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That’s a Wrap!  Crafty Solutions to the Gift Wrap Conundrum

When I was 12, my mom insisted that we wrap every present in newspaper.  We were hippies dedicated to saving the environment, and I’ll be darned if we weren’t going to do it by eliminating a few sheets of colorful paper from the landfill.

That lasted one year.  We all missed the bright colors and shiny papers that typically decorated the space under the tree. Now, a few decades later, I can relate to my mom’s quest to reduce waste - but still crave the fun and flash of wrapping paper.

That got me to thinking about a project to create wrapping paper that was not only fun to look at, but also gave our family an opportunity to have an afternoon of creative family time while we made something special together.

Now, we each wrap at least one gift in paper we made ourselves.  When we’re really ambitious, we make paper with a particular gift and a certain someone in mind.  Check out these fun ideas for home-made wrapping paper.

1. Handprinted fabric wrapping paper.

I love this cute (and affordable) idea from - create a custom stamp, and then cut pieces of old sheets you can get these at your local thrift shop very inexpensively).  You can use any stamp, or make your own out of a pink eraser (or even a potato!).  Use acrylic paint(s) or permanent ink to ensure the colors stay.  See more at this tutorial.

2. Chalkboard paper and/or gift tags

Purchase Kraft paper or large poster paper in rolls at your local office supply store, or on  You can get spray paint, or a bucket of chalkboard paint at the local hardware store (and in smaller quantities at a craft store).  

Purchase bright colored chalk, and then paint the paper and decorate it with chalk. (Or, you can purchase chalkboard paper on Amazon).  Let the kids go crazy (we recommend you limit them to one side of the box so that the chalk doesn’t all rub off while you’re moving presents around.

3. Wax Paper Bow




If your kids are a bit older, and / or you have the time to work through a more complex project, this wax paper bow from Whipperberry is adorable, and can easily be dressed up with a little glue and glitter.  See for her tutorial.

4. Make Personalized word search

If your gift is small enough and/or you have an oversized printer, you can use any word processing software (or a spreadsheet software), to set up a word search with custom words.  You could include someone’s name, their favorite colors or movies, or your best wishes for their holiday.  We learned about this idea on Buzzfeed.

5. Colorful Yarn Decorations

Thanks to for this cute idea - and so easy - wrap the package in old grocery sacs, or Kraft roll paper and then decorate the package with yarn arranged in bright colors.

6. Classic color your own.


Get creative with the back of your existing wrapping paper turn the sheet over, and give the kids pens / glitter, paper scraps, glue sticks - whatever you think they’d like, and have them color the sheets with whatever inspires them.


You can also use pipe cleaners (the chenille bendy sticks), to make awesome ribbons and bows for packages - or, bend them to create themes - airplanes, soccer balls, whatever you like to create interesting and fun tags.

Build a Family Tradition

These fun ideas can make your packages extra special and you can set up a family tradition that is all your own.  Perhaps one Sunday in December, every year, you set aside a few hours to make special wrapping paper for friends and family. Your friends will love it, and it’s a tradition your kids can carry forward for generations (and Grandmas can get involved, too!)

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