Homemade Wrapping Paper

Instead of buying rolls of preprinted wrapping paper, why not make your own. This is a great way to add a special personal touch to any birthday, wedding or Christmas gift. This is a guide about homemade wrapping paper.

Homemade wrapping paper made with different colored handprints in paint.
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Colorful Children's Birthday Gift Wrap

By Benetta 221 118

Turn unprinted newsprint paper into gift wrap for your children's gifts. This is such a fun project, there is no right or wrong! The kids can even help to make their own gift wrap and use it to cover birthday gifts for their friends.

closeup of the gift wrap

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Tip: Use Maps as Wrapping Paper

By Britt Young 17

This wrapping paper idea came from one of my friends years ago. Use outdated atlases and maps for colorful, cool-looking, and good quality wrapping paper. I use mostly for birthday gifts, but cut out a silhouette of Santa in his sleigh and/or reindeers and attach for Christmas gifts. If you like this idea but don't have any maps to use, pick up some free ones at travel and visitor's centers the next time you are traveling.

By Britt from Boston, MA

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Tip: Make Inexpensive Gift Bags and Wrapping

By April 187 452

I like to make inexpensive gift bags for year around use. Pillow cases from the thrift stores make great light weight bags, just fold down the top and run a drawstring through.

Yesterday I bought some flannel and felt for $1 a yard (bolt ends). I made up about 8 bags of various sizes and colors for $8, and used some yardage I had on hand (I first braided it) for the cording.

These can be used year after year, and saves the expense of wrapping paper.

We also use the funny papers for wrapping paper as well.

The kids like to take a brown paper grocery bag, cut it, turn it inside out and potato or rubber stamp holiday designs on the solid side, to make their own wrapping paper.

By April from Plattsburg, MO

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Tip: Wrapping Paper Flower

By Donna 309 325

I ran out of wrapping paper and only had a roll of brown 'kraft' paper left (similar to brown paper bags) so I had to get creative. I folded it (as shown) and cut out petals, taped them on and used magic marker. I think it looks nice and homey too! What do you think?
My kitty overlooked the whole project (as usual!)


poinsettia paper flower on packagepetals drawn on kraft paperpetalscat assistant

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    Designer Santa Gift Wrap

    By Benetta 221 118

    Turn unprinted newsprint paper into designer Christmas gift wrap. Stamp images of Santa and add stars to the paper. Add squiggly shapes and Z-shaped doodles, and create a foolproof collage. This beautiful gift wrap will add a special touch to your Christmas gifts, and the recipients will definitely feel that its time to celebrate!

    wrapped package

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    Tip: Personalized Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags

    By Christine Valdes 3 2

    There were a few years where money was very scarce, and I ran out of Christmas wrapping paper. I found white freezer paper, and made use of old Christmas cards and family pictures. I would also draw or paint on the packages. It was fun and creative, you can also add a poem or write something.

    When I run out of Christmas labels now or just want to be creative, I will take a piece of the wrapping paper, cut it into a square, rectangle, or any shape and fold it over. I take pretty ribbon (wire ribbon works well), put a strip over the label, scissor a V at the end, and staple the top so it doesn't show, then put the name of the recipient inside the little card label. Makes a beautiful package and people enjoy the personalization as well.

    By Anne from Dayton, OH

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    Stenciled Gift Wrap

    By Benetta 221 118

    Christmas is traditionally family time, and here is a project that you and your child can do together. Using cookie cutters with Christmas shapes as your inspiration, make your own stencils from an old sheet of X-ray film, and then do printing with these stencils on inexpensive brown paper. A fun way to add a personal touch to gift wrapping! Handmade Christmas wrapping paper

    Approximate Time: 20 minutes


    • a roll of brown paper
      I used the type that one normally uses to cover school books.
    • 2 cookie cutters with Christmas shapes
      I used cutters with a Christmas tree and a star, but any other shapes will do.
    • pencil
    • ruler
    • one sheet of X-ray film for making the stencils
    • sharp knife, or a sharp pair of standard scissors, to cut out the designs on the X-ray film
    • 2 small sponges for the sponging
    • acrylic paint in the following four colors: lumiere, white, pale gold, and true red
    • red glitter
    • a thin paintbrush
    • 1 cotton swab
    • 2 small plates to pour the paint into
    • sticky tape
    • a few sheets of old newspapers to protect the working area


    1. Place the first cookie cutter on a piece of the X-ray film and trace around the edges. Use the knife or the pair of scissors to cut away the inside of the pattern that you have traced onto the X-ray film. Make a stencil, trace design and cut out.

