaway

12 For 12 -– Free Tiling Textures for December - December 2012 Giveaway

Gift Boxes & Bows with Textures - November 2012 Giveaway

Frances' Fun French Curve Fiesta - October 2012 Giveaway

Named Color T-shirt Drawing - September 2012

A Dozen Dark Background Tiles - August 2012

Xara Facebook Timeline Cover Template - July 2012

Seamless Tiles from Artists - June 2012

Tints, Tones, and Shades: A Color Palette for Xara– May 2012

Moshe Kidron’s 12 Column Web Page Template– April 2012

Bouton's Color Swatches– March 2012

Free Font and Textures– February 2012

Frankfurter Venetian – January 2012