32+ Things to Wrap Presents with Besides Wrapping Paper

Looking for some creative alternatives to gift wrap and wrapping paper? From sheet music to pages from ruined children’s books to silk scarves, here are all sorts of fun (and earth friendly!) things to wrap presents with. Not only are they better for the environment, but many of them are free, too.
In many cases, the “wrapping” can be used by the recipient, too.
  • Comics


  • Children’s artwork


  • Silk scarves


  • Old maps   

  • Brown paper bags 


  • Catalog pages

  • Vintage or interesting boxes  31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

  • Old phone book pages (let kids decorate these with stamps or markers)

  • Old calendar pages

  • Pages from old, unwanted books

  • Felt scraps tied up with string or ribbon  31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

  • Pages from ruined children’s books (this is a great way to reuse that sweet children’s book that gets ripped up or drawn all over)

  • Reused gift bags

  • Work documents like blueprints and spreadsheets

  • Vintage pillow cases (this is good for oversized or oddly shaped gifts — tie shut with some silk ribbon)

  • Tea towels and dish towels (Head to The Housewife Rookie for more on this sweet idea)31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

  • Wallpaper (left over rolls or pages from old sample books)

  • Lunch bags  31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

  • Pages from children’s coloring books and workbooks

  • Crossword puzzle pages

  • Newsprint end rolls (most newspapers will give this away free, then you and the kids can decorate it if you like)

  • Baby blankets

  • Magazine pages

  • Burlap sacks (we buy organic imported rice in bulk at Costco that comes in wonderful burlap sacks with zippers, and you can also look for bags from coffee beans)  31 great things to wrap presents in besides wrapping paper

  • Newspaper pages (you can also let kids paint it as an art project first)

  • Sheet music 


  • Old posters

  • Gift boxes (they can be reused or used to store the present)

  • New reusable shopping bags (the recipient can then use the bags for shopping!)

  • Scrap fabric


  • Tins with lids  31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

  • Pages from an old atlas  31 things to wrap presents with besides wrapping paper

We’ve also used old mylar balloons, colorful tissue paper and decorated shipping boxes in a pinch, too.

What to do about especially large or oddly shaped presents?

Things like nice blankets (this can be part of the gift too!), quilts, vintage sheets, reusable gift bags, newspaper pages, or simply lengths of fabric (sew it into a bag shape if you’re up for it, or simply gather and tie it) can all work well.  Most of these can be used in another way once the gift is opened.
And in a pinch, there’s always the old standby of large garbage bags — especially if you add some fun trimmings.  It’s what’s inside that counts!

You can save trimmings like lengths of ribbon in glass jars for a festive, easy way to store bits of decorations to add something special to your packages. Save bows in one of your holiday gift bags.
If you plan on using fabric like scarves or tea towels to wrap gifts, be sure to check out this wonderful page from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment about how to use a furoshiki (a large square of fabric) to wrap gifts in all sorts of creative, wonderful ways.
Furoshiki fold for presents
Do you have other suggestions?  Please leave them in the comments!
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Post Author: Alicia Bayer

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