20 Ways to Reuse Holiday Gift Wrap

November 13, 2020

20 Ways to Reuse Holiday Gift Wrap

Did you know it's estimated that in one holiday season we use enough wrapping paper to circle the globe NINE times?! Since most conventional wrapping papers are not recyclable, here's twenty clever ways (plus a few more) to reuse this perfectly good paper throughout the year.

The choice to reuse your holiday gift wrap is a commitment. These projects call for a bit of elbow grease as it is, not to mention the time and effort of salvaging the material. The benefit, though, is a superb savings in craft materials; even a relatively modest gift exchange can produce a stockload of beautiful and perfectly reusable paper and ribbons. It is a challenge—and challenges are fun! But most importantly, you'll have the peace-of-mind in knowing you did the right thing.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Challenge: save & reuse your holiday wrapping paper.

1. Party garlands! Just in time for New Years Eve or those mid-winter birthdays.

DIY Garland with Reused Wrapping Paper

2. Swirling 3-D stars

Swirling 3D Stars - Decorations made with upcycled wrapping paper

3. Hanging numbers—we're thinking a large 2022 to welcome the New Year or for a special milestone birthday. This is a great project for leftover tissue paper, tinsel and metallic or glittered papers.

4. Make confetti poppers or confetti sticks. Take a hole punch or paper cutter to leftover metallic, foiled, glittery or tinseled paper, tissue paper, and ribbons, too. Mixing different textures will enhance the confetti.

DIY Confetti Poppers - Made with reused wrapping paper and tissue paper

5. Origami boxes for Valentine’s day, birthdays, and year around gifting.

6. Shred it! Great for Easter baskets, storing tree ornaments, bird or hamster cages, etc.

Shredded Wrapping Paper - use as an eco-friendly basket filler

7. Use to create custom thank you notes - use paper scraps to decorate cards or envelope liners.

8. Kids' party hats, paper crowns, or pirate hats.

DIY Party Hats made of wrapping paper

9. DIY an Advent calendar for next year

10. Chinese New Year crafts for kids

Best Practices: Tips to Effectively Save Gift Wrap for Reuse:

When unwrapping, try to resist the urge to crumple up and throw your wrapping paper in a garbage bag. Instead, start a (somewhat) flat pile and add to it as the gifting continues. No need to be tyrant about it, you can fuss over the paper later.

At a quieter time, go through the used wrapping paper to salvage the most reusable areas. Trim parts that are extremely torn, crumpled, stapled (it happens), or covered in tape. A bit of clear tape is fine to leave, but masking tape or Duck Tape (again, it happens) should be discarded. It doesn’t have to be a perfect rectangle or in perfect condition, at this point we are just looking to salvage the best, most reusable areas of the paper. Even if you find a paper in your collection to be hideously ugly, chances are it will look fine repurposed in one of these ways.

Roughly sort paper by color and/or type, depending on what makes the most sense for the crafts you are planning. You may choose to trim larger pieces down to a more uniform size for easier storage.

11. Make treat-filled hearts for Valentine's Day. A perfect use for red or red & white paper, accent with lace doily and stamp of pink hearts to switch the look from Christmas to Valentine's.

DIY Candy-Filled Paper Hearts

12. Make decoupage gift boxes using Modge Podge. This is a great way to reuse boxes, too! Watch this video for tips on using wrapping paper for decoupage.

13. Make gift bags for next year, a great use for leftover paper and ribbon. 

DIY Gift Bags made with eco-friendly wrapping paper

14. Make gift toppers to use throughout the year! Use our paper flower templates, this poinsettia tutorial, or this paper bow tutorial to stock load a stash of gift toppers to hold you through the year. Even really Christmas-y patterns will not appear so when trimmed down and mixed up into a patchwork of patterns and colors.

DIY Gift Toppers: Paper Flowers and Gift Bows made with reused gift wrap

15. Make a paper leaf wreath - good for darker green, gold or brown papers. Add pinecones or twig accents for a lovely winter accent. Combine with paper flowers to make a blooming flower wreath for spring.

DIY Paper Wreaths with Upcycled wrapping paper

16. Weave a basket - perfect for Easter or any occasion. Use leftover wrapping paper as an accent to mix in with a sturdier white or brown kraft paper to weave a super handy—and surprisingly sturdy—basket. Watch a Paper Basket Video Tutorial

Woven Paper Basket - DIY Crafts with Reused Wrapping Paper

17. Save for scrapbooking. Make a wrapping paper scrapbook - watch this video

Scrapbooking with wrapping paper

18. Paper maché projects  

19. Firestarters: These will certainly come in handy during the winter months, but please only use kraft paper or uncoated wrapping paper, such as Wrappily, as conventional glossy or metallic wrapping papers can create noxious fumes when burned.

20. Make seed pots to start the garden. Make with Wrappily wrapping paper only, our newsprint paper will biodegrade in about 6 weeks allowing you to plant the whole seedling pot directly in the ground when ready to transplant. So easy!

Seed Starter made with eco-friendly gift wrap or newsprint

Happy Crafting!

For a smarter, more sustainable choice, shop our 100% recyclable and compostable wrapping paper. Wrappily is printed with soy-based inks on a recycled, premium-grade newsprint. We are proudly made in the USA, find out more here.