Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some links here are affiliate links, meaning this site receives a small commission from any purchases you make when using those links.
By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
The holiday season is upon us and for many, maybe most, people, that means lots of gift-wrapping! Despite the prevalence of gift cards, “experiences” as gifts, pre-wrapped gift baskets and consumables such as food and candy items, we still tend to buy many items that need to be wrapped. For some folks, gift-wrapping is part of the holiday fun: those late-night sessions stealthily wrapping holiday gifts while the rest of the family sleeps and putting creative touches on beautifully decorated packages is part of the joy. But if your Christmas gift list is long or you simply don’t have time, it can get pretty frustrating to find the right packaging for an odd-sized gift in the middle of the night. Others just don’t want to further add to the waste of paper. And some simply would prefer to wrap their presents in a more unique way.
I know the feeling, as I, too, have faced gift-wrapping woes in the past. Thankfully over the years I have seen some very creative ways to save time and money, wrap gifts in a more eco-friendly way, and even create your own paper that truly is one-of-a-kind. Below I share some of my favorite finds with you, with simple instructions and videos:
- Gift bags from a roll of paper: A super-easy do-it-yourself (DIY) project great for odd-sized gifts
- Furoshiki: This Japanese tradition is elegant, easy, and eco-friendly
- Gift bags from food boxes: A cheap, easy-to-customize, and fun way to recycle food boxes
- DIY printed paper: An easy and fun way for kids to decorate their own paper
Make a gift bag from standard wrapping paper
First, what happens if all you have is a tube of wrapping paper, but what you really need is a bag? Bulky, odd-shaped, or hard-to-wrap items may need to be placed in a gift bag, since regular paper or a standard box won’t work. And some standard gift bag may not be quite right, as they may be tall enough but not wide enough. If it’s the middle of the night and you don’t feel like driving out or if you know a standard box or bag won’t do — or you simply want to be more environmentally friendly by using the wrapping paper you already have — simply convert the paper into a bag.
To start, lay your wrapping paper tube on a completely flat surface such as a dining table or a hard floor and roll out a good amount (at least twice as tall and two-and-a-half times as wide as the items you will need). Cut the size of paper that you need and fold it vertically, then open it up again and fold each half back inward toward the original fold, with one side slightly overlapping the other one, and then use pieces of regular tape to close off the “seam” (the person in the video below uses just a few pieces, but I recommend sealing it entirely with one or more long strips).
Next, fold the bottom of the wrapping paper upward to create the bottom of the bag — remember that the more you fold it up the bigger (wider) the bottom will be, but the shorter your bag will be. Unfold this piece and open it back up and take the sides and turn then inward to create a diamond shape, then tun the top and bottom corners inward and tape well along the seams. Now, go to the open end (top) of the bag and put your hand to open it up, and voilà, you have a bag! Just place your item, fold the top over, and staple or tape it and you’re done! Want to see just how fast and easy this is to do? Check out the video below.
- After you’ve folded the top over, use a paper hole puncher to create two holes and string a nice ribbon through them and tie it to make a pretty bow.
- Thicker (but not too thick!) wrapping paper works best for this. Thinner or flimsier paper could tear easily during the making of your bag and may not be strong enough to hold things as a regular bag would do.
- To make the bottom of the bag sturdier, place a piece of cardboard inside the bag before putting the item in it. If you don’t have cardboard handy, cut out part of a manila file folder.
- Measure the paper before starting, even if it’s just placing the item(s) you want to wrap and pulling up enough paper on either side to make sure you have enough to cover it all.
- Cut a little more than you’ll need, as you can always cut off excess after you get started.
- If your wrapping paper has those grid marks inside for cutting guidance, your job will be easier!
- Bonus: if you like to match your gift wrap, making a bag out of paper will let you keep all your gifts in the same decor.
- You can practice by using a regular sheet of printer paper first to make a small bag.
- If you want to make your bag look like a traditional bag with the formed sides, just create four creases (two on each side lengthwise) by folding the paper after your bag is done.
Next: Wrap a gift with fabric, Japanese-style
(click on page number 2 below)