For small gifts there is often no need to purchase wrapping paper - you can upcycle scrap materials from around your home to beautifully package presents for Christmas, birthdays or other occasions.
Upcycled wrapping is great - not only because it saves you money and helps to reduce waste but it also gives you a unique opportunity to wrap your gifts creatively - choosing an advertisement for Bose headphones as the wrapping on an iTunes gift card, for example, or a calendar page of a mountain scene to wrap ski goggles in.
You will need:
- Scrap paper; from magazines, newspapers or brochures, old envelopes, or coloured printer paper
- Small gifts that can be covered by the size of your scrap paper
- Gently used cardboard boxes; from toothpaste, tea or other small items in sturdy packaging
- Scissors and/or an x-acto blade
(Optional: markers, ruler)
Step 1: Selecting Your Paper
Choose a selection of pages from magazines, newspapers, old phonebooks or large envelopes, coloured printer paper or junk mail.
This is where you get to let your imagination take hold - pick pages to colour-coordinate with and opt for adverts or images that (however subtly) reference what's inside the package.
If the paper is plain to begin with you can decorate it using markers, paint or stamps, etc. - Make a simple, festive pattern or write a special note just for the intended recipient.
Step 2: Pairing Patterns
Once you've rummaged through your junk pile and chosen the most presentable pages, pair them up - choosing one page to wrap the present in and a second page to create a bow with.
Step 3: Folding to Make Bows
Take the sheet you have chosen to make into a bow and fold into eight or sixteen even strips, then cut.
Use a ruler and pen to make it easier on smaller sheets of paper.
Cut one strip in half, and then cut 1/4 off of three more.
This should leave you with four full-length strips, three 3/4 strips, two half-strips and three 1/4 strips. You only need one 1/4 strip - choose the one with the best pattern.
When you cut your strips straight, you may have extremely thin leftover shreds, strips and scraps - save them as they can be used in place of packing peanuts inside a box holding some delicate item.
Step 4: Taping the Strips
Folding your sheet of paper into eight or sixteen sections will either give you wide or thin strips - and from those there are three simple variations on bows included in this instructable:
1. Fold the wide strips into one loop by taping the ends together - this will give you a large bow that looks as if it was made from wide ribbon, as seen in salmon-pink in fourth the photo above.
2. Fold the thin strips around twice (double loop) and flatten, then taping the two ends together and to the centre of the strip. This will make a loopy, almost lacy-looking bow like the brilliant blue one.
3. Fold the wide strips around twice (double loop) and flatten, then taping the two ends together and to the centre of the strip. This will make a star-like bow with pointed tips, much like the bulk bags of bows sold in dollar or department stores. Seen in yellow above.
Step 5: Layering Your Bows
Take the four largest loops made from the full-length strips and stack them criss-crossed on top of one another, then staple them together through the centre.
Next take the three loops made from the 3/4-length strips, stack and staple.
Then the two half-length strips should make an 'X' or cross and be stapled.
Finally all three tiers should be stacked from largest to smallest and secured between layers with a small loop of tape.
Optional: Alternate either your strips or tiers for different pattern variations.
Step 6: Wrapping the Gifts
Use scissors or an x-acto blade to cut your re-used boxes to fit the items you will be wrapping.
In place of packing peanuts, use crinkled strips of any leftover paper, crunched-up balls of newspaper, etc.
Wrap each present in one sheet of paper (or two if it's a larger item) using sharp creases and clear tape to make for a more attractive package.
Step 7: The Final Steps
Now all that's left is to add the bows you've made to your wrapped presents using a single loop of tape for each bow. Stack them under the Christmas tree or on a party gift table and hand them out to friends and family!