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Instant Gift Wrap Ideas

Updated on January 9, 2017

Easy Creative and Unique Gift Wrap Ideas

It's easy and fun to wrap gifts with style and without a lot of money the instant gift wrap way. I love to wrap gifts without buying expensive papers and ribbons or overpriced money-holder cards.

I use the supplies I have on hand, work with recycled materials to create eco-friendly bags, boxes and packages, or design and print special papers, small boxes, goody bags, gift tags and money enclosures using my home computer and ink jet printer.

Even the simplest presents are special if you wrap them with style and creativity.

Try out a few of these frugal and green ideas at your next special gift-giving holiday or special event. You'll enjoy the "Wow" factor X2 because your specially wrapped package will be appreciated just as much as the gift inside. It really is the thought that counts - read on!

Photo credit: Gardener gift photo click,

Green Gift Wrapping Ideas

Creative Techniques for Wrapping Presents

My favorite (and easy) green instant gift wrap technique is to make the package part of the gift. You can present all sorts of gifts in baskets, tote bags, dishes, pots/pans, decorated boxes or any other suitable container related to your gift. It's environmentally friendly and makes the gift more memorable.

You can find many ideas and printable bags, gift tags, labels and even boxes to print, cut and fold on the internet. If you print your freebies on recycled paper - your own or purchased new - you're creating a DIY gift container that's green and frugal.

If you give a monetary present, you can create a unique folder or fold currency bills into a fun shape with money origami - give a heart shaped origami money gift for a Valentine's Day or wedding gift or try a folded shirt design for bachelor party, Father's Day or graduation gifts.

One interesting idea I've found to give cash is to attach paper money bills together end-to-end, roll them up and then put them into a recycled tissue box with one tissue fluffed out the top. Another green and fun idea for money gifts is to tape bills together and roll them up, then tuck the roll of paper money into a jar or decorated tin. Another way to give paper money as a gift is to slip bills into the pages of a book.

Step by Step Video - How To Wrap Gifts - It's not so difficult to wrap gifts

I was amazed to learn that my artist-husband who is an amazing sculptor, welder and carpenter has a real problem with gift wrapping. My mother actually worked a part time job in the gift wrap department of a local store, and I've always enjoyed wrapping gifts. It never occurred to me that wrapping a gift could be so daunting to some folks.

So, here's a video that will help anyone who's gift-wrap-challenged.

Creative Gift Wrap Suggestions - Recycled materials and ideas for easy gift wrap

Lots of great ideas for creative wraps, gifts in containers, bags and more.

Easy Green Gift Wraps

Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials
Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials

Green living guru Danny Seo and environmentalist offers some creative, lovely and eco-friendly gift giving ideas.


Low Cost Gift Wrap Ideas Using Recycled Materials

Make it a Green Celebration - Save Money and Help the Planet

If you're trying to save some pennies and also want to make a splash with gift wrap, try these creative and frugal ideas for using recycled materials to wrap up your gifts.

1. Newspaper Gift Wrap - wrap up a gift for someone special using a section of the newspaper that pertains to that person. Perhaps a page of stock listings for an up and coming executive, or the first page of the sports. Use the colored comics section for kids or just for fun. Tie it all up with a piece of bright ribbon, string or raffia.

2. Brown Paper Gift Wrap - you can decorate blank paper with clip art, cut out pictures from magazines, stickers, hand-written decorations or rubber stamp images with a theme for your recipient.

3. Fabric Gift Wrap - use left over pieces of colorful yard goods or purchase a colorful scarf, tablecloth or napkin. Place gift in the center, then draw up the corners together at the top and tie securely with ribbon, braid or rick rack. Try some fancy wraps with fabric using the art of furoshiki.

4. Bags as Gift Wrap - make a fabric bag, stitch around three sides, then tack a drawstring at one side near the top. Larger/faster bags: buy a colorful pillowcase and add a drawstring from grosgrain ribbon.

5. Recycled Packaging Gift Wrap - use those boxes and bags you carefully preserved from gifts you received previously.

6. Maps used as Gift Wrap - printed maps (new or antique) make wonderful gift wrap! They're colorful, HUGE pieces of heavy paper that work well to wrap travel or location related gifts.

