With Christmas fast approaching, have you finished wrapping all your gifts yet? Please don’t hate me, but I have! I got an early start this year because I wanted to do a post about eco-friendly wrapping ideas. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to wrapping presents, but didn’t see any new ideas in the way of up-cycled materials, so I set out to make my own. I don’t want to be part of the problem when it comes to contributing to our landfills if possible. Did you know that Americans spend $2.6 billion on wrapping paper a year and about 2.3 million pounds end up in landfills?
We can do better.
But before I show you these new ideas for a truly “green” Christmas, I thought I would tell you about my post about “Handmade Christmas Gifts for the Coffee Lover“. In case you have some last minute shopping to do, check out this idea that you can make from dollar store items.
So, I’ve come up with three ways for you to wrap gifts in a eco-friendly way using recycled, up-cycled and reusable materials. I’ve outlined each of the them below complete with instructions, pics and links to buy them in order of good, better, best in terms of how good they are for the environment. Hurry up thoughand buy your materials. I don’t want you to miss out on getting everything in time to wrap things up.
Ok, here we go…
Good: Use Recycled Paper Materials – Did I tell you that one of my favorite movies is “The Sound of Music”? I’ve even stayed at the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. It was sooo cool (literally!) and maybe you see where I’m going with this. Yes, “brown paper packages tied up with strings” (I bet you’re singing it now too!) are a few of my favorite things. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please, I beg you go watch this video. So, when it comes to using paper, I love the idea of using brown recycled kraft paper. I do love the white as well.
The problem with kraft paper though is that its plain. I have a solution for that though – stencils! Not just any stencils though… a Makers Studio tri-mesh stencils. You see these stencils are not cut out Mylar ones that end up leaving smudge marks under the cutout. No, they work like screen printing ones that use a mesh, screen made up of thousands of tiny holes that allow the paint, ink or chalk to go through, leaving behind a super crisp image. A Makers Studio have dozens of designs and of course, I love to use the Christmas ones on my packages.
As you can see below, I used a cute snowman and pinecone wreath along with gel art ink for a few of my son’s gifts. The gel art ink can be used on paper or fabric. They also have a ton of Christmas words and pics too! Check ’em out here!
Better: Up-cycled Sheet Music or Book Pages – Music and Christmas go hand in hand, kinda like the Sound of Music above! I just love the look of aged sheet music. Every time I go thrifting and I see some, I grab it. If you don’ have any that is old, you can always age new sheet music using tea.
Once you figure out what you want to wrap, sometimes you’ll find that the sheets aren’t big enough to cover your entire package. In that case, I either tape them together or only use them to layer on top of recycled kraft paper. I also used the stencils and gel art ink to create graphics on the sheet music. After you’re done, you can frame it for some beautiful, original art work. If you like the rosettes, you can use the sheet music to make your embellishments as well. They’re really easy to use. I don’t have a tutorials, but here’s one I like.
Best: Up-cycling Sheets or Wrapping with Cloth. – Furoshiki is the ancient art of wrapping gifts from cloth. In fact, that’s where wrapping gifts all started! So, to make old, new again, grab some old sheets and cut them to size. Then you have two options – you can either decorate them before or after you wrap the actual gift. If you want an overall design, plan it out with the stencils and gel art ink that you want. Lay the fabric flat and them stencil away. Be sure to put a piece of cardboard under the cloth to ensure that the ink doesn’t bleed through. Once done, let it dry to the touch and then iron it by laying another piece of fabric on top and with the iron set to the cotton setting, run the iron over the stenciled image to set the ink and set out the wrinkles.
Now if you’d like to do the stencils after you’ve wrapped it, that’s fine to, but be sure to remember to iron the fabric to set the ink after the gift has been opened. Now you can re-use these wrapping every single year! If you don’t want to stencil your fabric, that’s fine too. There are some great techniques for wrapping gifts with plain clothes as is.
RIBBON AND BOWS
Now for the icing on the cake or the bow on the package (literally)! What makes a beautifully wrapped present a sure hit, are all the trimmings on top. The more creative the better! There are ways to do this in an eco-friendly way as well, and this is where I really had some fun. We’ll take the same good, better, best approach here to evaluate ideas.
Good: Using sustainably sourced ribbons You can use fabulous ribbon choices made from materials like:
Again, since some of it is plain, you can stencil designs on the ribbon like I did in the picture above with reindeer or plaid stencils and red gel art ink. Pro tip: use it again year after year for even more sustainable, green living. Here is a link to get some for yourself.
Tags: also make tags from recycled kraft paper and stencil them with white gel art ink. Aren’t they adorable? Check out the Christmas tag stencil I used for these. They include four designs.
Better: Natural Items. Put on your shoes and coat, and get ready to do some foraging. Since I live in Washington State, I’m lucky that I can just pop out my front door and grab one, but if you live somewhere else, any greenery will do. Really! To make it ‘Christmas- y” just add some red berries or buy some faux stuff and just plan to use it every year (and yes, it’s ok to ask for it back after all the gift have been opened!) I actually love this option the best because its so natural and simple. Add a bit of jute string to make it a farmhouse feast for the eyes!
Best: Make or Buy Reusable, Up-cycled Items: This is my absolute favorite idea. Ok, so for ribbon, I took some old blue genes that I used for panting. I cut out the legs and tore long, thin strips about 1/2 in. in width. I then wrapped them around my hand and tied it with a string in the middle. Using a scissors, cut the ends to make a pom-pom or leave as is for a looped bow. I then tie the bow onto my package. To add a little extra something, I cut some silver glitter ribbon and looped it in with the denim as seen above in the cloth wrapping paragraph. Here’s a video to help
I also made some farmhouse style salt dough gift tags to reuse every year. I made 5 for each person in my family. These are super fun to make with your kids too! Here’s how you do it.
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup white One Step Paint
- Stamps from A Makers Studio (AMS)
- Black or color of your choice gel art ink (AMS)
- Latex Gloves
If you are a visual person and would like to watch a video about how to make there, check out Amy Howard’s FB with instructions here. If you are a reader, check out my separate blog post on how to make these beauties! I absolutely LOVE these. They are so farmhouse fantastic!
Well, that’s it for now. What idea do you like the best? Please let me know if the comments below, because it helps me create content that you need and want. As always, if you have any questions or need any help, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through social media. You can find me on Pinterest, Facebook, IG and now YouTube. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for lots of creative up-cycling and furniture painting tutorials.
I hope ya’ll have a fabulous very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!