    2. Using a separate piece of X-ray film, repeat step 1 with the second cookie cutter, so that you will have two stencils.

    3. Cut the brown paper to the desired size. Lay it flat onto a table, you may want to stick the corners lightly to the table with sticky tape, so that the paper doesn't roll up while you are busy.

    4. Use the pencil and the ruler to divide the brown paper into squares ~ I used squares sized 3.4 inches x 3.4 inches.

    5. Now use the lumiere paint and the Christmas tree stencil. Place the stencil on the appropriate place. For this design, one would alternate between a block with a tree, and a block with a star. Hold the tree stencil down with one hand while painting, so that it will not move while applying the paint. Paint on tree stencil

    6. Dip the sponge into the lumiere paint and remove excess paint from the sponge by dabbing it on the sheet of newspaper. Then paint the stencil design onto the paper by repeatedly dabbing all over the design.

    7. Carefully, lift the stencil and move it to the next appropriate place. Continue until every alternative block has been filled with the stenciled tree design.

    8. Leave to dry thoroughly.

    9. Now use the white paint and the Christmas star stencil to fill the open blocks. Dip the sponge into the white paint and remove excess paint from the sponge by dabbing it on the sheet of newspaper. Then paint the stencil design onto the paper by repeatedly dabbing all over the design. Star Stencil

    10. Before removing the stencil, and while the paint is still wet, add some red glitter to the white star.

    11. Then, carefully lift the stencil and move it to the next appropriate place. Continue until the rest of the open blocks have been filled with stars. Star stenciled onto brown paper next to trees

    12. Leave to dry thoroughly.

    13. Using the fine paintbrush and pale gold acrylic paint, draw a free-hand line over all the pencil lines that you have drawn when you divided the paper into squares.

    14. Leave to dry thoroughly.

    15. Repeat step 13, now drawing over the pale gold lines with the white paint. Paint golden lines in between the stars and trees.

    16. Leave to dry thoroughly. Handmade Stars and Trees Wrapping paper

    17. Dip the tip of the cotton swab in true red paint and make a small red dot at the top of each Christmas tree. Red dop ontop of painted tree

    18. Leave to dry thoroughly before using to wrap a present.

    By BessieBessie from Pretoria, Gauteng

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    Tip: Scanned Christmas Card Wrapping Paper

    By Cyinda 214 1,287

    Use cards to make x-mas wrap! We receive so many wonderful Christmas cards, that I thought it would be fun for those who are a tiny bit computer savvy to make their own custom Christmas wrapping paper from them for your special gifts. All you need to do is scan your favorite cards into your computer then cut, shrink and paste the parts you like of just one card repeated or many cards on to a single piece of 8 1/2 x 11" paper, then if you save this info into your computer, you can use it again and again!

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    Tip: Wax Paper Gift Wrap

    By Benetta 221 118

    With just a few sheets of waxed paper, one can give a personal touch to presents and make them look quite exceptional, without spending much money on gift wrap.

    Gift wrapped in decorated wax paper.

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    Handprint Gift Wrap

    By Jayme 54 3

    blue, yellow, and red handprints on paperAdd that extra "touch" and make a gift more personal with this handprint gift wrap craft.


    • paint
    • long roll of paper or sheets
    • trays for paint
    • paint brush (optional)


  1. Roll out a large section from a long roll of paper or lay out a large sheet of paper. I like to use the rolls from the ends of the newspaper that our local newspaper sells cheap.
  2. Use different trays to set out different colored paints. I save the foam trays that come under groceries and use them for this, or you could use paper plates.
  3. Either let the child dip their hand in the paint, or paint it on their hands using a paint brush. If using a brush, the foam kind works really well.
  4. Randomly stamp handprints all over the paper. You may want to allow some time to dry between colors if you don't want them to mix too much.
  5. When completely dry, roll it up and save for the perfect gift wrap to accompany any special gift! I save the rolls to purchased gift wrap which comes in handy to store the homemade gift wrap.
  6. Variation: Try this with feet too!