7. Posters used as Gift Wrap - if you have an old poster you don't need or want anymore, use it to wrap a gift. The paper is heavy and printing is usually quite good.

8. Use a Can or Jar as Gift Wrap - Start with a clean coffee can, plastic pretzel container, cookie tin or even cleaned and washed jars from mayo, pickles and pasta sauces. Paint the lids if they have advertising on them. Add a "belly band" of printed paper, clip art or sticky paper with printed design or use a bandana or length of fabric around the midsection. Drape a piece of fabric or lace over the lid and tie on with ribbon or string and add a decorative tag.

9. Wrap up a Gift Card Dress up a retail store gift card with a hand made presentation folder. Use cardstock to create a unique shaped folder to hold the card. Cut slots to secure the card inside.

10. Recycle Soda Bottles - If you have a source for clear, glass soda bottles (these let the goodies shine through), recycle them to hold small snacks for Valentine's Day, Father's Day or any special occasion. Clean, dry and fill with candy, nuts, sunflower seeds or some other small dry goodies, then decorate each bottle with a cute label, ribbon tie tag and fresh new bottle cap. Pack them back into the redecorated 6-pack caddy and you're good to go.

11. Wrap a Tube with Scraps - If you have a gift that will fit into a cardboard paper roll/mailing tube or recycled shoe box, you can use up bits and pieces of gift wrap and ribbon to decorate the tube or gift box package.

12. Reuse Gift Bags, Paper and Bows - Before it was trendy to recycle and reuse, lots of people frowned upon those of us who saved gift wrap, ribbon, boxes and bows to use again for future gift wrapping. Not these days! At the very least we can usually recycle stick-on bows and cute gift bags and they'll be just as nice as the first time 'round.

Recycled Gift Wrap Ideas - Threadbanger Video Tutorial

Save money and help save the planet with recycled gift wrap materials.

Do You Recycle Gift Wrap? - ... how 'bout bows, boxes, tags or bags?

I confess that I do recycle gift wrap materials of all types. I don't always use them for wrapping up another gift - sometimes I use gift wrap papers for collage or to line dresser drawers. But I do try to avoid tossing any gift wrap goodies into the trash. If they're totally destroyed, they go into the recycle bin or the woodstove (depending on what they're made from).

Do you recycle gift wrap materials?

See results

Who Does Your Gift Wrapping ? - Do you wrap gifts or delegate the task to someone else?

Some folks love to buy gifts but really don't have time or patience to wrap them. So they either have the store gift wrap their presents or they delegate the task to another family member or friend

Who wraps the gifts you give?

See results

Make Your Own Fast and Frugal Gift Tags

Gift tags and small enclosure cards are easy to make from many materials. The simplest gift tags are made by cutting an interesting shape from the gift wrap you're using, then folding to make a small card and writing inside.

To take this technique up a notch, try making small fold over gift tags from card stock, then decorate the outside with bits of pretty paper, fabric, clip art pictures or glitter.

Variations: use decorative edge scissors to make the borders interesting. Punch a hole in the corner to add a string or ribbon.

Printable Bookmark Gift Tags

Use a printable bookmark as a jumbo gift tag. Write your greeting on the back of the bookmark, then attach to your gift for a tag that becomes part of your gift.

Make a money folder quickly from a printable bookmark: instead of cutting bookmarks apart, cut them into sets of two and fold along the long side. Insert your bills or check inside.

Printable Labels can be used to make gift tags or as decorations for recycled containers. Attach the label to a clean jar, add matching ribbon around the lid and tie on a few sprigs of dried or silk flowers. You can also stick the label to a piece of card stock cut slightly larger than the label.

Imagine Minibook Gift Card Presentation Folder

Lovely Way to Present a Gift Card and Special Thoughts

Nice way to dress up a gift card presented inside a special folder. Imagine booklet with own words of wisdom and a gift card holder inside.

More than a greeting card, this booklet includes a special place to add a gift card and words of wisdom for your recipient.

