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I found a creative way to wrap Christmas packages. I refused to buy wrapping paper, bows, or ribbon this year, so I began to save cereal boxes, oatmeal cartons, etc. I have accumulated quite an interesting array of grocery containers and they work just perfectly for most of our gift items.
My kids have started saying, "Mom has gone green!" Just think of all the space I am saving in a landfill by not adding to it with my pile of discarded wrapping paper. The boxes can be compacted and used in our garden this spring!
By Tabitha from Depew, OK
My goal for this month is to declutter and sell my extras on ebay. In the past I have used the free flat rate shipping boxes from the post office. However, with prices on shipping so high, it seems I get less bids. I discovered that I can ship a lot of what I sell in cereal boxes. They are sturdy (and I also reinforce each direction with tape), and much lighter than the post office boxes, or regular cardboard boxes. Lighter packages mean less postage, which in turn increases the likely hood of someone bidding on my item.
This is the perfect way to save your Easter ham. A big ham fits perfectly in a recycled bag from a large box of cereal. For ham, I especially like the very large corn flakes bags. It's wonderful as you have no mess with going in and out of the bag as anything messy stays inside the bag. The ham can be "carefully" sliced inside the bag, if you're just slicing a small amount and don't want the mess. You can save the messy stuff inside the bag for future recipes. =
I save all cereal bags when the box of cereal has been eaten as they are too good to throw away. In my opinion, they are better than anything you can buy to store food or other things in. They're even good to cover seeds, that you have started indoors. Like Thrifty Fun, cereal bags are absolutely wonderful!
By Suzy from Clinton, TN
Use cardboard cereal boxes to make shipping envelopes. Deconstruct the box so it lays flat. Take off the small end on the right side or tape it down. Tape down the flaps on the top and bottom of the front of the cereal box. Cut a small slit on the top and bottom flap of the back of the box. Then cut that section out. This makes the outside flap. It'll be the last thing you tape down to seal the envelope. Tape the top and bottom flaps down like you did on the other side of the box. Also tape down the middle flaps. Fold over the flap you just created at the end to form a crease, but don't tape down. Fold cereal box in half. Tape the sides together to form your envelope. Then stuff your goodies inside. Fold over the creased edge and tape shut. Add shipping label and mail.
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
Most cereal boxes can be converted into boxes to store magazines. Just remove the top flaps and cut the upper third of the box off at a diagonal angle. You can put contact paper on the outside of the box to make the box look better.
I am starting to sell things on Ebay. I recently read an article about packaging in a newsletter from recyclebank.com. The article suggested reusing what we already have. I thought of an idea so astonishing that I shut down and rushed over here to share it.
From here on, my packaging material will include at least one of the bags from the cereal box. I am making little bill caps and I will tape the bill to the little card from bias tape. It will keep the brim from bending or getting smushed in transit. The hat will go inside the cereal bag from which I have wiped the cereal debris with a damp cloth. Of course I won't use them right away. They will need to be dry when I send them out. These go out in envelopes.
For items requiring a box, I will cut the bags in strips. I also use the plastic grocery store bags to pack things. If you rumple them and ball them up, they make good padding and you don't have to buy anything. The added advantage is no printer's ink from newspaper packaging.
By Marty D. from Knoxville, TN
I seldom use waxed paper. In fact I usually only use it when my husband makes hamburgers on the grill, to layer the raw patties in so they won't stick.
When empty, I use wide "scotch" tape to stick the top together of cereal boxes, then cut the top and bottom off to the depth of approximately 2 inches
I have been selling some of my daughter's outgrown clothing on ebay. To ship the items, I save and use empty cereal boxes and wrap them in inexpensive brown craft paper.
I use cereal boxes to hold craft stuff. I use one for colored paper, one for wax paper, and one for little paint holders. I glue a piece of construction paper to the front, and let the kids color it.
The bags that cereal comes in are great for storing all the leftover veggies in the freezer. I use a clothespin or chip clip to hold it closed.
You can use cereal box liners for tracing patterns and cutting sewing patterns. When cereal box liners are empty, carefully pull them apart to flatten at the seams. If done slowly, they won't tear.
