Green and frugal gift wrap

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. I bought no wrapping paper again this year, and my packages didn’t suffer for it. I love the recycled gift wrap method.

These are some of my wrapped holiday gifts. A lot of them are for kids, so they’re not as elegant as they sometimes turn out. But it shows my three basic methods: recycled, and two different kinds of gift bags. I didn’t buy any wrapping paper, ribbons, bags, or even tags this year. In fact, I haven’t bought wrapping paper for several years. The main thing I do is keep all the wrapping I receive and recycle it.

I started doing this several years ago because I liked the way a certain gift shop in our neighborhood did their wrapping and I started copying it. I especially like these vaguely Japanese-looking ones, and that is the way I try to wrap as much as possible. These are children’s versions of the style, and the ones in the back are just random pieces patched together.

These are a more “adult” version of that style. All you need to do is save old wrapping paper, cards, and tags, cut them up, and you’re ready to go. Anyone can do it, you don’t have to be an artist. They always come out looking good.

The other thing I like to do is use bags. These felt bags are great for kids and the velvet bag is nice for jewelry or other smaller gifts for adults. If I had children, I would use a lot of these types of bags and reuse them every year. I bought these kids’ bags, and the velvet bag came with a cosmetic purchase, but you can also make your own bags. Kristen at The Frugal Girl lays it out for you with this cloth bag tutorial.

Finally, these paper type of bags are always great for last-minute wrapping and odd-sized gifts. And there’s no reason to ever throw them away. They can be reused indefinitely.
As I said, I started my recycled wrapping habits because I liked the aesthetic, but over the years I came to appreciate how the method was also green and frugal. Because I’d rather spend my money on other things, and I hate to think of all the wrapping paper being manufactured and then thrown away.

I hope some of these photos inspire you to give it a try. I wish they were clearer, but my camera really is on its last leg. There’s no end to what you can create with this simple and beautiful, green and frugal wrapping style.

What do you use for wrapping gifts? What are some of your best green and frugal tips? Please share them in the Comments section.

Tomorrow I’ll bring you some last minute non-consumer holiday gift ideas, for those of you who are super-procrastinators.


  1. Angela says

    ferabeth- I love the idea of using the scotch tin, and the rice bag is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

    I used to see those antique punch mugs a lot when I was a kid, not so much anymore.

  2. Elaine says

    I gave my friend her gifts wrapped in new Christmas kitchen towels. She was thrilled with them! Turns out that she doesn’t have any Christmas kitchen items. I got the towels at Walgreens, and they were really inexpensive.

  3. says

    Love the gift wrap ideas! Oh good…{Tomorrow I’ll bring you some last minute non-consumer holiday gift ideas, for those of you who are super-procrastinators.} I will be checking back…I need this!!

  4. says

    Like you, I use recycled bags, bows, tags (from cards), ribbon, and wrapping paper.

    I also use . . . the Sunday comics, the stock market listings (with big red bows), packing materials from packages we’ve received, etc.

    Thanks for the great post. The photos look fine.

  5. says

    Angela, your pictures look fine to me. I really like the way you wrapped gifts and the frugal methods. Here is a link to my recent post about the same subject. I hope it is okay to put this link.

    I have promised myself that I will make bags during the year for gifts, bags from lots of velveteen that I have. Of course, I need some for anytime of the year. Those felt bags are wonderful. Linda


  1. […] Green and frugal gift wrap [Great ideas on reusing gift wrap and other items to create some really cool-looking gifts–I think I’m gonna try the first example next Christmas.] ~Angela Barton at My Year Without Spending If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! Related Posts:Link Love 3/4/11Link Love 2/25/11Link Love 2/18/11 […]

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