Have you finished wrapping your gifts yet? I’m almost finished–don’t hate me! I kept thinking of tips I wanted to share with you while I was wrapping. I hope they inspire you to make something beautiful and unique!
I do buy a roll of regular gift wrap from time to time, but I keep looking for ways to minimize use of it. Like many people we reuse boxes and gift bags. I save decorative tins and find many uses for them. Besides storing fragile Christmas ornaments, they protect gifts that could be damaged in regular boxes. I put a gift candle into a tin cylinder that was a perfect fit. Of course tins make wonderful containers for food gifts also. Those large popcorn tins you see around the holidays are great gift holders, and they can also be used to store rice, dog food, etc. in your pantry.
1. Use up those wrapping paper scraps! Use those extra bits of leftover wrapping paper or fabric scraps as decorative bands on plain paper, such as brown craft paper or brown paper bags. Use pinking shears for the fabric edge if you have them. Click here to learn how to make origami stars from wrapping paper scraps. They can be used instead of bows on packages or in your holiday decor.
|Bow Made from Wrapping Paper|
2. Ribbons from decor that I don’t use anymore get recycled into package ribbon. Yarn in holiday colors works well for the rest. It is a practical solution for mailed packages and gifts you are taking along for holiday travel. No crushed ribbons! I like to wrap gifts with brown craft paper and use red yarn for a take on “brown paper packages tied up with strings.” You can even use newspaper as wrap (use the stock market pages) with red yarn for an attractive upcycle. With yarn as the ribbon, you can tie the gift tags to a yarn end. Just use a hole punch in the gift tag. I like this look a lot and use it on most of my packages. A bonus is that you use less tape.Some 4-inch wide strips of tulle make another uncrushable bow. Two colors of tulle together make a pretty ribbon and bow.
4. Bits and pieces of old Christmas decorations can be added to packages for a festive look and one more use before going to the landfill. (Donate usable decor to Goodwill, etc.) Often these can be tied on or tucked into ribbons. Use bits of evergreens snipped from your landscaping the same way.
5. Upcycle a map from an old atlas as wrapping paper. For an attractive gift box that is likely to be kept as decor, wrap the box top separately. You could use Mod Podge type decoupage glue to make it more lasting. Click here for an easy DIY decoupage glue recipe that works as well as Mod Podge and is cheaper.
6. If you give fruit bread (a great gift for neighbors or co-workers) it makes a nice presentation to use a pretty picture frame as the plate and tie it all with a bow. Or buy an inexpensive plate at Goodwill for a plate that doesn’t need to be returned. You might even find a holiday plate or container there that looks great with Christmas cookies. Click here for some great fruit bread recipes.
7. Bits of ribbon, lace, rickrack, twine, braid, trim, etc. left from craft or sewing projects can be used on packages. Leftover stickers look great on kids’ packages and can be used as tape. I love the contrast of satin ribbon with brown craft paper. I guess it could be called shabby chic, but it’s just beautiful.
8. For family gifts I sometimes write the “to” and “from” directly on the wrapped gift with a Sharpie. It’s not elegant, but it can be festive with different colors of Sharpies. You can write cute messages on the package this way for more fun. If the wrapping paper has white or light colored areas they work well for this. I especially like to write on snowmen for this!
9. Instead of ribbon, add an interesting small unwrapped gift. This year I bought some attractive kitchen basting brushes with lime green bristles. I left on the tag that came with it and used it as the gift tag. A cookie cutter or wooden spoons tied with red yarn are also great, especially if the gift is a cookbook.
10. I make reusable gift bags from fabric (Click here for directions to make cloth shopping bags.) that the recipients keep as shopping bags, travel totes, or to reuse as gift bags. If you can sew a simple straight seam you can make these. Look for fabric on sale during the year or find an attractive piece of fabric at Goodwill, etc. Often you can find a drape or curtain there for about $3 that makes many wonderful strong fabric bags. This is one case where the package is definitely part of the gift. Other fabric wraps are easier: just wrap a piece of fabric around the item, tying a couple of knots to hold it together. It’s nice to use a pretty scarf or dish towel so that the wrap is useful too. Click here to learn Furoshiki, the Japanese way of wrapping gifts elegantly with fabric.
BONUS: Extra large items take too much wrapping paper. Buy a cheap plastic table cloth in holiday colors to wrap those outsize items. Or skip the wrap altogether and just add a big bow. Mr. Pennies says to use a trash bag with a bow, but that might not be well received by everyone.
If you have the kids decorate plain brown craft paper wrapped packages, it adds a wonderful touch, especially if the gifts are for grandparents. Kids of all ages will enjoy this and it could become a tradition at your house. Get out all sorts of items that can be used and turn them loose. Let them make snowflakes, stars, snowmen, and hearts to glue on. Get out the glitter if you are brave. Creativity knows no limits!
How do you keep gift wrap costs under control? Do you do any of these things or can you share some secrets with us?