Before throwing out that cereal box consider saving the pieces to uses as patterns for quilt pieces, purse patterns, etc. Simply cut away the 2 large front and back pieces and save in a Ziploc bag.
I use the cereal box liners as a protective surface when children are painting or gluing. Open the bag up on the seam so that you have a good size surface.
After a box of cereal is done I save the inner wax bag to reuse as wax paper. I cut it to lay it out flat, to use it to protect the kitchen table when the kids are doing craft projects or using playdoh.
I save old boxes to wrap in gift paper to make my wrapping experience as stress free as possible by having them ready now. Using colored duct tape to finish the edges also adds to the festive mood.
Cut the whole box diagonally, close the top flaps and tape them shut, voilá! Two magazine files free!
My kids are always tearing the boxes that playing cards come in. I cut a Little Debbie oatmeal box down to where it is a little taller than the cards and put the cards in it.
One thing I do as an avid recycler is to use the empty bag inside the cereal box for crushing graham crackers to make crust. I use crackers and dried bread to make crumbs for meatloaf.
I wanted a simple solution to throw out small trash and recycle cardboard boxes. I cut the four edges of the box along the creases, then I put tape on the top of the edges to make them smooth.
Here is what I do with some of my extra cereal boxes, and the end of the duct tape roll that has no adhesive on it. I join them to make pencil boxes for the table.
The waxed paper liners from cereal and cracker boxes have so many uses. The paper is very good quality. After you finish your box of cereal, take out the liner, and open it up so it can lie flat. It's best to do this over the sink to catch any crumbs. Wipe down with a sponge and allow to dry before using. Make sure you recycle the box, too!
Reusing A Cornflake Box. I am presently working on a 100 other uses of cereal boxes but I will just give you the best one of them.
This is a guide about making paper hats from cereal boxes. The light cardboard of these boxes can be reused in fun projects with the kids.
This guide is about cereal box purses. A fun reuse of a cereal box is to make a purse.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
How can we make toys from empty Kellogg's cereal boxes?
By Asian mom
You could tape the boxes shut securely, and make giant building blocks. If they get flattened, make more. If you look at a site called ehow.com, there are directions for making a doll house from pizza boxes. Since pizza and cereal boxes are about the same thickness of cardboard, the directions could be adapted to cereal boxes. Go to ehow and put how to make a doll house out of pizza boxes in the search box.
Depending on the kids' age(s), you can just give them the boxes to play with as is. Taping the end closed is great for making big "blocks" that are light enough for younger kids, and won't hurt anyone when they fall over on them.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Instead of paying for boxes to wrap presents in, I save boxes from cereal, oatmeal, crackers, microwave popcorn; just about any kind of box and put my presents in them. They come in all shapes and sizes and it also helps to keeps my family from guessing their present, especially if it's clothing. My daughter will be surprised to find that the present shaped like an aluminum foil box is actually a shirt! LOL! We will never forget the one year when she was little, she got all excited because she took off the wrapping paper and thought she had gotten a case of Mountain Dew! Too cute! :-)
By Tammy from Bristol, TN
If you will carefully open the glued side of the box by running a butter knife under the overlapped piece you can flatten the box and turn it inside out. The inside is plain cardboard. Now it can be decorated! If you have a foam hair roller and dip the end in paint and sponge it on the box will look like it is covered in Lifesaver candies. Or use other sponge shapes, the kids will love doing this. Leave flat until you need the box for a gift and reglue the side you opened. Makes them easier to store. Have fun!
T. Jo (01/28/2007)
By T. Jo
I love to decoupage the outside of the box with a "theme" that I know the recipient enjoys. Sports for the guys, Hannah Montana for my grand daughter etc. I use pages from old magazines to do this, sometimes I will make paper flowers from the nice glossy sheets. My family and friends always look forward to my "funky" art work. I make the gift tag the same way. (07/06/2008)
Here's another very frugal idea for a gift box- your empty boutique style (as well as rectangular size) Kleenex box! I have used these for years now and they make perfect gift boxes for a number of things! I wrap the exterior with very pretty Christmas, Birthday, Valentine's, etc., paper (that I have bought at after-Christmas sales, etc.), and it is beautiful!
Stop throwing out your empty tissue boxes and recycle them. TRY IT!
