Before you rip into all the presents, remember that you can repurpose used gift wrap (and boxes) before recycling them. The less torn the wrapping is, the more options you have for repurposing gift wrapping paper. But if half the fun for kids is actually ripping into the presents, don’t worry: there are plenty of things you can use torn gift paper for, too.
Repurposing used gift wrap
- You can reuse intact pieces of used gift to wrap new presents next year. By reusing what’s supposed to be a single use product, you’re saving some trees.
- Make a collage of torn gift wrap and frame it or mount it, and you have decorative wall art.
- Line drawers with used gift wrap – and tissue paper! This can be both decorative and protective, since splinters from the inside of drawers can occasionally find their way into sweaters and underwear.
- Use torn gift wrap as decorative padding for gift bags or gifts you’re shipping. This is much better than even recyclable forms of foam popcorn or those little plastic airbags. And wadded paper really works – I’ve used wadded paper to pack delicate stuff for multiple very long-distance moves, and never had anything break.
- Add torn pieces to a scrapbook for decoration. This is also a great way to remember a particular occasion in your scrapbook – with an actual piece of it.
- Make a book cover out of it. This works better with thick, strong gift wrap, but you can always glue together layers of magazine or other recyclable paper with the gift wrap on top to get a nice, sturdy piece of paper to work with.
- Save it to make small gift cards and tags for next years’ presents. Just cut out rectangles from the used gift wrap, fold them in half, punch a hole through the top corner at the fold for attaching to a ribbon or string, and write your message inside.
- Take one of those nice, sturdy, handled shopping bags from an expensive shop and glue used gift wrap on it to cover up the brand name. Now you have a really nice gift bag and no need for a box or additional wrapping paper.
- Use it to wrap a Pringles can, which can be used to hold art supplies or sewing supplies. You can also use this to hold decorative dried botanicals and put them around your home for decoration.
- Trim it into decorative shapes (snowflakes, hearts, whatever you like) and hang them in your windows. This is really festive for occasions like Christmas and Chanukah.
- Make ornaments by gluing used gift wrap to cardboard or wood, and attaching a hangar, stand or suction cup (depending whether you want it for a tree, mantle or window).
- If you’ve got a crafty idea for recycled paper, but think your gift wrap might be too flimsy, get a bottle of gesso. Brush it onto the back of the paper. It dries into a hard but flexible surface, reinforcing the paper so you can use it in projects requiring sturdier paper.