Because of our consumer society, we may want to consider "downgrading" the packaging and wrapping of the things we purchase in the coming year. I recently heard of a great idea: instead of wasting what amounts to tons (collectively) of wrap and ribbon, why not use seasonal dish clothes or towels to wrap some items? You could use place mats that have been rolled up and tied as a beautiful gift alone or with some kind of neat kitchen gizmo tucked inside. Use YOUR imagination!
I don't think this idea is new, but I thought I would send it anyway. When I go to the grocery store I ask for paper bags instead of plastic. I cut them open and use the inside of the bag for gift wrap.
I use raffia as "ribbon." You can leave it plain, or use rubber stamps or whatever to decorate. It really does have a certain panache to it. BTW, raffia comes in various colors other than the regular color, that helps to dress it up too. - Melody in WA
For a birthday or anniversary, perhaps you can be quick to grab the morning paper and make sure the front page doesn't get messed up. then, wrap with that, making sure to have the banner, date, and headlines right on top. For a particularly significant event, such as a golden birthday (the date matches the age), or a milestone anniversary, this wrapping may be a treasured additional gift!
This would also be very appropriate as wrapping for a new baby gift, using the paper from the day of birth. Suggestion: if a birth is imminent, hang onto your daily paper a little longer, just in case the wee one makes the debut before midnight. Also, watch the paper for the birth announcement, and save that for a gift wrapping.
I think it is usually possible to wrap without using cellophane tape. That is important if you are giving the newspaper page wrapping as part of the gift. Instead of the tape, use ribbon or whatever to carefully tie wrapping around the gift. If that proves too difficult, wrap with another part of the same paper, taping as usual. Then fold the front page, place on top, and hold it in place with a ribbon or other tie.
To accessorize a newsprint gift wrap, I suggest raffia and other natural materials. It just seems to look right, probably because it is a harmony of neutral colors. You can also stamp on newsprint, and a simple bold pattern in a neutral color may give you the most pleasing effect. If you accessorize creatively, any page of the newspaper can look like a fabulous gift wrap! I like to use a crisp leaf as a reverse stencil, using fall leaf colors, and tie it with twine and attach some other naturals, such as a pine cone, some plumed grass, or fall flowers.
Using naturals gives gift wrap a great look, but it also means you can find the materials for free, and you can remind people of the value of the natural world. With a little experimentation, you can make something that might remind your spendy relatives that frugal isn't just for frumpy misers, but a lifestyle choice. With the beautiful gift presentation, they get a taste of the pleasures money can't buy, without having to commit to simple living. That is a real gift!
- Rose Berry
Here's something cute. Chinese newspaper. It is very colorful and the chinese alphabet is pretty. Or, if you want to express that you think the world of your recipient, use a world map.
Oh, gift wrapping ideas, one of my favorite subjects!
You can be so creative with frugal and recycled gift wrap. Here are a few of the things I have learned about frugal wrapping.
1. Some of the best wrapping paper is the storebought stuff you saved (reuse & recycle!) from other people's gifts (or had them save for you). You can almost always reuse at least part of it, or make it into patchwork wrapping paper by adding other pieces of reused wrapping paper. Cut up long thin strips of reused wrapping paper and curl them into little spirals for package decorations.
2. Besides brown paper bags, have someone who works in an office save you the "wrappers" that copier paper comes in. Some can make quite a large piece of paper when flattened, and these can be painted, decorated, rubber stamped, etc. (like the brown paper shopping bags), and then decorated with a simple raffia bow.
3. Use some of your kids old artwork for wrapping paper. A friend of mine said some of her favorite wrapping papers were pieces of paper her kids had colored scenes onto with crayons.
4. A colorful bandanna, hanky, dishtowel, cloth napkin, or even a large piece of fabric makes a nice gift wrapping, and can be reused by the recipient.
5. If you are handy with needle and thread, make a few cloth gift bags with drawstrings that can be reused over and over again. You can be as plain or as fancy as you like, depending on your sewing skills.
6. The color comics make great wrapping paper, of course!
7. The black and white newspapers make good wrapping paper too. You can personalize the gift, say, by using just the financial section and stock quotes for a stock market fancier.
8. Large, colorful old calendars can be used to wrap gifts -- all those pretty pictures have another use!
9. Befriend your local paperboy and ask for some of the plain brown paper that the newspapers come wrapped in, as this makes natural-looking wrapping paper. (My son is a paperboy and he gets LOTS of this kind of paper weekly.) It can easily be decorated (painted, rubberstamped, etc.), and tied with a raffia ribbon.
10. You can create some of your own wrapping paper, too, by wrapping the gift in whatever you choose (newsprint, calendars, etc.) and then attaching a nice photo on top of the package...perhaps of the gift recipient?
11. You can accessorize the plainest wrapping paper with a raffia bow, yarn bow, some leftover ribbon, or make a bow out of scrap cloth fabric. Consider using natural decorations like pinecones, dried wild flowers, dried berries, small grapevine wreaths, seashells, etc.