P.S.: The tissue boxes also come in a variety of designs; flowers, Disney characters, world monuments, etc., and so I sometimes do not even wrap the outside because they are too cool to cover up! (08/31/2008)
Hi Tammy, your ideas for cereal boxes are so great and all the ideas from everyone really help. I save boxes too and do a lot of things with them. One of my favorites is to take wide ribbon and "weave" a cover for the box out of two different colors or just one color. You add a handle out of covered coat hanger and you have a beautiful basket or gift box. I use covered pizza boxes for storing all kinds of things and you can stack them. Also you can cover the boxes with left over wallpaper, contact paper, or put a little bit of cotton batting, glued to the outside and cover with light weight material. I use the cereal boxes for storing magazines. Stand them on one end, cut the top off and down a little bit on one side, cover with whatever you want, and you have a keeper. A few of them standing side by side looks really nice. I enjoy reading all the ideas everyone has come up with.(03/26/2009)
I flatten the cereal boxes and especially the Ritz cracker boxes, trim off the flaps, and use to line my drawers and shelves. They lay flat, and are so colorful! (03/26/2009)
I don't use very much waxed paper-usually just for crafts or to make hamburgers on for the grill, so I don't like buying it. What I have been doing is saving the wax coated bags inside the cereal boxes. When I do need wax paper, I just grab one of those bags out of the drawer. Saves me several dollars a year.
By April from NW Missouri
Joes girl sent in a tip about using the liner of a cereal box for a freezer bag. I use those liners instead of waxed paper. First I tear the liner at the seams, then wash and dry thoroughly. To store freshly baked cookies, I use the liner in my plastic ware, putting a layer between cookies and folding (accordion style) to the next layer up. These liners also work well as a table cover when crafting (instead of newspaper under messy projects). Wadded up cereal liners make great packaging when mailing or wrapping gifts.
After I finish cereal, I take out the wax paper from in the cereal box. I wipe it out real good. I save it for storing leftovers, packing a sandwich in, etc. This saves me from having to buy wax paper.
Uses for cereal wax paper bags. I put flour and chicken pieces in them and shake to coat. Also use for left over homemade bread and rolls. (10/28/2004)
Take the inner liners from cereal boxes, wipe off the cereal "dust", cut them in strips and put them between cookies, meal patties or chicken pieces to freeze. That way they separate easily when you only want a few. It stays crisp in the freezer and the quality of the liner is great.
By Grannie Annie (10/29/2004)
I use my cereal packets for all kinds of stuff and this year I cut circles out of them to put in the top of my jam (10/29/2004)
By UK Anne
I save the plastic liners from cereal boxes to use instead of wax paper. Just carefully open the bag down the seams and wipe off with a cloth. I fold them and store them in a drawer. They are great for baking, crafts, etc. I like them better than wax paper because they lay flat and are usually a little heavier.
By Melinda (01/15/2005)
A great tip to save money on wax paper: a cheap alternative is the use the plastic bags that cereal comes in (in the boxes). Just separate along the seams and wash! I haven't purchased wax paper for 15 years and the plastic cereal bags are actually heavier than wax paper and work better!
By Kelly Wakefield (02/28/2005)
Cereal liners are sprayed with pesticides. I'm not sure even washing them thoroughly would remove it! I would strongly caution against using them for any kind of food storage! (07/03/2005)
Save the wax paper from inside your cereal boxes to freeze foods. I use two for each item and tape it shut. Foods keep very well.
By Angela from Defuniak Springs, FL (12/30/2005)
I been doing this too and I save them up. I usually have a need and a big need when I need them. I store them in the big Ziplock bags, they are compact after you zip it up to one corner before you close it all the way just stick a straw in one corner and suck out the air. Another method is to put a heavy book on it and then puff the air out of the edges as you zip all the way up. (01/22/2008)
I haven't seen waxed paper cereal bags in years. I do save the heavy plastic ones though. They're great for freezer bags or just about anything. (01/23/2008)
By Katie A.
