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23 Ideas for Used Gift Wrapping Paper

Updated on December 3, 2016
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

Make paper jewelry with leftover gift wrap.
Make paper jewelry with leftover gift wrap. | Source

23 Ideas for recycling wrapping paper

In many households, the holidays represent a time to be with family, cooking delectable meals, and giving in the form of gifts, time and in other ways. Celebrations at other times of the year also involve those same qualities.

But when the celebrations are over, it's hard not to feel a twinge of guilt at the trash-bags-full of used wrapping paper.

What to do with it? In these days when many consumers are becoming more eco-conscious, it seems wasteful to throw all that paper away, especially when it could potentially be used for other things.

The following list includes ideas for what to do with all that used gift-wrap.

Use origami to make gift boxes out of used gift wrap.
Use origami to make gift boxes out of used gift wrap. | Source

Will you save gift wrap for a later use?

See results

Used Wrapping Paper Ideas

The following list includes ideas for what to do with all that used gift-wrap.

  • Use it for origami. You can make splendid things with it, including ornaments.
  • Use it to make ornaments for the following holiday season. The sky's the limit as to how or what kinds of ornaments you can make.
  • Make placemats with all that gift-wrap. Cut out placemat-sized pieces and glue them onto some cardboard (to make them sturdier) and laminate (see links below for laminators).
  • Make coasters using the same method as for the placemats. Cut out paper big enough to sit under a cup, back it with some cardboard, and laminate.
  • If you like scrapbooking, then saving paper is a must. You can create beautiful backgrounds and effects using gift-wrap.
  • Use wrapping paper to decorate picture frames that are too plain. Wooden frames work well.
  • Use wrapping paper with different patterns for decoupage.
  • Use different typs of gift-wrap to make collages and other artistic creations.
  • Put through a paper shredder and use the shreds to fill gift baskets and gift bags.
  • Line a drawer with some of your favorite used gift wrap patterns. Use 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to scent the paper.
  • Got a CD of favorite songs to give to a friend? Use the gift wrap to make a CD sleeve with staples or glue.
  • Glue several pieces of gift wrap paper together to make a bookmark and then laminate.
  • Make a magnet. Cut out different, small shapes such as stars or gingerbread men, back with a piece of cardboard and laminate. Glue onto a magnet and let dry thoroughly.
  • Use it to make interesting book covers.
  • Use it to line bulletin boards or other corkboards.
  • Use gift wrap to make festive paper jewelry.
  • Use wrap to make a sculpture.
  • Use it to make beautiful cut-out snowflakes.
  • Use gift wrap to make unique paper art.
  • Make holiday cards with it.
  • If you know how to make paper, you can make more paper with the gift wrap.
  • Make tags for gifts.
  • Make a chain to go around next year's Christmas tree.

Make coasters using wrapping paper.
Make coasters using wrapping paper. | Source

More on Used Gift Wrap

Still, this all takes time. Right after the holidays, or right after a celebration, many people don't always have the time to sort out the paper.

Simply fold it and put it into a gift box or other convenient storage place until you are ready to use it.


Recycle or Don't Use Gift Wrap at All

Maybe space is an issue.

You can recycle gift wrap.

However, it's wise to call the recycling center ahead of time. Recycling centers have different requirements for paper. Glossy, glittery, and foil wrap tend to be the most difficult to recycle and many centers won't take them.

There is another way to reduce the amount of gift wrap you throw out.

Don't buy it.

Instead, use other materials that you have on hand. Paper bags, newspapers, tissue paper, even different sorts of cloth can be used and they create unique, beautiful presents.

Used gift wrap is now a commodity.

Its uses are limited only by our imagination.

Old gift wrap can be turned into beautiful snowflakes!
Old gift wrap can be turned into beautiful snowflakes! | Source

© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Neat ideas for using gift wrap over and over again. Love the origami ornaments!

      Voted up.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thank you for your comments, RTalloni. And the vote, too. :)

    • profile image

      loanyi 5 years ago

      Good ideas and very creative. How clever to use those gift wrap instead of throwing them away.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Great ideas. I just had someone teach me this summer how to make paper jewelry from wrapping paper - it was pretty cool!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      loanyi, thank you for the comments. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Kris, thank you. I'd love to know exactly how to make different paper jewelry. I've tried a few little things, but I haven't ever gone in depth with it. That sounds fun!

