Instead of reaching for yet another roll of glossy, ink laden wrapping paper, why not branch out and explore some interesting alternative ways to present your gifts and make your wrapping a little more eco friendly?

Children’s art work

Anyone with young children will no doubt be supplied with endless works of art tenderly drawn whilst at preschool then school. If you can convince your budding artist that his exquisite works of art are so spectacular that you wish to use then to wrap special gifts, then you are pretty much home free. We have so many drawings around the house that Lucas has done, it seems a waste to not do something with them but we can’t hang them all up.

You have just solved many problems in one foul swoop. Simply tape them together and voila you have a gift wrap that any self-respecting relative will coo over.

This may sound flippant, but it really isn’t meant to be. It’s a great way to involve your children in the gift giving process and to teach them that thoughtful personalised gifts can mean the most. If you don’t have access to an endless supply of original artwork, there are still plenty of other alternatives that won’t end their days expanding landfill.


For small gifts, look through your remnants of fabric. Old clothes or sheets that have worn out can be re-purposed as wrapping if the fabric is suitable. Wrap the parcel neatly, much as you would using paper, and secure with some ribbon. Adding a decorative flower or better still, topping it with an inexpensive Christmas ornament, chocolate bar or charity shop trinket, will turn your gift into a treasure.

For larger gifts, you can sew together several fabric patches until it is big enough for the gift. You could also use old pillow cases and tie with a ribbon.

Storage boxes

A little thought and planning can go a long way when you are putting your gifts together. Craft stores often sell plain storage boxes in bulk. They can then be used not only to wrap the gift, but also as a storage container later. For example, assume you are buying your niece a set of dinosaurs. Remove the plastic packaging, it will save time when she opens the gift, place the dinosaurs in a plain box from the craft store.

Include in the box some dinosaur stickers and peel and stick decorations for her to decorate the box with herself, you don’t want to decorate it now and give the game away. Add a layer of tissue to keep the contents secure and tie the gift with a decorative ribbon or colourful string. Your gift now is a talking point, something any child will treasure.


Using old newspaper pieces is a fab way of using newspaper you have finished reading and giving it a bit more life. Tie with colourful ribbon to brighten it up or silver for a more classic look.


I love getting gifts in a basket, especially wicker baskets. They look lovely to receive and can be used so many time for various purposes after. I have turned a few wicker baskets into toy storage.

Reusable shopping bags

There are so many designs and don’t cost much. Wrap your gift in a reusable shopping bag and the recipient can use the bag over and over again for their shopping.

Use leaves

Use leaves as gift tags and write on them with gold or silver pen.


For the best effect, think about your gifts and make any alternative wrapping appear deliberate and appropriate. It should not look as though you didn’t care enough to wrap your gift, but should enhance it. Don’t limit your ideas to what you are used to seeing. Be creative and allow yourself to have some fun wrapping gifts and thinking of your own unique ideas.



Alternatives to wrapping paper for more eco friendly ways to wrap gifts and some zero waste wrapping ideas for presents and parcels


10 Comments on Alternatives to wrapping paper

  1. These are great ideas and for this Christmas I decided to use a newspapers on my Christmas presents.

  2. These are such great ideas! We always save our gift bags to reuse. I also save my Ipsy glambag envelopes to reuse since they’re so pretty and I have so many. I like the idea of repurposing fabrics.

  3. I really like the idea of using leaves! It’s genius! I love finding eco-friendly alternatives, the newspaper and cloth sound like good ideas.

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