Alternative Wrapping Paper Ideas

I’ve been buying gifts like crazy online today, trying to get my orders shipped so they arrive before the big day.  Pretty soon, the boxes will start piling up and I’m going to need to bust out the tape and ribbons and rolls of – WAIT!  NO!  There’s got to be a better way.  I can’t see all that paper getting shoved into trash bags and tossed in the garbage this year without feeling guilty.  [Thanks to an article I read on Earth 911 informing me that most wrapping paper cannot be recycled due to dyes, additives, the tape, etc. and that around 4 million TONS of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste is produced during the holiday season.  This is definitely going to lead to a post on ways to reuse wrapping paper.]

Know someone that loves to sew?  Wrap their gift in old sewing patterns!  Even if they don’t sew, the idea is still really cool – I’m stealing this one for sure!  Read the full tutorial by Rikkianne at Creature Comforts.


This idea is similar to the one above, but with a masculine touch.  Recycled architecture plans [via re-nest]!  Now, where can I get my hands on some of those?  [Andy Taylor, are you reading this?  lol]


These wrapping alternatives are even better than the traditional wrap if you ask me … so much more personal and creative.  I love the idea of wrapping up wine bottles with tea towels – two gifts in one!  These lovely designs are from Studiopatro in San Fransisco.


A burlap sack?  Yes, a burlap sack.  It never looked so good thanks to Faded Plains [there are some other great wrapping ideas to check out there as well!].


So what have we learned?  Traditional wrapping paper usage is wasteful.  Tea towels, burlap sacks, old sewing patterns or blueprints, newspaper, wallpaper scraps, old book pages, magazines pages, shopping bags … geez – almost anything is a better alternative.  Take a look around your house and wrap up something unique.  Then send me a picture. XO!


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  • Carin
    December 15, 2009 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I have also used newspapers, cartoon sections for kids, business sections for the businessman in your life, the arts section for the artist, etc. Another one of my favorites has been brown paper bags, the kids can decorate with handprints, footprints, draw pictures, makes them special for them and the person receiving the gift. You have some great ideas and it just got my brain thinking about all the possibilities in my house.

  • December 16, 2009 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for featuring the sewing pattern tutorial :) Love the architecture plans!

  • December 18, 2009 - 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Sewing patterns are great! Rikkianne is so creative.

    I handstitched this furoshiki wrap with vintage cotton.

    It took me too long to make it so I don’t think I can give it away. I’m too attached to it. But the concept is to use whatever fabric you have to wrap presents. I plan to use some old scarves that I don’t use to wrap this year’s gifts. And I hope the recipients will use them to wrap their gifts. Imagine my scarves going around the world being used as furoshiki like that? Awesome. Upcycle whatever we have is my motto.

  • December 18, 2009 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

    i love fabric wrapping aka fuoshiki, karen! there is a great tutorial over on etsy that everyone should check out!!

  • April 23, 2013 - 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Ended up here looking for birthday wrapping paper ideas, love the burlap sack. Thanks!

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