Better Than Store-Bought, DIY Gift Wraps with Heart

When a dive into the recycle bin can make gifts look like this, you may never buy traditional wrapping paper again.  

Get inspired by these charming gift wraps made from common household items and some non-traditional thinking.  They're sure to impress for their looks as much as their earth friendliness.  

1. Paper Bags

Easy, peasy, crowd pleasers.  

Thick (grocery store) Paper Bags: 

Best for bigger gifts because the thick paper is difficult to fold around small corners.

Basics: Reverse, wrap, add your splash.  These sturdy paper bags hold up to paint, decoupage, just about anything you can throw at them.   






Have paint and an eraser? You've got polka dots!


Thin Paper Bags: 

Is your bag or paper wrinkled? Don't sweat it.  Just crumple it some more until you get an even texture. 






Boutique (handle) Paper Bags:

The two-minute gift bag.  Just cover the store logo with something pretty or personal: sheet music; a postcard; the front flap of a holiday card; a school drawing; a photo clipped from a magazine or book, a picture of their pet


2. Maps

Remember coming home with three maps from ___________(insert any National Park)?  Add some rope (or baker's twine) and a sprig from outdoors, and you're good to go.  



3. Sheet Music or Calendars

Big gift? Tape sheets together, it only adds to the charm.  The non-conventional bow materials in the first one are also noteworthy.  

Reminder: bows, ribbon, and other stringy things are not recyclable because they get caught in the equipment, which can lead to shutdowns.



4. Newspaper and Books

One trick to making newspaper wrap look fresh is using it as an accent or pattern, rather than the wrapping paper itself.  





Book bows!


Here's the "how-to" video for the shapely bowties above. Or keep it simple with an abstract bow shape, lined in black marker.  Showstoppers, either way. 


The popularity of e-readers combined with a more mobile society means we're unloading our books at a brisk pace. So go ahead and reuse that Clancy novel guilt free! Repurposed wrap has soul and is far more earth friendly than anything bought at the store. 

5. Chip Bags 

That's right, a chip bag or any food bag with a silver lining will do the trick.  Doritos, cookie, and coffee bags are often lined with foil too.  These kinds of 'mixed material' bags can add sparkle to any gift, but they can't be recycled. 


TIP: To quickly clean off the greasy residue, fill the bag with warm water and add a few drops of detergent and let sit for a few minutes.  Then rip the bag open, give it a shake, and let dry. 

Did you know not all wrapping paper is recyclable?  Here's your cheat sheet

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