Monday, December 21, 2009

Give Homemade, Wrap Homemade: How to create your own festive and frugal wrapping paper, gift bags, and gift boxes.

Since we've dedicated the last several posts to homemade and frugal gifts, it's only fitting that we now share homemade and frugal ways to wrap those gifts. There's no use worrying about saving money on gifts and then spending the money you saved just to wrap them, right? So here are some ideas for cheap, cute, thoughtful giftwrap.

Make your own wrapping paper
Turn paper grocery bags into functional works of art. Use them plain and dress them with pretty ribbon or colored twine or get creative and decorate the paper with paint, crayons, or colored pencils.

If you're making paper for more than one gift, chances are you'll want to mass-produce to save time. This is where the stamps come in. Use rubber stamps and ink, X-mas cookie cutters with paint or make your designs by carving some potato stamps. If you've got kids, give them some finger paint or crayons and let them go to town. This is a great opportunity to involve them in the giving process.

If you don't have paper grocery bags lying around, art and school supply stores offer economically priced brown or white butcher paper on large rolls. No paint around? Dying with coffee or tea can give some surprisingly classy-looking results. I especially like the vintage-y combo of coffee or tea-dyed newspaper.

Alternate Wrappings
Don't have the time to make your own wrapping paper? Or perhaps you're not feeling very artistic? No problem. Try wrapping gifts with other spare items such as:
  • scrap fabric

    Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth,furoshiki,...Image via Wikipedia

  • maps (if you don't have a bunch of old ones lying around like I do, you can pick them up from your local tourist information office for free)
  • old newspapers or comics
  • children's artwork
  • magazine pages—choose festive spreads or be clever and pick pages that hint at the recipient's interests or even the gift itself

Boxes, Bags, and More

Need something to protect your gift before you wrap it? Try one of these before you pay for a gift bag. (If you must buy gift bags, hit up the dollar store first; they usually offer them for 1/4 what regular stores charge.)
  • shoeboxes
  • coffee cans
  • oatmeal canisters
  • baskets
  • glass jars
  • check out this tutorial about how to turn a cereal box inside out for a frugal, eco-friendly gift box

Hole punch, add ribbon, et voila!
  • scrap cardboard from food boxes
  • scraps leftover from grocery bags or wrapping paper
  • cards from old board games
  • playing cards
  • last year's Christmas cards

  • old hair ribbons, bandannas, or scarves
  • scrap fabric or ribbon
  • Christmas ornament (homemade or otherwise)
  • for children: spare GI Joes, Polly Pockets, or other small toys
  • a sprig of holly or spruce
  • tissue paper (or plastic grocery bag) pom-poms
  • candy canes or other festive-colored candies
  • a few loops of cranberry garland
  • small glittered pine cones
  • paper grocery bag handles (these can be quite easily glued into cute bows)

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Rae said...

I found you through the All things eco carnival - thanks for the inspiring ideas. My personal favourite is to use material; furoshiki style. My husband wrapped two books for me using furoshiki and shaped it like a handbag - it was awesome! You can see a pic here:

I love the idea for using old jars and cans; they look so pretty stacked up with all those treats!

Warm wishes
Mrs Green @

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