Printable heart shaped gift box template
Printable heart shaped gift box template | Source

Printable Gift Wrap Boxes

I just love a special package for a tiny gift. It makes a big statement for a small treasure when you present it in a very special container.

Special little boxes and gift wrap containers for special gifts. Print, cut and fold to make a unique present holder for your gift recipient.

Home made heart shaped gift box - print, cut and glue together
Home made heart shaped gift box - print, cut and glue together | Source

Pin Ball Wizard Gift Card Holder - Creative Gift Card or Money Gift Box

Give a gift of money, a check or a gift card inside a miniature pinball game that really works.

Money Maze - Cosmic Pinball for Cash and Certificates - By Bilz.
Money Maze - Cosmic Pinball for Cash and Certificates - By Bilz.

Add to the fun of your gift-giving with this authentic pinball maze money/card holder.


Unique Gift Wrap Ideas - Cute, clever, frugal gift wrap how-to

It's always a joy to receive a gift that's wrapped with creative love - it gives the giver joy to be crafty and sometimes green (and no doubt frugal, too) while making the receiver squeal with delight over the special attention paid to the unique wrapping technique.

Fabulous Origami Gift Boxes - How to fold small origami gift and trinket boxes

From a master of origami comes this book of diagrams that teach you to create creative attractive gift boxes using folded paper origami techiniques.

Origami Boxes
Origami Boxes

Highly recommended by many readers at Amazon, from older children through adults, who enjoy origami. Not for a novice or young child, these origami box designs create high fashion containers from paper or paper scraps.


Teach Me How to Do It ... Origami Box Videos

Tutorials for making Origami gift boxes, bags and creative gift wraps.

Origami Box 1 Start with a square paper sheet.

First you crease the paper. And again, on diagonals. And open. Each corner fold towards the center, using the crease as a guide. Fold in half. And in quarters towards the outside. Open.

Fold the quarter sections upward. And pull the corner, like so, following along the crease lines. Do the same. And fold inward. At this point, touch the center. And that's the last step in the origami square box.

Origami Box 2 - Here's another origami box tutorial, this one with pictures and step by step folding instructions.

Photo by steevithak on Flickr

Goodie and Gift Bag Gift Wrap Crafts - Party loot, gift bags, grab bags and treasure bags.

Quick Party Bags Design and decorate your own personalized designer gift bags. Transform humble paper lunch bags into custom treat bags for parties, Trick or Treat and gift giving. Run the bags right run through your printer one at a time, or decorate them with stamped designs, stickers or printed cutouts made from clip art.

Origami Heart Made With Money - Fold a Dollar or a Fifty into a Heart

Make a gift of money a bit less awkward by folding the bill into a creative heart shape - or another cool folded design.

Quick & Creative Gift Wrap

With more than 40 projects, this guide has something for every style, sentiment, and gift. The materials range from purchased and handmade papers to patterned fabric and ribbon, and an introductory section covers all the wrapping basics.

Make It in Minutes: Quick & Clever Gift Wraps
Make It in Minutes: Quick & Clever Gift Wraps

Make your own boxes, embellish gift bags, personalize gift cards and tags, and create signature wraps using stamping, painting, or combinations of natural materials.


How to Wrap Pretty Presents - Creative Gift Wrap Video How to

Baggu Totes and Gift Wrap Bags

Baggu bags are almost indestructible and come with their own little carry pouches. Watch the video to learn how to use a Baggu tote as an instant gift wrap bag.

Furoshiki Fabric Gift Wrapping

How to cleverly wrap gifts enclosed in a colorful length of fabric (or a shawl, towel or other suitable square of cloth).

Gift Cards - Good Gift or Easy Out? - What's your opinion of gift cards instead of a "real" present?

Gift cards are more popular than ever these days. You can buy a gift card for a favorite store or restaurant no matter where you live. In my community I can buy gift cards for nationwide stores at my local grocer or drug store. Amazon offers gift cards for many merchants, not just the Amazon site.

Do you like to receive a gift card as a gift?