So if cereal liners are sprayed with pesticides, why are they being used to hold cereal? So my kids are eating pesticides with their Cheerios? That comment from sharon makes no sense to me. I've been using the liners for years to cover my homemade preserves and to hold my kids packed lunches. if they are good enough to hold cereal, they are good enough to be recycled for other things! (07/30/2008)
I save all of my cereal boxes or any box that is about that size. I take those small cans of paint and some paint that is gold or silver color. I then spray my box with the color of paint that I want to use. When it's dry, I spray mists of the silver or gold or both on the box. When the box is dry, I take some of the Christmas cord found at craft stores. I make a couple holes on the narrow side of the box or two holes on each side of the box. Then I tie a knot on one end of the cord slip it through the first hole then through the last one then tie a knot on that end. Now you have a gift bag/box. You can also use stickers, ribbons, or just about any thing on your box to decorate it.
By Robin Mays from Bonham, TX
This has got to be one of the best frugal gift giving ideas I've heard. Great idea! Also if the box is too large for your gift item you can cut it down. Thanks for a great gift bag idea! (11/10/2006)
Dear Robin, I also think this is one of the best ideas I have heard. I have just gone through my pantry and found other boxes that could be used the same way. This is great as I hate throwing things out. Thanks for sharing. (11/10/2006)
This is a terrific idea- and one of the best tips I have heard about in a long time too!
Just one thing - i will have to start eating cereal now just so I can have the boxes! :D
Well done- fabulous idea, thank you.(11/11/2006)
Such a neat idea! Thanks for sharing! And something to do with kids! (11/11/2006)
I wish someone would post some pictures as I'm trying to understand exactly what this looks like. I don't mean to criticize either but doesn't this end up costing more in the cost of the paint than just buying a gift bag at the Dollar store? I understand wanting to re-use something and the idea of being creative but it doesn't sound frugal to me. Maybe I am missing something tho??? (11/11/2006)
Hi Robin, I really like your idea. It will be great to use up all the half empty spray cans that we have in the garage. I think the silver and gold misted over the other colors will look very elegant. I also have acrylic paints that I may sponge paint over the spray painted boxes, or use an old toothbrush and "flick" the acrylic paint on. You really helped me to get my creative juices flowing, thanks! (11/11/2006)
And, now, for being CAREFUL in opening those tough cereal boxes without damaging them! I like the idea, especially for my grandson's friends' parties, and especially since I can barely afford a little gift, much less the wrapping and ribbon. With a little more thinking I might be able to wrap it in kraft paper -bag, make some "finger prints", hand prints and secret code lettering out of tempera paint, even buying a "spy" gift that's so popular. Or, let my grandson glue on a painted picture especially for the friend's hobby. Good idea to "chew" on. LOL God bless you. : ) (11/11/2006)
Hello Robin, That is funny that you mentioned it here. I just discovered that same idea recently. At Christmas time I sometimes have a hard time finding bags or boxes to give all my gifts in. I just can't see spending a dollar to give a gift away in, thats the cost of a gift bag or box nowadays.
I spray mine with low odor spray paint and sprinkle wth glitter and sometimes glue on sprigs if pine tree from the x-mas lots you can pick up for free and add pine cones to the center and voila! Thanks for sharing. (11/11/2006)
By Crystel Tse
This is also a way to use up those small pieces of wrapping paper that seem to collect. Cover the box completely or cut out shapes and glue. And from the sewing/craft box....add bits of lace/ribbons/buttons...endless ways to dress up the box and have fun, too. (11/17/2006)
This is also a way to use up those small pieces of wrapping paper that seem to collect. Cover the box completely or cut out shapes and glue. And from the sewing/craft box....add bits of lace/ribbons/buttons... endless ways to dress up the box and have fun, too. (11/17/2006)
I too think this is a neat idea! You could also save the smaller boxes like the ones pop tarts came in or those breakfast bars. I also like the idea of using up left over wrapping paper or old wall paper scrapes.
My Mom use to get us to cut out x-mas pixs out of magazines and then glue to the box as decoration!
I use empty cereal boxes to put shredded paper in.You can close the top to keep it contained, and it will break down in the environment.
I find myself throwing out cardboard cereal boxes and things like pot pie boxes, etc, and I hate doing it, but I don't know how to recycle them as fast as we use that stuff.
Ways to reuse cereal boxes and the bag that comes inside the box. Post your ideas.