Have fun wrapping your gifts, and let your imagination run wild! I'm sure there are more ways to wrap gifts than these, but these should be a start for you.
Ness, Lakeview, NY
co-list mom of Waste Nothing discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WasteNothing
Wallpaper samples make nice wrapping paper, and you can use a border sample to craft a coordinating card. You can also make gift bags fom these samples - larger ones, just glue two or more coordinating samples together at the edges.
We have also used maps from National Geographic, which we get for free from a local library (old issues). Or use travel maps.
Another fun thing we have done is to cut old clothes from the rag bag into strips, and tie them together to make a really long strip. Then wrap the strip around the present and tie the end off. We have used some REALLY LONG scraps, and it's fun to watch th person unwind and unwind until they get to the gift. - One Ramp
At the local newspaper, you can buy what they call "roll ends" of newsprint for 50 cents each - these are blank rolls of newsprint about 4 feet wide. There is still plenty of paper left on them too. I bought a roll 2 years ago and still have it. Just decorate it as you would any other blank package (rubber stamps, stickers, raffia, ribbon, etc.) Because of the width of these roll ends, they are also useful as disposable table covers.
Another great idea I didn't see mentioned is to use old road maps for gift wrap. Check your glove box - you've probably got several! I bought some unusual ones at our local library sale for 10 cents each. You can also get some at Welcome Centers free while you are traveling. I find that these are
great for gifts for men, since I usually have plenty of feminine gift wrap but not much on the masculine side. - WW
Use stencils, quilt and regular, to decorate plain papers. Use spray paint or use a small paint roller dipped in one or more colors for the design.
The chinese newspaper idea is a good one I've used myself. My kids are into the japanese swords, ninjas and anime and the newspaper was most appreciated when "Santa" wrapped their gifts this year!
I have used lunch bags and painted and stenciled them.Punched two holes at the top and strung ribbon or raffia thru holes then tie into bow or just a knot. You can also stencil tissue paper to go with the lunch bags.( Use oil base stencil paints for the tissue paper) You may be able to find white bags. Thats a real treat.What a pallet!!!
We subscribe and take the weekend issues of the newspaper.
I always save the Front Page, Sports Pages, colorful ads for different items and the comic pages out of about a dozen issues. I then use them to wrap gifts in the pages of my choice.
On the Front Page or Sports Page, I take a thick Red Mark-A-Lot and print in huge letters: "Have you read the news?" or "EXTRA, EXTRA!!! READ ALL ABOUT IT!"
For the males: men's fashions, colorful tools and tire ad pages are great wrapping paper.
Women get the colorful fashion, gadget, linen, furniture, jewelry and kitchenware.
For girls I use girl's toys, computer, stereo, music DVD's makeup, funky jewelry or girls fashion pages.
Then for the kiddos and who doesn't have a lot kid inside of them? LOL
I wrap the gifts in the comic section. Paste a huge white gift tag with the saying: "You are so Funny", "You make me laugh", "You are the biggest comic in the world." You get the idea. Anything you want to say.
I said it was free gift paper and it is if you don't count the cost of subscribing. BUT hey, it goes the extra mile for you and the "boughten" kind is more expensive!
By Gladys Hill
I make small boxes out of recycled greeting cards, and use those for small gifts - just tie them closed with yarn, twine or raffia. I especially like using the card sent to me by that person the year before to "re-gift" them with a small ornament, gift certificate, handmade earrings, or other small items.
If you have a big gift that is hard to wrap, give the recipient a decorated envelope with clues as to where to find it - even sending them on a short scavenger hunt of clues to lead them to the hidden, unwrapped gift. It saves on paper and adds some suspense to the gift giving.
If the budget is small, wrap Christmas packages in newspaper. I used the Sports section for my husband, Comics for the younger kids, Home life & Fashion for my older daughter. You can highlight any articles they may be interested in. Tie with inexpensive yarn.
For quite some time I have looked for different kinds of linens....dishtowels or table toppers or very small tablecloths to wrap presents up. My thought was with the price of wrapping items now-days---paper, ribbons, tape, gift tags, it makes sense when you find some of the white sales on or just a good sale at Wal-Mart or K-Mart or whatever store you prefer, buy an extra or two of these items and keep in your supply closet just for wrapping purposes. Not only do you save on wrapping supplies but the person receiving your gift has the extra bonus of re-usable gift wrap that can be used over and over. Always loved the idea and people I've done it for love it too.
Another quick idea, particularly handy for hard-to-wrap presents.
Use kitchen aluminum foil, cut to appropriate size and folded around the gift. No scotch tape needed!
Finish off round by tying it around with colored ribbon. Gold ribbon looks great for birthdays or anniversaries, or combine two strands of red and green curling ribbon for Christmas gifts.
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