Holiday Projects: Upcycled Gift Wrap

Today we are sharing our final Holiday Project of the season.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  If you’ve made projects from this series, I would love to hear your stories.  If you took pictures of your creations, you can share them on The Natural Beauty Workshop’s Flickr Photo Pool.

Beautifully decorated paper is a huge part of many holiday traditions.  Countless rolls of wrapping paper are sold worldwide each year to make the holidays a little extra special.  Taking a greener approach to holiday gift wrap can be challenging, but with a little creativity you can create your own unique holiday gift wrap by re-using household materials that would normally go to waste!

Fusing Plastic BagsPlastic shopping bags can be fused together using an iron and two sheets of paper.  The fused material is sturdy enough to be sewn, and makes great gift bags or reusable shopping bags!  In this tutorial, Etsy Labs shows you the process step by step.  We’ve found that thick plastic bags work best.  Thin shopping bags, such as your run of the mill grocery bags are a little trickier to work with.


Upcycled Wrapping Paper

Paper shopping bags are perfect for making upcycled gift wrap.  In this video tutorial, Etsy Labs shows you how to cut and iron your paper shopping bags to create a blank canvas that is perfect for gift wrap.  In this tutorial the paper is screen printed, but you can also decorate it with paint or stamps.  This also makea a great family project as kids will have lots of fun decorating this upcycled gift wrap with crayons.

Ways to Re-Use Wrapping Paper
No matter how creative you may get with your own wrapping, you are bound to encounter plenty of gift wrap during the holidays.  While most of it will probably wind up in the garbage can, here are some creative ways to re-use wrapping paper:

  • Salvage the largest pieces, and save them. Many types of wrapping paper can be ironed on a low setting and used again.
  • Wrapping paper and old newsprint is great for washing windows.  After wetting your windows with a mix of vinegar and water, wipe them dry using crumpled gift wrap or newspaper.  You’ll be surprised with the sparkling, streak free shine.
  • Use the crumpled paper as packing material for shipping.  Crushed paper makes great cushioning for shipping fragile items.  This would be especially fun for shipping out late holiday gifts.
  • Small scraps of wrapping paper can be used to decoupage ornaments, boxes, and other small objects, making adorable handmade decorations.
  • Large pieces can be used as covers for school books.
  • If you have a knack for folding, wrapping paper can be used to make lucky stars or other small origami projects.
  • Wrapping paper scraps are excellent for creating paper beads.  A similar technique can be used to create household objects like coasters, frames, or ironically, waste paper baskets.

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