See results

Folded Fabric Gift Boxes - Easy gift wrap made with fat quarters

Home sewers and quilters love gifts wrapped in fabric! Even if you don't sew, a fat quarter makes a nice napkin, scarf or dust cloth.

Fun with Folded Fabric Boxes: All No-Sew Projects  Fat-Quarter Friendly  Elegance in Minutes
Fun with Folded Fabric Boxes: All No-Sew Projects Fat-Quarter Friendly Elegance in Minutes

No sew fabric gift wrap instructions - the "fat quarter" fabric size is ready-cut and available in thousands of colors and patterns at local fabric, quilting and craft stores. Or, buy a quarter yard of fabric and you'll have enough to wrap several gifts.


© 2007 Lee Hansen

Share Your Instant Gift Wrap Ideas and Secrets

Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Gosh, Lee ... I used to so love to wrap gifts in days past. But, since they came out with those cool looking decorative bags, I opted for them. Oh, never ironed any wrappings.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I hate wrapping the gifts, so I may use some of these ideas!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Thanks, great lens.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I love the idea of origami boxes. Maybe when things settle down after the holidays I'll use a few cold winter nights to make up some boxes for next year. Great lens.

  • Ann Hinds profile image

    Ann Hinds 

    7 years ago from So Cal

    I bought fat-quarters to wrap the gifts for my secret-sister gifts for our quilt guild. We try to find creative ways to wrap presents. There are lots of great ideas here.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    This isn't too crafty, but one year I wrapped everyone's gift in newsprint. It was my artisitic expression....

  • Virginia Allain profile image

    Virginia Allain 

    7 years ago from Central Florida

    I love to get creative when wrapping gifts. If the paper is plain (even plain brown bag as you suggest), then I dress it up with cut-out figures from last year's Christmas cards. Great tips.

  • Johanna Eisler profile image

    Johanna Eisler 

    7 years ago

    Thank you for all the neat suggestions. I love to be creative with gift wrapping, so this lens was very enjoyable!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I haven't used regular gift wrapping paper in a long time. My favorite method is using newspaper, but I go a step further and either decorate the newspaper some with paint or crumpling up the paper. Great lens that really talks about something I do all the time. I'll also use aluminum foil from time to time to wrap small gifts.

  • sandi84 profile image


    7 years ago from Belfast

    great ideas!

  • norma-holt profile image


    7 years ago

    Timely lens on some great ideas. I hate the waste that comes with wrapping gifts so I try to avoid it and use gift bags that can be recycled. Hugs

  • indigoj profile image

    Indigo Janson 

    7 years ago from UK

    What a treasure trove of gift wrap ideas, and I love that origami box! You've thought of so much, I can't think of anything to add, but I think a fabric wrapped gift is especially stylish. Blessed.

  • colleenw1 profile image


    7 years ago

    I remember using the Sunday colored comic pages as gift wrap on several occasions :)

  • Serenity30 profile image


    7 years ago

    Great lens...I will need a couple of days to read up on all the links.

  • adamfrench profile image


    7 years ago

    Impressive lens, thumbs up

  • TonyPayne profile image

    Tony Payne 

    7 years ago from Southampton, UK

    I don't have any secrets, other than if you have an odd shaped item to wrap, it pays to tape cardboard around it, or to put it in a box, so that it is a more regular shape. This also makes it harder for the recipient to guess what it is as well, which can be fun. Excellent resource with oodles of ideas, blessed.

  • lbrummer profile image

    Loraine Brummer 

    7 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

    Great recycling ideas. The map as a wrapping is such a nice idea and usually they are sturdier than most wrapping paper.

  • Mickie Gee profile image

    Mickie Goad 

    7 years ago

    What a wonderful collection of ideas. I will definitely be putting this lens on my page "Recycle Stick On Bows"! You are a great page maker, Pastiche!

  • FunkyJewelleryUK profile image


    7 years ago

    Great lens! Added to my favourites :) Great, green and very creative!

  • Nany Palacio profile image

    Nany Palacio 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for share this great info....

