Mother Earth Living

Green Gift Wrap: Reused and Reusable Wrap

You can stop buying virgin wrapping paper and plastic bows.
By Stephanie Nelson
November/December 2009
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Trash Bag Gift Wrap
Photo By Michelle Galins

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You can stop buying virgin wrapping paper and plastic bows. Wrapping gifts with reused and reusable items means less waste and a more creative presentation.

Trash bag gift wrap 

• Printed plastic bag
• Long twist-tie
• Mesh fruit bag

• Scissors


1. Using craft scissors, cut off plastic bag’s bottom seam, handles and one side seam.

2. Unfold the plastic rectangle so it lays flat and cut it into vertical strips roughly 1 inch wide.

3. Gather all the strips and tightly twist-tie the center of the strips together.

4. Loosely fold strips toward the twist tie on both sides.

5. Gently fold the two sides toward the center and hold the bow upside down. Cut ½- to 1-inch snips into the plastic strips so you can "fan out" your bow more. Flip bow over and fan out to create volume.

6. Attach bow to mesh bag using ends of twist-tie.

7. Fluff strips of the plastic topper so it resembles a full circle.


1. Cut plastic tag off mesh fruit bag.

2. Place gift inside the bag.
Optional: Wrap gift in newspaper or old tissue paper before placing it in bag.

Cookie cutter wrap

• Cookie cutter (easy to find at garage sales or thrift stores)
• Crayons, paints or markers
• Cereal, shoe or other used box
• Brown grocery bag
• Ribbon (reuse a cloth ribbon or buy reusable cloth ribbon)


1. Cut along one of the grocery bag’s vertical seams and cut off bottom of bag and discard.

2. Place gift in the box.

3. Flip bag over so print is inside and wrap gift.

4. Write your favorite cookie recipe on the giftwrap.


1. Tie cookie cutter to the ribbon and make a bow.

Button and string wrap

• Buttons
• String or yarn
• Old bed linen


1. Cut bed linen in a circle large enough to wrap the package.

2. If the fabric frays easily, fold ends of fabric in about ¼ to ½ of an inch to create a hem; pin in place.

3. Sew the hem.


1. Cut a piece of string or yarn long enough to wrap package two or three times.

2. Tie a colorful button about 2 inches from end of string.

3. Tie another button about 2 inches down from the first. Repeat for the remainder of string.

4. Place package in center of fabric circle and gather ends up toward center.

5. Wrap string with buttons around the fabric a few times and tie with a knot, which will tie the package shut.

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