Wrap It Green: Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

Make the package part of the gift and make a party of wrapping it up.

| November/December 2005

  • A flurry of activity on a December afternoon yeilds a stack of lovely and unique packages.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Laden with gifts, guests leave the wrapping party. All the wrapping was recycled from materials that otherwise would have been thrown away.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Because it's made to mix-and-match, wallpaper is ideal for decorating packages.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Mixing and matching different patterns creates rich visual texture.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • A cancelled stamp and postmark torn from the envelope of a card makes a colorful gift tag.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • An old Scrabble game from a flea market yielded wooden alphabet pieces to put an appealingly cryptic message on this package.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Transform paper that looks unfashionably utilitarian into something that has a handmade texture resembling crushed silk. First, ball up the paper, then unroll it, then crumple it repeatedly until it crushes easily into a small ball.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Use your imagination to top off a package: Raid the junk drawer, the hardware aisle, the bead and button jar, and the recycling bin to find beautiful baubles.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Many hands make light work and lots of laughter. In addition to creative ideas, each guest can take her favorite recycled materials to continue the eco-conscious wrapping at home.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

In the midst of all the hubbub, it’s easy to forget that the holidays are meant to be a time for connecting with others and that gifts are a happy token of kinship with those we love. This year, turn what’s usually a harried, solitary to-do into a fun excuse to get together with friends by throwing a wrap party. A little food, some holiday music, and lots of great ideas for eco-conscious wrapping make for a creative, festive, and productive afternoon.

We gathered seven creative, environmentally aware friends and asked each to bring a half-dozen gifts that needed wrapping. We prepared a light, healthy selection of sandwiches (wraps, of course!), fruit, and bite-size cookies to nibble. The real smorgasbord, however, was the table laden with wrapping materials: recycled papers crumpled to resemble Florentine fabric; colorful, eclectic wallpapers cut from discarded sample books; raffia, hemp, and jute string; an intriguing pastiche of baubles and tags; and rubber stamps, stickers, and colorful pens to put a personal stamp on the packages.

After a couple of hours—and a heaping helping of enjoyable chatter —everyone had an armload of stunning, unique packages to share with others.

Crushed Paper 



Transform paper that looks unfashionably utilitarian into something that has a handmade texture resembling crushed silk. Paper that would otherwise be too stiff to use as wrapping can be crumpled and crushed to make a soft paper that wraps beautifully and defies its roots. The secret is to first ball up the paper, then unroll it, then crumple it repeatedly until it crushes easily into a small ball. Unroll it, smooth it out, and it’s ready to wrap.

What to recycle (and re-create!): 

HKJaye
12/6/2014 8:22:21 PM

Cute ideas, but I have used the 'new' newspaper (soy inks) and they smear easily and do not end up nice like the pix on the page. Just know that ahead.




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