Guide to Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap

You know that rolls and rolls of paper aren't the best choice for wrapping holiday gifts. Try these eco-friendly gift wrap options instead!

It’s giftwrap time, y’all. But you know that rolls and rolls of paper aren’t the best choice for wrapping holiday gifts. Try these eco-friendly gift wrap options instead!

You know that rolls and rolls of paper aren't the best choice for wrapping holiday gifts. Try these eco-friendly gift wrap options instead!

Household waste skyrockets during the holidays, and gift wrap plays a big part in that jump. Handmade or upcycled gift wrap might seem like a bit pain, but it doesn’t have to be! These eco-friendly gift wrap ideas include ideas that are very easy and some that take a bit more time. Choose what’s right for your gifts and your schedule!

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Guide

Fabric Gift BagFuroshiki

Don’t let the name intimidate you! Furoshiki is a method for wrapping gifts in beautiful, reusable fabrics. The wrapping becomes part of the gift.

Handmade Cloth Gift Bags

If you can sew a straight line, you can make these easy fabric gift bags. Bonus points if you use reclaimed fabric, like thrifted linens, to make them! These easy-to-sew drawstring bags are also a great stash-busting way to wrap holiday gifts.

Old Newspapers

Wrapping presents in the funny pages is like the original upcycled gift wrap. You can also use old newspapers to make sturdy gift bags that will hold up to a few reuses. Just remember: if you buy a paper just to use as gift wrap, you’re not upcycling!

altoids-tin-gift-holderStashed Paper Gift Bags

This is a reuse tactic I learned from my mother. When you get a gift in a gift bag, save the gift bag. Mom (and now I) always keeps a box in the closet stuffed with gift bags she’s received and the tissue paper that came with them. I’m pretty sure that she hasn’t bought gift wrap in decades.

Baskets (and other fun containers)

Fabric isn’t the only eco-friendly gift wrap that can be part of the gift. Arrange your gifts in pretty baskets, boxes, tins, and jars that your recipients will love to reuse!

Old Boxes

Cover old boxes in reclaimed paper (like sheet music or newspaper), and finish it off with some upcycled embellishments for a cute holiday package! Your box doesn’t even have to be square. Check out this gift box made from an old oatmeal container!

9 DIY Gift Wrapping Ideas: Junk Mail Gift TagsPacking Paper

Have you gotten any packages stuffed with brown packing paper? Hoard it! It makes the best gift wrap! I have a huge stash of this in my closet. Sometimes, I use it plain and embellish with ribbon or a gift topper. Other times, I let my kid draw all over it for custom gift wrap that will melt any grandparent’s heart.


You don’t even need to buy your embellishments new! There are tons of ways to make gift toppers, tags, and even ribbons from upcycled materials. These are a few ideas to get you started.

+ Make upcycled ribbon from stash fabric.

+ Turn old magazine or catalog pages into pretty gift bows.

Collect old coffee sleeves to make embellishments.

+ Make chalkboard tags that your recipients can reuse easily.

+ Save the security envelopes that come with junk mail credit card offers and turn them into gift tags.

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards also play a huge part in holiday waste. Instead of buying new cards, try one of these upcycled greeting card ideas instead.

After the Holidays are Over

Of course, even if you wrap all of your gifts in recycled materials, chances are you’ll end up with gifts wrapped in paper gift wrap and holiday cards from other people. Don’t just toss that pretty paper into the recycle bin! There are lots of fun ways to reuse wrapping paper when the holidays are over. You can also reuse greeting cards and even reuse those plastic gift cards!

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