Sunday, 18 August 2013

Resuable Gift Wrap ideas - where the wrapping is a present in itself

Everyone loves to receive a present (you should see me on Christmas morning!) and when it's beautifully wrapped it makes it all the more special.  One thing though that seems a real shame is the pile of used gift wrap that is lying around after with the only option to throw it away. Now don't get me wrong, I love to scavenge through the wrapping remains and save bows, ribbons and anything else that can be reused (there's a running joke in my family about some gift boxes that everyone's received a present in!), but what about if the whole of the wrapping could be used again? This thought is what led me to these ideas...

Reusable gift wrap Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

Fabric Gift Wrap 

I've seen this idea in one or two places and loved it. The idea is that the wrapping is reusable as, unlike paper, it isn't stuck down and doesn't tear. I also thought it you be particularly apt for a crafty friend who you are giving a sewing themed present to, especially with a couple of added reusable decorations. 

For this gift I cut a piece of fabric to the right size for the box, put the box into the centre of the material and folded the two longer edges into the middle of the top of the box.  Then I folded the remaining fabric of the two shorter sides so that the raw edges were hidden and folded this over the top of the box securing it in place with safety pins. Next I tied ribbon around the box then removed the safety pins one at a time to add a red button before pinning back on the present.

Fabric gift wrap

Covered Tub or Canister

I can't help saving used jars, tubs, boxes...well, anything that could be a handy container again. Sometimes I use them as they are as storage such as these jars filled with buttons, or I cover them in pretty papers to keep things in like this chocolate box which is a home for my candles. They also make good containers to put gifts in as then the recipient can use them again too.

reused storage containers

Here I've used an empty, washed out conditioner tub. As it had a plain black lid it was easy to keep this and just cover its body. I just cut a strip of paper long enough to wrap around the tub with an extra inch added on for the overlap. I folded the end of one of the short edges over to make it neat, then stuck double sided sticky tape on the back and stuck it around the tub with some extra tape at the overlap.

upcycled gift wrap

The matching bow on top can be made using the instructions further down.

Bookmark Gift Tag

There's someone I know (who shall remain nameless) who when I've given them a gift with one of my handmade tags on it, saves the tag and puts a sticker over the writing on the back so they can reuse it. I do like this idea of reusing and it got me to thinking about what other uses gift tags could have so that they aren't thrown away. That's when I thought about a bookmark gift tag, especially if the present you're wrapping is a book for someone who, like me, thinks no present giving occasion is complete without one!

All I did was cut a piece of white card measuring 80mm x 120mm and scored it in half down the length of the card. I added a strip of old book paper and some punched paper hearts as decoration on the front. Then inside I used double sided sticky tape to stick down two pieces of ribbon at the top so that most of it came out over the top of the card. I then added a strip of double sided sticky tape down the edge of the tag inside the front and added a message to explain how to turn the tag into a bookmark. Use the ribbon on the top to attach the tag to the present.

upcycled bookmark gift tag

How to Make a Paper Bow

To add a finishing touch to a gift, an upcycled paper bow looks great. I used a page from a book to make this one but you can use any kind of paper. The measurements below suited the gift I wanted to put the bow on but they can be adjusted to your needs.

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • 3 strips of paper 250mm long x 15mm wide
  • 3 strips of paper 220mm long x 15mm wide
  • 1 strip of paper 50mm long x 25mm wide
  • Double sided stick tape or glue
Step 1
Take one of the longest pieces of paper and fold it into a figure of 8 shape as below. Use sticky tape or glue to hold the ends in place. 

how to make a paper bow
Take one end and twist it around securing it under the middle of the strip.
how to make an upcycled paper bow
Do the same with the other end, again securing it underneath the middle of the strip.

Step 2
Repeat step 1 with the remaining 2 longest strips.

Step 3
Add double sided sticky tape or glue to the back of 2 of the 'figure of 8's that you've just made where the paper crosses over. Place them one at a time on top of each other spacing them evenly to make a circle.

How to make an upcycled paper bow
The 3 longest pieces of paper stuck together to make the base of the bow.

Step 4
Repeat steps 1-3 with the next 3 longest strips of paper. You should end up with two layers to the bow as in this picture.

How to make an upcycled paper bow
The two layers of the paper bow.

Step 5
Roll the smallest piece of paper into a loop and secure with tape of glue.

Paper bow tutorial
The paper loop which will be the centre of the bow.

Step 6
Use glue or tape to stick the middle layer inside the bottom layer and then the loop inside the middle layer to form the finished bow.

Upcycled paper bow tutorial
The layers are stuck together to complete the bow.


  1. My mom has two boxes in the attic that she pulls out year after year. One has boxes in it that we use for gift wrapping and the other has bows. Even if the bows have no "stick" left on them she saves them and uses a rolled up piece of scotch tape to stick them on the following year. I'm sure there are boxes from my childhood up there. :) Thanks for sharing with the Upcycled Linky Party at

    1. Thanks for stopping by Tricia. I do the same with the sticky tape and old bows too!

  2. Saw this on Love 2 Upcycle. Awesome ideas. I will have to try the bow. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm getting a bit addicted to making the bows trying lots of sizes and papers.... just a warning ;)

  3. I like the bow, that paper looks really good. The bookmark is also a great idea

    1. Thanks Heather! I love trying all kinds of paper to make different effects.

  4. Those are great, love the easy bow idea!

    1. Thank you! The bow is very easy (and addictive!) to make.

  5. These are fun ideas! I love the book paper around the recycled plastic container - very clever!

    1. I've had that container for a while thinking what to do with it, then I needed something to put a bow on and it was just the right size! Glad you liked it!

  6. I just wanted to let you know that I featured your wonderful project on homework. Thanks so much for sharing it on The Inspiration Board. It makes me so happy to see beautiful creativity linked up!

    homework &

    1. Thank you Carolyn! It's lovely to be included with all those gorgeous projects!

  7. great photos, fun idea and I love the colors you chose. Perfection. :D Thanks for sharing on BeColorful this week.

    1. Thank you Pamela! Black, white and red is my favourite combination.