Growing up, we were the family that never, EVER ripped the wrapping paper. We carefully peeled away the tape pieces and refolded the paper so it could be used again. I’m pretty sure I had the exact same piece of wrapping paper on my birthday presents for 18 years. My mom is the queen of eco-friendly gift wrap because it literally never got thrown out. But short of recycling the same paper for a couple of decades, here are some really fun diy eco friendly gift wrap ideas!
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Finding creative ways of wrapping presents can really be half the fun of gift-giving! Everyone will ohh and ahh over your efforts and you can save your slice of humble pie for another day. Nobody forgets an occasion where the wrappings were just as amazing as the gifts!
Is Wrapping Paper Bad for the Environment?
Some wrapping papers can be difficult to recycle if they are made with mixed materials or are plastic based. Plus, new paper is usually wrapped in a plastic film.
A lot of papers can be easily recycled but that’s not the point. Why purchase something new when you can repurpose an existing item into a creative gift wrap?
Eco Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas
How do you wrap a present without waste? The easiest way is to reuse something you already have on hand, that you know can be reused by the next person as well.
I’ve been making efforts lately to try to reduce the amount of waste we produce in our household, slowly but surely finding better options and making better choices. When you stop to think about it, buying paper that will almost immediately be thrown in the garbage seems a little silly. I think we can do better!
(Another idea for eco-friendly items for special occasions is this reusable DIY fabric bunting!)
1. Fabric Wrap
Have a search around for a length of fabric, a pretty cloth napkin or a silky scarf that you can wrap furoshiki style. This is an amazing eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper!
Try to repurpose things you already have around the house, or make a trip to the thrift store for some inexpensive scarves or bit of fabric like printed sheets!
Photo source: Country Living
A sweater sleeve is the perfect size for containing a bottle of wine. Simply sew (or glue for that matter) the raw end of the sleeve closed and use a pretty ribbon to tie up the other end! If you were really feeling crafty, you could turn the body of the sweater into a larger gift bag as well.
Photo source: The LC Issue
3. Kraft Paper & Stamps or Foliage
This is so fun and allows for a ton of creativity! This is a great activity to do with kids too. You can roll out a huge piece of the paper across your dining table and let the kids go nuts. You could use stickers or washi tape and if you’re feeling really brave you can add some glitter too. Scrapbook.com is my go-to site for all things stamping and crafting, you can find practically anything there!
Every time I get an amazon order or other online order, I save any of the brown paper contained in the box. By Christmas time I generally have enough paper to wrap all our gifts in! (If the creases in used paper bother you, you can iron them out on a low setting!)
Photo Source: May Holi Craft
In an effort to make the kraft paper idea a little more eco friendly & reusable, you could leave the paper blank and add easily removable details like foliage, flowers or paper cutouts.
Photo Source: Local Milk Blog
Repurpose some old tourist maps or pamphlets into whimsical wrapping paper!
Photo source: A Pretty Happy Home
Save your rice bags and anything else that comes packaged in burlap. Wrap it up with a lace ribbon or weave in some leftover lengths of yarn for pops of colour.
Photo Source: Annabelle OM
6. Tea Towel
A tea towel is the perfect wrap for a food themed gift. Bake up some goodies and wrap them up in a useful & pretty tea towel for the perfect ‘not too specific’ gift! (aka suitable for anyone on your list!) This shop has some adorable modern tea towel designs including the lemon branches pictured here!
7. Music Sheets & Book Pages
Use sheets of music to make an envelope or gift bag. Book pages are the perfect wrap for the book lover in your life!
Photo Source: Craft and Creativity
8. Newspaper, Comic Books & Magazine Pages
You could stamp or colour on top of the newspaper to add some pretty detail. Comic book or magazine pages can be turned into DIY bow toppers too!
Photo Source & DIY: Whole Living
(9) Reusable Fabric Gift Bags
I recently created this simple DIY reusable fabric gift bag tutorial for Christmas. It has pretty metallic details and can be used year after year!
One thing I do every year is turn the Christmas cards I received into gift tags for the following Christmas. I happen to have a punch that cuts out the tags, but you could easily cut them out by hand. This idea works great with birthday cards too!
With this list you’ll likely spend more time creating the perfect package than picking out the gift!
What’s the prettiest gift wrap you’ve either given or received?