Now that the presents are unwrapped and the chaos has been cleared you are probably left with a ton of waste: cardboard, gift-wrap, ribbon, cards, etc. I love the holidays but admittedly it is a wasteful time of year, especially when it comes to paper. And even the most eco-friendly of us gets so wrapped up in the frenetic pace of the season that we often quietly take a break from the good recycling/re-use habits we normally stick to throughout the year.
When I mentioned I would be posting about ideas for recycling gift wrap to my husband he laughed and said, “You mean you’re going to write about throwing it all away?” He’s right, we usually throw it away, but this year I decided to think up some alternatives to the wastebasket. You can use these ideas for either the used gift wrap you have collected in a garbage bag or for the partial rolls of leftover gift wrap you always end up with at the end of the season.
10 Creative Ideas for Recycling Gift Wrap
- Shred it! This is the easiest idea of all, especially when it comes to the ripped and crushed paper from gifts. Shred it and use it for filler in packages.
- Make new paper Making paper from old paper using this tutorial.
- Paper Beads This is great use for all that fancy and colorful paper! Turn it into beads and necklaces! Check out this tutorial on Red Ted Art for a complete step-by step: PAPER BEADS.
- Paper Flowers Turn the leftover paper into flowers! There are so many tutorials online; although I’d probably start here at Tip Nut with their 50+ collection of tutorials.
- Scrap booking Although gift-wrap is much flimsier why not use it to adorn some scrap booking pages, maybe even those commemorating this year’s festivities?
- Collages Collage is a great way to use leftover paper for great effect, and my kids love it. Inspired by 365 Things to Do with Paper and Cardboard (Usborne Activities) we made telephone book airplane collages shown above. Why not do the same with gift-wrap, maybe some winter themed collages?
- Garland Make a paper garland! I recommend laminating the wrapping paper to chipboard first so that it is sturdy. Then cut shapes from it and sew! Here is an beautiful example of a PAPER STAR GARLAND from Picklebums.
- Paper Weaving Cut your paper into strips and weave with it! This is best suited for sturdier papers.
- Handmade Cards If you have some beautiful paper scraps consider gluing them down on the front of plain folded cards for some everyday greeting cards. If the paper is really “Christmassy”, consider using them for Christmas thank you’s or next year’s Christmas cards. Here’s an example of using the leftover wrap for sweet kid-made Thank You Cards!
- Christmas Ornaments Yes, the season is coming to an end but why not make a few special Christmas ornaments commemorating this year? I whipped up this one yesterday, just fooling around: Using spray adhesive, glue some leftover gift-wrap to cardboard (from toy packaging of course), then cut out a circle with a slot cut halfway down the middle, fit and bend the pieces together, glue, and then Mod Podge the whole thing for lasting effect. and Make sure to write the name of the year on them so you can look back and remember the good times!
Want more creative ideas for kids and grown-ups?
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