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 5 years ago from Northern California

      I really think lining some drawers would be a great plan. Thanks.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Glad you like that idea, starstream. :) Thanks for stopping by.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Such good ideas! I'm always super stressed with the amount of waste generated by wrapping alone, so it warms my little heart to see such good re-use tips :D

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, Simone! I'm really glad you liked those tips. :)

    • FrugalandFab profile image

      FrugalandFab 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Lots of great ideas. I'm looking forward to putting some into action this year. Thanks so much

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks for stopping by, FrugalandFab. I hope these will help people to have a more "green" holiday season. :)

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Love these great ideas. Found your on ThePracticalMommy on Hubpages FB page!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      WOW! Thanks for the info, Sinea!! Thanks for the follow, too. :) You're *awesome*.

    • profile image

      Jeff_McRitchie 5 years ago

      Your Hub contains some excellent suggestions. Voted up. Happy Holidays!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      The day after Christmas and I was just feeling guilty about throwing out the used gift wrap. I think I'm going to retrieve some of it and use some of your very good ideas! Thanks for a timely and useful hub!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, Stephanie. :) I made my whole family save every bit of it yesterday, hehe. Now, I'm going to figure out what all to do with it. :D

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      cclitgirl, these are great ideas. My family uses cloth bags that my stepmother makes for us so we don't have a lot of wrapping paper.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      I love the sounds of those cloth bags! I'm going to look into that! You're so green, mldjgulley! I appreciate your comments.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Fantastic ideas! I always prefer to get gift bags because I can reuse them, and I can't reuse the wrapping paper (I thought.) You've given me another perspective. Voted up and sharing.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Paper jewelry...now there's an idea. Hmmmm. I can sense some post=holiday crafting fun!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Crystal - hehe, yeah, I try to go the "paper route" when I can just so that I can do some fun stuff with it afterwards. :D

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Natashalh - fun stuff!! Yes, post-holiday crafting fun sounds great! :D

    • profile image

      ElleBee 4 years ago

      Wow. There really are a lot of uses for reusing paper. Never would have thought there were this many. One of my elderly aunts (now long deceased), used to take the paper off her gifts very, very, carefully and then rewrap future gifts in the paper.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      What great ideas. I always hated throwing it away. It is the perfect activity when winter pulls in and people stay at home.

      There are so many beautiful designs on paper these days. I love the book cover idea.

      Great idea for a hub.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great topic for an article! I hate wasting wrapping paper and am always looking for ways to re-use it or avoid it altogether. Bookmarking and sharing.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      ElleBee - It was a fun challenge to see how many things I could come up with in this list, hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

      Blond Logic - reusing gift wrap does indeed make for some fun post-holiday craft activities. The book covers are fun - they're always so unique. :)

      Rose - Thanks so much! I admit, I still look for other ways to use wrapping paper - even now. Hehe.

    • stillwaters707 profile image

      stillwaters707 4 years ago from Texas

      I love your ideas about tags and CD covers. I like short crafts so I can quickly see the finished products. Thanks for the ideas!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Stillwaters307 - yeah, around the holidays, it's definitely nice to have a quick and easy project to do in one sitting. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great ideas. Wrapping paper does work well in lining drawers. Our family rarely uses it anymore, as we pass around the same ole recycled bags year after year. :-) Sharing and pinning.

    • KerryAnita profile image

      KerryAnita 4 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Wow, what creative ideas! I love the earrings!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Cyndi, Great, great ideas. I'll be using some of them, especially using for scrapbooking ideas. Maybe, I'll even try the earring idea. You're so creative! Thanks for sharing your inspirations. (Can't get enough of writing that name :-)

      Have a wonderfully creative New Year!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Vicki - That's a fun idea! Haha, I LOVE it that you have the recycled bags year after year. I wish EVERYONE would adopt that policy, hehe.

      KerryAnita - I love those earrings, too! What fun!

      Cyndi - Hi, Cyndi! Hehe. I love the scrapbooking ideas and even the earrings and even coasters - I'm trying them all. :) Happy New Year to you, too!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      These are very wonderful suggestions. Creative and resourceful. Voted up and useful.:)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Iguidenetwork - thank you very much. I definitely have fun with a lot of these ideas. Cheers!

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Love these ideas!! Never thought about reusing gift wrap and what great ideas! Can't wait to try the drawer liner and book cover ideas!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Better Yourself - I'm so glad you like these! I have fun with leftover gift wrap every year and make some great things with it for sure. :)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Good ideas. Up, Useful, and Interesting and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      B. Leekley - thank you for your feedback! I appreciate the shares. :)

    • nina64 profile image

      nina64 4 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      I just love the snowflakes!!!!! What a great way to reuse old x-mas wrapping paper. Very creative!!!! Voted up.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Nina - I love snowflakes, too, hehe. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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