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Beautiful Ways to Wrap and Decorate Gifts with Scrap Paper

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Make your gifts look gorgeous with these easy scrap paper ideas.


There’s nothing quite like receiving a gorgeously wrapped gift. The box could contain an ugly necktie or some stale fruitcake, but the presentation can still make you feel like it’s the most meaningful gift in the world.

While gift wrap, bows, and embellishments can add up, creating beautifully wrapped gifts doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, with the paper you have lying around your house, you can probably put together some stunningly wrapped packages.

Use these ideas for inspiration:

Embellished newspaper: Use black and white newspaper to create one-of-a-kind gift wrap by stamping patterns on it. Carve a simple design like a heart or a star into a potato half, or cut a sponge into a crescent or a square, then use acrylic paint in a bright color like purple, red, or green, to stamp rows of the shape into the paper. Let the paint dry before wrapping.

Origami: Learn some simple origami techniques to create stars, swans, or seasonal shapes to top your gift. The recipient might like it so much, they’ll save it to use as a tree ornament.

Paper bows: Use bits of colored paper or magazine pages to fashion a stylized paper bow. You can also cut up pages from a magazine to make a bow that looks similar to the stick-on versions available in the gift-wrap aisle.

Paper beads: Use magazine paper to fashion colorful paper beads, and string them together to create an unusual embellishment for your gifts. The strings of beads can double as garlands for the tree after the gift is opened.

Paper “ribbons”: Cut long strips of paper from interesting sources such as maps, menus (perfect for a food-related gift), and foreign-language newspapers, and tape a band of the paper around the middle of the gift to form an unusual “ribbon.” You can even layer different pieces of paper for a more ornate effect.

DIY gift bags: If you have leftover painter’s paper, kraft paper, blueprints, posters, or other large-sized paper, use it to make a gift bag. It’s the perfect vessel for those little hard-to-wrap trinkets.

Kids’ artwork: Not every one of the drawings or paintings your kids make is worthy of saving for posterity, but it’s also sad to toss it. Consider using those doodles instead to wrap packages. Buying a roll of art paper for your kids to use for their masterpieces ensures that your one-of-a-kind gift wrap is big enough to wrap larger boxes.

Brown bags: Brown craft paper makes a wonderfully rustic gift wrap that can be embellished in any number of ways. But don’t worry about paying for a roll of it. Instead, cut up brown paper shopping bags or lunch bags (use the inside if they’re printed). Then embellish them with butcher’s twine, sprigs of evergreen, or a design made from rubber stamps.

How do you use household paper scraps to make gift wrap? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

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  • fiona m. 1 year ago
    At Christmas time, I cut out the images (snowmen etc) from leftover scraps of wrapping paper to make tags.
  • Judith R. 1 year ago
    Our family uses homemade cloth gift bags!
  • Lisa H. 1 year ago
    Business envelopes make pretty wrapping for small jewelry boxes. The patterns are interesting and pretty.
  • Desiree S. 1 year ago
    I use newspaper for gift wrap and bags
  • Elisabeth E. 1 year ago
    I have a neighbor who is always shipping things so I keep and give her all my boxes and wrapping cello and also Styrofoam that I get. I never throw mine away.
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