11 Ways to Wrap Gifts without Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is big business. This time of year stores tout it in their displays, tempting us to wrap our gifts in shiny, colorful, and expensive papers. I’m always amused at the cost of gift wrap after the holidays, it’s 50 percent off. Nice.

Anyprettypaper, after years of spending big bucks on wrapping presents, I’ve decided to put a wrap on this needless expense. This year I’m getting creative, green, and frugal when wrapping presents for loved ones. Besides, I’d rather keep the pretty paper in the forest, on the trees.


Here are 11 frugal (and green) alternatives to wrapping presents without gift wrap:

1. Roll it in Reusable Shopping Bags

Many readers have mentioned they are wrapping their gifts in reusable shopping bags this year. The readers are smart. Reusable shopping bags reduce the number of plastic bags released into our environment and provide an awesome alternative to gift wrap. Give a gift and give it in a reusable bag.


There are many colorful reusable bags to choose from nowadays. Here’s a frugal Reusable Grocery Tote Bag 6 Combo Pack ($9.95 Amazon) in multiple colors. Split the pack and you’ve got 6 ways to wrap gifts.

2. Swaddle it in Baby Blankets

If you’ve got a new parent on your gift list, try swaddling holiday baby presents in a receiving blanket. Very creative, and very helpful to new moms and dads.


3. Can it in Cookie Tins

Who doesn’t have a few cookie tins laying around the house? Get gifty this year by placing presents in a simple can. Vintage cookie tins make especially nifty gifties.


4. Put a Lid on it with Jars

Give a homemade gift in a jar. If you’re not into giving food then place toys or other smaller items in a jar, then put a lid on it.


5. Drape it in Fabric

Use leftover sewing notions to drape gifts in fabric. Add some ribbon and you’re good to give.


6. Bag it in Reused Gift Bags

Re-gift those gift bags and see if you get yours back next year. Snicker.


7. Tie it in a Scarf

Giving a warm winter hat with a pair of gloves? Tie it in a scarf to complete the set!


8. Crate it in a Jewel Box

If you’re giving something small, try placing it in an old ring box. So pretty.


9. Dress it in Wallpaper

Use your wallpaper scraps to dress up holiday gifts.


10. Wrap it in Used Gift Paper

Get some crinkled gift paper and wrinkle it some more. The extra folds and wrinkles give it an intentionally disheveled feel.


11. Pack it in Painted Postal Parcel Paper

Go postal with some simple brown postage paper and add some painted stripes. Get the kids to draw designs with markers, paints, or crayons.


For stripes, I often paint random and uneven lines to give it the homemade look. If you’re into perfection, here’s how to paint perfect stripes.


There are so many ways to put a wrap on gift paper. Got any other gift wrapping ways to add to this list?

Your two cents:

  1. Andrea December 17th, 2012

    As mentioned in with other comments, I used tea towels alot and hand towels to wrap gifts. I also save our daughter’s art work through out the year and wrap prezzies with them (she comes home with so much from preschool!). Also, I re-use gift bags, and make my own cards.(Also, I don’t write in my cards, I just use post-its, and then the card can be enjoyed this season and re-gifted next). I put my handmade cards in a clear envelope – along with a white envelope and adhere the card to the outside of the plain gift bag – so it dresses it up quite nicely!

  2. Alice December 20th, 2012

    Like everybody else pointed out, you forgot the best way of them all… FUROSHIKI!!!!

  3. Jane January 2nd, 2013

    I haven’t bought wrapping paper for years and have used most of the above mentioned ideas. This idea is for children’s birthday party loot bags. Use the coloured clear plastic newspaper bags. They are usually pink or blue which is fun. The kids can see through them, so they don’t feel the need to unwrap their goodies on the spot either!! You can cut them down to appropriate size, even tie in a knot or add some ribbon. The kids always loved these loot bags because they were different and free for me….always a bonus!

  4. Sarah October 23rd, 2013

    in the UK you can get free wall paper samples from many diy stores….I haven’t bought wrapping paper in years!

  5. Loaine December 25th, 2013

    Enjoyed reading all the neat ideas for wrapping gifts. Just wanted to share a couple of mine. One year I saved cereal boxes, painted them with acrylic paint and made different designs using sponges,scrunched paper and different colors of paint to decorate the boxes. These were well received and even reused by the recipients the next year. This year I decided to use old pillow cases. They hold almost any shape or size of gifts. Just tie at the top with a ribbon and attach a name tag to ribbon. Very quick and simple and no mess of wrapping paper to dispose of and the grandchildren loved being able to carry their own “sack” of goodies home themselves.

  6. TwoYellowDogs.Terri August 30th, 2014

    I’ve got one to add. 🙂
    We went on a 3 mth trip across USA (to celebrate our early retirement)… We learned on that trip, there is “no place like home!” I also had a drawer full of old paper maps that needed cleaning out when we got home… not wanting to just throw the lovely maps into the recycle bin… For Xmas the year after our trip, I “themed” Our Xmas, No-Place-Like-Home. I wrapped ALL of our presents in old paper maps. And made a cute little ‘ornament’ as a package tag announcing “No Place Like Home”. Used Green and Red ribbon to get a little bit more traditional feel. (I still have lots of maps… and will continue to wrap presents (as appropriate) in them until they have found new life before the recycle bin.

  7. Pamela E December 15th, 2014

    I am giving the children at Children Church hats & gloves for Christmas. I am trying to think of a creative way to present the itmes to them without wrapping them in gift wrap paper. Help!!!

  8. TwoYellowDogs.Terri December 15th, 2014

    @Pamela, one year I gave gloves. I put one glove inside the other, put a small gift card inside, looped some ribbon and a jinglebell at the top to make a loop, so they could be hung like christmas stockings. You might be able to put the gloves inside the hat (hat open side upward) and use some ribbon to make a hanger and hand the filled hat like a stocking?

  9. TwoYellowDogs.Terri December 15th, 2014

    This year I packaged all my presents to look like USPS packages. I reused brown craft paper and brown shipping boxes. Made “fake” shipping labels, printed them from my own printer on plain white paper and cut them out with fisker sissors that made the edges look like ‘stamps’. Attached the labels with a glue stick. The return label being who the package is FROM:, and the words “Deliver to:” with the recipients name. Found some old kite string in the garage and tied that around. When I was a kid, this is how my parents prepared packages for USPS–brown craft paper and string. Check out the pic in the website link.

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