DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

These sustainable gift wrapping ideas not only reduce waste, but also make your presents prettier and feel more personal than ever. Read on for some amazing eco-friendly wrapping paper inspiration.

6 October 2023

One of the most exciting things about birthdays and Christmas is ripping open the wrapping paper to see what wonderful goodies are inside, but what happens to the paper once it has served its purpose? A lot ends up in landfill due to the presence of laminates, glitters, or other non-paper additives such as sticky tape that can’t be recycled. This is why we’ve come up with some eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas that not only look awesome, but can also reduce waste.

It’s believed that the UK alone uses approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. That’s nearly enough to get from the Earth to the Moon. That’s a lot of paper and a lot of waste, but there’s a silver lining! Reusable wrapping paper is not only an environment-conscious alternative, but it’s an aesthetic upgrade from mass-produced wrapping paper you pick up in the supermarket.

Everyone loves a well wrapped gift – there are even entire YouTube channels dedicated to wrapping gifts – but when it comes to wrapping birthday, Christmas, anniversary or housewarming presents this year, these sustainable gift wrapping ideas can inspire ways to save.

This article will guide you through a trove of innovative, easy-to-create eco-friendly wrapping paper.

Fabulous Furoshiki

Wrapping a gift in eco friendly reusable fabric package (furoshiki). (Credit: Yummy pic via Getty Images)

Furoshiki refers to a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, which is used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. The word can be translated as ‘bath spread,’ as it originally described the cloth used to bundle clothes while at the sento (public baths) to prevent them from being mixed up with others. Over time, the use of furoshiki expanded, and it became a popular method for carrying and wrapping a variety of items.

The beauty of furoshiki is in its simplicity and versatility. With a single, beautifully designed cloth, you can wrap and carry almost anything. More recently, people are using furoshiki as eco-friendly gift wrapping, and an aesthetically pleasing alternative to single-use paper and plastic wrappings. Its reusable nature makes it one of the best sustainable gift wrapping ideas.

Creative Craft Paper

Eco-friendly wrapped gifts. (Credit: ArtistGNDphotography via Getty Images)

A significant portion of the wrapping paper we buy in the supermarket ends up in landfill, but plain brown paper – sustainable wrapping paper which is biodegradable and recyclable – doesn’t. On the surface, plain old brown paper isn’t that exciting, but that’s where your creativity comes in!

Instead of using plastic sticky tape, use natural twine to tie it up, and you don’t have to stop there. Recycled name cards add to the rustic feel and you can even include pine cones, dried plants or a few small sprigs from your Christmas tree to complement the look. This is one of the easiest eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas to try if you’re looking to move away from shop-bought paper.

Marvellous Magazines

A Christmas gift wrapped in old newspaper and tied with string. (Credit: Photos by Sally Jane Photographic Art via Getty Images)

Even though most of us are digital devotees, there’s something uniquely personal about a gift wrapped in a page from a magazine or newspaper. You can even peer through your periodicals to find a story or a photo relevant to the gift you’re giving.

Most magazines and newspapers can be recycled, but if you’re looking for eco-friendly wrapping paper that can be reused before it gets recycled, even better! Other variations on a theme include pages from old books, sheet music, or scripts from school plays.

Brilliant Boxes

A small cardboard box, complete with a string bow. (Credit: JoKMedia via Getty Images)

Online shopping usually results in lots of boxes, but what do you do with them? Hopefully most will go into recycling which is great, but they also make for great sustainable gift wrapping ideas.

Peel off the address label and decorate it with your own artwork, cutouts from magazines or the stuff that comes through the door like takeaway menus and double-glazing adverts or indeed anything you want! It’s fun and different and makes for a real talking point under the tree.

Joyous Jars

An elegant jam jar filled with sweets with a thank you gift tag. (Credit: Jude Evans via Getty Images)

You’ll struggle to get a train set or a new pair of trainers into a small glass jar, but they make one of the best eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas for small, personal items like jewellery or homemade candles, bath salts, fudge or jam.

You can decorate the jars with your own designs and use a biodegradable twine for a finishing touch, and the best bit is that the jars are reusable for years!

And There’s More…

A gift using child’s artwork as wrapping paper. (Credit: Tina Terras & Michael Walter via Getty Images)

There are dozens of great reusable wrapping paper ideas, but some of the more creative ideas also include using children’s artwork as wrapping for grandparent’s gifts, old pillowcases tied with colourful twine, the pages from last years’ wall calendar, old (but clean) crisps tubes, or even the arms from old jumpers to give a bottle of wine, but make sure you sew the openings up!

A Wrapping Revolution

Gifts in sustainable wrapping (Credit: mapodile via Getty Images)

DIY eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas can provide both a creative endeavour and a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Handcrafted and personal, these sustainable wrapping paper alternatives not only enhance the joy of giving but also leave a lasting impression on the recipient, making every gift even more memorable.

Now that’s a wrap!


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