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Gift wrapping ideas using recycled materials

Gift wrapping ideas using recycled materials

It’s that time of year – I love the idea of beautifully wrapped gifts but confess it’s not my natural forte. Did you know that experts estimate that paper waste over Christmas is equivalent to 5-12 million litres of biofuel – enough to power a bus to go to the moon 20 times (source – friends of the earth). That’s a LOT of wrapping paper. What’s more it is often not suitable for recycling “Wrapping paper is often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver coloured shapes, glitter, plastics etc which cannot be recycled” (recycle now)

This year I have set myself a challenge to wrap parcels with everyday household items.

use what you have, DIY gift wrap

Gift wrapping ideas using recycled materials


Brown paper is soon transformed into unique wrapping, draw on your own design, add some cut out shapes, finish with ribbon.

Briwn paper wrapping
Newspaper or magazines, use as sheets of paper or convert them into gift bags

paper wrapping of gifts
Maps – I’m kicking myself for recycling my road atlas (the page I use regularly had become unreadable). I’ve stitched a few pages of a street atlas together in order to wrap my brothers gift.


T Towels – perfect for cookbooks don’t you think?!

T Towel gift wrapping

Scarves, I’ve hemmed some silk to gift wrap furoshik  style (Japanese style, video here)

furoshik - gift wrapping with silk scarf

You could easily whip up a pull cord bag instead.

Fabric drawstring bag

Former clothes as bottle bags – this one is made from a shirt sleeve. The tutorial is here, it’s a very quick sew for quirky fun wrapping.

DIY Bottle bag


Cellophane – great for edible gifts. Keep the cellophane from flowers, give it a suitable clean and there you go:)

Cellophane wrapping - biscotti

Cereal boxes transformed into gift bags, find the tutorial to make them here.



Lastly don’t forget gift tags – there is nothing worse than hunting round for a scribbled note on the wrapping paper!!  I love using luggage labels, they are super cute and ready-made.

Luggage tag

Alternatively make your own gift tags from last years Christmas cards. Here’s mine from a few years ago, with a how to make your own here.

Upcycled Gift Tags


Short of brown paper, pens, luggage labels? Check out Eurooffice for a variety of stationery supplies. Plus they are running daily giveaways in the run up to Christmas. This post was sponsored by Eurooffice.







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Saturday 5th of March 2016

What brilliant ideas! x

Lucy Blossom

Wednesday 30th of December 2015

Some lovely thrifty ideas Vicky, thank for sharing

Little Vintage Chest

Saturday 19th of December 2015

GREAT ideas! I shared your post with all my friends. I had no idea traditional wrapping papers are such a waste! From now on I will wrap all my gifts in recycled materials. The bottle in a sleeve is my favorite.


Sunday 20th of December 2015

Thanks so much for sharing:) Hope you have a lovely Christmas.


Friday 18th of December 2015

I like using brown paper and raffia or I've made pompoms from wool scraps. For small gifts I've used a4 printer paper with a home made (potato) tree stamp. For next year I'm going to try and make gift boxes from old Christmas Cards. I love your use of shirt sleeves for giving bottles in. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas X

Free Spirit Designs

Tuesday 15th of December 2015

I always think wrapping paper is such a waste, especially as, like you say, it often can't be recycled. You've got some great ideas here, they will look fab under your tree! :)

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