8 Eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas



Many people don\’t realize that more gift wrap options exist than just the ever popular wrapping paper and gift bag.  To add an eco-friendly spin on your gift wrapping, try out some of these techniques.

Pull some Newspaper from the recycle bin.

It’s so simple.  The upsides are that you get a bit more use out of your newspaper and it will most likely hit the recycle bin again after the gift has been unwrapped.  There are several ways to use newspaper as wrapping paper, too.  The first method is to go for the colorful comics section.  Nothing beats a present wrapped in the Sunday funnies; your gift recipient won’t be able to resist the urge to smile.  Your second choice when wrapping with newspaper is to go for the black and white sections. No pictures, just words – but please be discerning when choosing which article or section to use. Heaven forbid you wrap your 80 year old grandmother’s birthday gift in the obituaries section.  Next, add a bright colored ribbon tied in bow for a clean, smart look.  The last option is to fold the newspaper into an origami box or into a gift bag with ribbon handles.  These work best for smaller gifts.  Origami and gift bag folding instructions can be found easily through an internet search, and many include helpful pictures or video aids.


The art of Japanese cloth wrapping has been a part of daily life in Japan for centuries.  It originated as a way to bundle clothes or other items for easier transport, and evolved into the art form that it is today.  In 2006, in an effort to increase the popularity, awareness and use of furoshiki, the Japanese Minister of Environment introduced specific furoshiki cloths to the market, but any scrap of fabric, a scarf, a fabric napkin you have handy can be used.  Simply, it is similar to origami in that you fold the cloth around your objects and secure the package with a knot. Using an item that coordinates with the gift you are giving is a sure way to impress and thrill your recipient!  Furoshiki.com offers a vast array of comprehensive tutorials on how to wrap different items such as wine bottles, books and more.  This method of gift wrapping is very simple and inexpensive.

Two gifts in one: reusable shopping bag or tea towel.

Not only is the cute wrapping a bonus gift for the receiver, but you are also encouraging sustainability by passing on a reusable bag.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Tea towels, or any towel for that matter, are another great way to add pizzazz to your gift while encouraging the reuse of items.  Grab a tea towel with a bright, fun design and secure it in place with a coordinating ribbon to compliment!

Salvage and save used gift bags and wrapping paper.

Not everybody tears into their gifts like kids do in movies.  Roll up and save pieces of wrapping paper that aren’t too crumpled or bent and use them to wrap future gifts.  Gift bags are even easier because there is no tearing involved, and for the most part gift bags go through the giving/receiving process fairly untarnished.  If we all reused gift bags, they could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Cute and reusable baskets or cookie tins.

Many people may have these lying around their house, either waiting to be used or are already being used as storage.  If you don’t have any, they are fairly inexpensive and can be found at craft stores such as Michaels® or Joanne Fabrics®.  The wonderful little tins really do hold more than just delicious baked goods, and baskets are always an adorable way to arrange gifts that include multiple items.  You can wrap so many things using handy and decorative tins and baskets; Brighton Jewelry ® has been wrapping their jewelry in tins for years.

Decorate a shoebox.

This is a great way to get kids involved in the wrapping process and to add a personal touch to a gift.  You can do so much with a shoebox, if you really dig down deep and get in touch with your diorama making days.  Almost anything can be glued to the cardboard surface.  Add some sparkle with glitter, decoupage the box with magazine clippings or Modge Podge ®, or paint your own design on to the shoebox.  The end results will be unique, personalized and fabulous.

Paper or plastic? Paper, please!

We have all experienced that moment when we get to the checkout counter and realize that we left our reusable shopping bags at home.  That’s ok, we all do it, and the paper bags actually come in handy from time to time.  Aside from being made into excellent book covers for text books, paper bags can be cut up and used as wrapping paper too.  Like the newspaper, origami offers us a way to make a sturdy gift box or gift bag.  Also, wrapping the gift can be as simple and cute as using the plain brown paper with a cute bow, or adding some flair to the paper by decorating it with doodles and messages that fit the occasion.

Painted Jars.

This is such a fun and original idea, and all you need is a little paint, a clear jar with a lid, and enough time to let the paint dry.  First, find a clean mason jar, old salsa container, or any cute clear, plastic or glass container with a lid.  Check to make sure that the jar is clean, with all the labels and sticky residue removed (alcohol can help remove the glue), and that your gift will fit inside the jar.  Drop a small amount of paint into the bottom of the jar and swirl it around to let the paint cover the bottom and sides.  Paint the outside of the lid a coordinating color and let everything dry thoroughly.  Now place your gift inside and you’re ready to go!  A ribbon or bow around the top adds a nice decorative touch to any gift, including this one.  Want an added bonus?  These adorably decorated jars make fantastic vases for a lovely bouquet of flowers.