Sunday, December 20, 2009

Re-wrap: Reuse and Recycle Wrapping Ideas

Did you know that the average wrapping paper can't be recycled? Most communities require you to just throw it away.

According to bright it's estimated that in the US 50,000 cubic yards of wrapping paper is thrown away every year after the holidays. For those of you who are like my and have no idea how much that is but think it sounds like a lot I've put it into context. I googled what the average dump truck holds and got 5 cubic yards. So it would take 10,000 dump trucks to hall away all that wrapping paper!

I've done a few re-wrap workshops before and every time people were surprised by how great the finished gifts looked. I think people generally have this idea that it won't look as good as conventional wrapping paper but I think it actually looks better.

Now I'm not going to lie- it does take some extra time. And I'd love to say that I don't use any store bought wrapping paper- but that's just not true either. But I figure if at the very least I've cut down on what we would normally use- that's something. I also buy paper that can be recycled whenever I can.

You can use some really common things like brown paper grocery bags to wrap gifts. That's what I've used here. I glued some paper punched snowflakes on this after I wrapped it and tied it with a scrap of red ribbon. Would you ever guess this was a grocery bag!

You could also use the scraps of paper you have left after using the paper punch as a stencil. I painted some flakes onto another grocery bag- which was certainly faster than gluing the individual punched flakes onto the bag.

This one is very quick and easy. I covered the outside and lid of a mason jar with leftover pieces of scrapbook paper. They are great for holding things like tee shirts, scarves, mittens, hats, cookies and candies. And they can be reused from year to year.

Reused mailing tubes also make great containers for more than just posters. Clothes or candy- even knitting needles fit great into these tubes. I used a sharpie to color red lines- but you could also use paint, ribbon or cover the entire tube with a pretty scrapbook paper.

Making your own gift tags is also a great way to reuse materials and they can be recycled once the holiday is over. Check out Joanne at Ready, Set, Craft! who made some cute tags from old holiday cards. She also has a great idea for origami gift boxes using scrapbook paper.

And check out this post from How about orange to learn how to make your own gift bows using magazine pages- or really any paper.


  1. Really great post, Meg! LOVE the white snowflakes on the brown paper bag paper - they really pop! What wonderful ideas!

  2. Thanks Joanne- that's my favorite one. You've read this blog long enough to know how crazy I am for snowflakes! : )

    I just loved your gift boxes and tags!

  3. Hi Meg - wish you lived closer so I could take a class with you. I like the paper punch snowflake idea. Do you know if the paper used for scrap booking is recyclable. (the 12" square stuff) . I've taken to using this recently to wrap smaller gifts in.

    I use a fair amount of fabric as wrapping for my crafty friends but I did give my SIL a wedding gift of 2 pillows I made for her wrapped in a vintage embroidered tablecloth I'd picked up from a charity shop. I took all 4 corners of the cloth and knotted them together .. kind japanese style. It looked really pretty and was useful for picking the whole gift up too! The cloth only cost £3 too! Much cheaper than wrapping paper!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog btw.

  4. Hi Tracey, That tablecloth sounds lovely I'm sure it made fantastic wrapping for the wedding gift. As far as I know regular 12 by 12 or 8.5 by 11 scrapbook paper can be recycled but I suppose each town is different. The only scrapbook papers I've ever come across that can't be recycled are the plastic ones like acetate and the ones that are covered 100% in glitter.

  5. too cute! I'll be linking today

  6. Love that you used the paper bag- super idea!!


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