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Great ideas. Cool lens

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    great info

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Excellent review of tags and bags, wraps and more great ideas for making frugal (and recycled, repurposed) items for use in gift giving. I have picked up some great ideas from your lens. Thanks for all your hard work in sharing this information with us!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I really like the idea of using a map as gift wrap. Sounds like it would look cool.

  • Philippians468 profile image


    8 years ago

    interesting. i will give these some thought. thanks!

  • Joy Neasley profile image

    Joy Neasley 

    8 years ago from Nashville, TN

    great ideas...thanks...

  • BeaGabrielle1 profile image


    8 years ago

    Very interesting. and useful, too. Thanks for the great info!

  • Mickie Gee profile image

    Mickie Goad 

    8 years ago

    As usual, a really great source for ideas. Featuring this page on "Recycle Stick On Bows".

  • I-sparkle profile image


    8 years ago

    Great lens. I've been doing some of this since I was a kid. Not trying to be green, we just usually ran out of paper for the presents. We would cut old paper bags and slice ribbons in half as decorations. Last year, same scenario, my sister and I used newspaper and candy glitter!

  • ShariBerry profile image

    Sharon Berry 

    8 years ago from Michigan

    Wrapping paper and bows can get quite expensive, especially at Christmas time when you have 12 grandchildren. This lens provided me with several new cost saving ideas. I've often used brown paper bags that I have stamped with colorful Christmas designs and a pretty ribbon. Enjoyed the lens!

  • Allison Whitehead profile image

    Allison Whitehead 

    8 years ago

    I've had birthday presents wrapped in newspaper before - I thought they were great! Very innovative and unusual.

  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    8 years ago from Vermont

    @javr: I've used towels and napkins to wrap gifts also - lovely idea.

  • javr profile image


    8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I have given wedding gifts of photo frames wrapped up in a towel.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Nice idea for a lens. Very informative. Gave you a quick thumbs up.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Nice idea for a lens. Very informative. Gave you a quick thumbs up.

  • seashell2 profile image


    8 years ago

    Everyone should be able to take away an idea from this fun lens, thanks for sharing!

  • lasertek lm profile image

    lasertek lm 

    8 years ago

    Another helpful lens! You always help make our lives easier with every lens you make. Great job!

  • Suggy LM profile image

    Suggy LM 

    8 years ago

    Great lens lubberpod. I did a gift wrap guide as a pictorial, for any one who can't cope/ keep up with video. I think they complement each other. See here:

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Very nice lens! Great job 5*****.

    Ftuley :o)

  • stephenteacher profile image

    Stephen Carr 

    9 years ago from Corona, CA

    Visited your top lens, then saw you had commented back. Just had to visit more of your lenses. Pastiche, you are one fantastic lensmaster!

  • hlkljgk profile image


    9 years ago from Western Mass

    there are some wonderful ideas here - i will never _buy_ wrap again :)


  • Holley Web profile image

    Holley Web 

    9 years ago

    I am the worst gift wrapper in the world, thank you! I needed this information!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    What a fun resource. I love gift wrapping. I am the wrapper in the family. Thanks for all the great tips! 5*****

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I've used brown kraft paper wrapping and then decorated it with graffiti and decals! Looked very unique and was rather eco-friendly too!

  • PromptWriter profile image

    Moe Wood 

    9 years ago from Eastern Ontario

    Lots of great ideas. We get a lot of fliers that end up in recycling so this would make a great wrap. Can't wait to wrap something now.

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 

    10 years ago from Arkansas USA

    We used an end of a roll of newsprint for wrapping for years, decorating it with markers and all sorts of other things. Check with your local newspaper office.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Great looking and informative lens. Helpful information!

  • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

    Tiddledeewinks LM 

    10 years ago

    Time to get ready to wrap!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Back in High School, I have made a gift wrapper made of a used bond papers and I just painted it with watercolors. It saves me money and I practiced recycling. :) 5* for you.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    nice ideas. it's really helpful.

  • TonyPayne profile image

    Tony Payne 

    10 years ago from Southampton, UK

    Great ideas, this is a very nice lens. Half the problem with crafts is coming up with ideas, this should really help a lot of people. 5*****

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Awesome lens. To good not to come back and use it!


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