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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 Use outdated atlases and maps for colorful, cool-looking, and good quality wrapping paper.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
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
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
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
By Tedebear from San Jose CA
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!
Approximate Time: 20 minutes
By BessieBessie from Pretoria, Gauteng
With just a few sheets of waxed paper, the kind that one usually uses to wrap sandwiches in, or to line a baking tin with, one can give a personal touch to presents and make them look quite exceptional, without spending much money on gift wrap.
Adding stencilled images to the wax paper works well when making gift-wrap for a present such as a bath treat.
Cut the waxed 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.
Now use the white paint and the stencil. For this example, I used the design of a rose for the stencil, but any other design will be suitable. One could even use two different designs, or four different ones, if so desired.
Decide if you would like to print stenciled designs onto the paper in rows, or at random. Then, place the stencil on the appropriate place. Hold it down with one hand while painting, so that it will not move while applying the paint.
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.
Carefully, lift up the stencil and move it to the next appropriate place. Continue until the page has been filled with the stenciled design. Leave to dry thoroughly.
Cover the present with the waxed stenciled paper. Tie a decorative silver string around it. Add the finishing touches by adding small beads to the ends of the silver string. Remember to tie a small knot once you've strung the beads, so that the beads won't come off again.
By BessieBessie from Pretoria, Gauteng
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!
Here's a way to personalize all your gifts in a way no one else can.
By Bryguyf69 from NYC, NY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Variation: Try this with feet too!
By Jayme from Harrisonburg, VA
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! (if the gift is small - use white computer paper and glue on the cut outs).
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