    By Jayme from Harrisonburg, VA

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    Tip: Personalized Photo Gift Wrapping

    By bryguy 2 145

    Much of gift giving is in the PRESENTation so here's a way to wow your recipients. Instead of wrapping your gifts in generic wrapping paper, make your own out of meaningful photos. The photos can be that of a favorite celebrity, sports team, the giver (you and your family), or best of all -- the recipient. Simply take the photos to a copy shop such as Kinkos. Look for a color copier with a large copy bed, i.e. 11 x 17. Layout the photos as you like, close the lid and press Copy. Voila! Instant photo gift wrapping. Alternatively, you can use your home inkjet copier. The result will be smaller and not as smudge-proof, but it's fine for those who don't have a copy shop nearby. Make as many copies as you need. Make extras for the future.

    My favorite is to use photos of the recipient throughout the years. This make it extra meaningful, and shows that you cared enough to make it truly personalized. Many recipients will even frame the gift wrap like a photo. Keep in mind that you don't have to limit yourself to photos. You can also use meaningful documents (love letters, first paycheck, marriage certificate, a favorite poem, etc) and even small objects like sea shells, engagement rings, and small childhood toys.

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      Tip: Making Personalized Gift Wrap

      To make personalized gift wrap for moms, dads, and grandparents use a common brown grocery bag. Cut along one side in the corner crease to the bottom of the bag, then turn and finish cutting out the bottom of the bag leaving a nice rectangular sheet of paper. Take the paper and wad into a ball and keep working the paper opening it and re-wadding it until it becomes soft and pliable.

      Lay the paper out with the plain side up. Use newspapers to cover the table or counter for ease in cleaning up.

      Using tempera paints or any paint with water clean up, mix colors into saved Cool Whip bowls, pie tins, or any container that you prefer. If the container is too small use a foam paint brush and paint the palms and fingers with the colors you desire.

      Using your painted hands start using them as a stamp and let them go wild making hand prints all over the softened grocery bag. If you are daring you can do their little feet too, but make sure you have a bucket of water to clean them up or the floors will be painted as well.

      After the paper has dried, wad it up again a few times then proceed to wrap your gift. Tie it off with ribbon scraps, yarn, or raffia.

      This makes a great gift for the new parents or grandparents especially if Grandma and Grandpa live a distance away and do not get to see the family often, as this makes a great keep-sake as well. This can be done in colors to match the holiday as well.

      A great gift idea is to wrap a picture frame to hold a cutting of the same paper as a mat and put a picture of the child on it framed. Two gift's in one!

      Using the paper plain and tied with raffia and a pine cone or two tied into the raffia makes a great wrap for men also!

      Source: I came up with this when I was broke and needed to give a gift, but had no money to buy one.

      By Beau D from Vancouver, WA

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      Tip: Make Wrapping Paper With Stickers

      By Sandy 48 43

      When you just can't find that perfect wrapping paper, use tissue paper and add some stickers. You children will love this!

      By Tedebear from San Jose CA

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      Tip: Paper Bag Wrapping Paper

      By Amanda 1

      I like to ask for paper bags at the grocery store. I have my daughter color or paint on the plain side, and use it for wrapping paper. It is an interesting effect. If you don't have paper bags, your local newspaper often has newsprint end rolls that you can purchase for $1.

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      Make Your Own Photo Wrapping Paper

      By bryguy 2 145

      Here's a way to personalize all your gifts in a way no one else can.

      1. Select your favorite photos or make photos that are meaningful to you (the giver) or the recipient. For example, select photos of you and your family, home, pets, etc. Or use photos of the recipients, their favorite celebrities, etc. This is easy with digital cameras. Or download pictures from the web and print.

      2. Take these photos to a Kinkos or some place with a large color copier. Arrange the photos on scanning surface, close the cover and make as many copies as you want. Use the largest paper available, or shrink as necessary. Voila - you now have personalized wrapping paper.
      You can also do this at home using your personal inkjet copier although the scanning surface is generally small. You can also scan or import the photos into graphics software, arrange the images and then print. Most home printers won't accommodate paper larger than legal size so go to a commercial copier if you want large sheets. Commercial laser copiers also produce glossy waterproof results while you'll need to be careful of moisture when handling inkjet printouts. Still, if you want to use racy or private photos, it's probably easier to do at home.

      By Bryguyf69 from NYC, NY

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      Tip: Christmas Ads for Wrapping Paper

      By pam munro 522 790

      Christmas Ads for Wrapping Paper. I find myself saving nice Christmas art from advertisements and special newspaper sections and brochures, etc. - which I can cut out and use for wrapping paper!

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Holidays and Parties Gifts Gift WrappingNovember 17, 2011
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