13 Better-Than-Gift-Wrap Ideas for Packaging Presents

It's happened to the best of us: In our efforts to enhance the presentation of our thoughtfully picked out gifts, we're so busy cutting, taping, and decorating that we fail to notice we're running low on wrapping paper. Luckily, there are plenty of items around the house that can be repurposed to wrap gifts. What's more, those presents end up even more personal and beautiful than they would have been if they'd been swathed in store-bought paper. When you're in a pinch (or just feeling creative), try one of these out-of-the-gift-box ideas for wrapping presents.

  1. Sticky Trick

    Washi Tape Gift Wrap

    Plain paper and washi tape can make an eye-catching combo when used as gift wrap. After covering the item with white paper, cut out or arrange the washi tape in shapes of your choosing, or simply stick on strips in a random fashion for a fun punch of pattern.

    Related: 20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements


  2. Custom Colors

    Spray Paint Gift Wrap

    Rolls of packing paper, which come fairly cheap, can be easily and attractively transformed into pretty gift wrap using this glitzy idea. Lay out sheets in a well-ventilated area, then spray-paint them any color you desire. Try varying the coats to create an ombré effect, or add a spritz of metallic paint for a gorgeous sheen.

    Related: 10 Unexpected Uses for Spray Paint


  3. Map It

    Maps Gift Wrap

    Old maps or atlases are easy to come by at yard sales and thrift stores, and their generous size make them ideal for wrapping gifts. Once you've covered your package, finish it off with some fluffy yarn, a pipe-cleaner bow, or a feather, and it’s ready to travel to its next destination.

    Related: 10 Inventive Outdoor Lighting Projects to DIY for the Holidays


  4. Brown Paper Packages

    Natural Gift Wrap

    For an appealingly organic effect, go to the backyard and gather an array of twigs, leaves, and berries. Wrap your goodies in brown paper or tissue paper, tie a length of twine around the center, then use the greenery as the super-simple yet stunning finishing touch. 

    Related: 10 Totally Unexpected Things to Remake as Planters


  5. Read All About It

    Newspaper Gift Wrap

    This clever crafter used her sewing machine to stitch newspaper pages into large sheets of gift wrap. Ribbons made from old VHS tapes further highlight the recycled theme and complement the black-and-white color scheme too.

    Related: Get Organized—25 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage

    flickr.com via Tracy

  6. Playful Prints

    Gift Tag Ideas

    Need a fast and easy wrapping fix? These adorable gift tags and eye-dotted paper are designed to be printed right at home. For the best-looking results, use glossy photo paper for the tags and card stock for the gift wrap.

    Related: Bob Vila's Guide to "$30 and Under" Stocking Stuffers


  7. Bundle Up

    Fabric Gift Wrap

    Squares of fabric or silk make for lovely reusable wrapping paper, especially when you start with a double-sided material that offers a contrasting color or pattern to amp up the elegant effect. Place the package in the center of the square, tie opposite ends together in a knot, and then tuck the tails of the knots underneath to complete the decorative display.

    Related: Without a Stitch: 9 No-Sew Projects to Dress Up Any Room

    instructables.com via kavka08

  8. Drop Cloth DIY

    Canvas Gift Wrap

    A fabric drop cloth from the paint supply aisle at the local home improvement store can provide a surprising solution for a gift—particularly a large or oddly shaped one—that needs a festive finishing touch. Cut the cloth to size, stitch the pieces together, then decorate using paint and stencils for a holiday package that goes that extra-special mile.

    Related: Homemade Christmas Ornaments


  9. Photo Op

    Photography Gift Wrap

    Your favorite Instagrams can be transformed into wrapping paper that's as fun to look at as it is to create. Simply tile your photos in a photo-editing program, then print them at home. (For larger paper, take them to a copy shop.) Trim off any white margins for a clean look.

    Related: 10 Inventive Ways to Display Family Photos


  10. Pyramid Play

    Cardstock Gift Box

    Good things really do come in small packages, especially when presented in these nifty boxes, each made from just one piece of card stock and some ribbon. Print the template onto a piece of card stock, and then cut around the shape. Next, punch a few holes, fold at the lines, and tie together at the top for a final flourish.

    Related: 10 Imaginative Garlands to Add Charm and Whimsy to Your Holiday Tree


  11. Bow Show

    Tissue Paper Gift Bow

    To craft this cute gift topper, cut a rectangle out of brightly colored crepe paper. Fold it in thirds, cinch it at the center, and glue on a strip of contrasting paper to hold the center in place.

    Related: 8 Clever Ways to Reuse Wrapping Paper


  12. Joyful Jar

    Mason Jar Gift Ideas

    Marvels with a million uses, mason jars are genius containers for gift-giving too. Fill them with cookies, hot cocoa mix, sewing supplies, or just about anything else that can fit inside. Top it all off by covering the lid with a circle of cheerful fabric secured with a rubber band or ribbon.

    Related: Recipe for Success: 10 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks


  13. Snowy Stamps

    DIY Stamped Gift Wrap

    With a stamp and an ink pad, plain gift wrap or brown kraft paper can be upgraded into sweet and personalized packaging in almost no time. To make your own inexpensive custom stamp, use a lino cutting tool to carve a shape into an eraser. 

    Related: 12 Totally Unexpected Ways to DIY a Holiday Wreath

    instructables.com via Susan Cirigliano

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