You can purchase eco-friendly gift wrap and bows, but it can be fun and creative to make your own. You’ll save money too.

Your creative wrapping will enhance your gifts, and inspire others to make their own gift wrapping. Here are some ideas for dressing up your gifts without wasting paper and using plastic.

Scrap Paper

If you look around your home with a wrapping paper mindset, you will probably be surprised with how much potential wrapping paper you have around your home. Here are some possibilities – from your recycle bin, magazine racks, book shelves, and so forth:

* Magazine pages
* Old maps (check your car glove compartment or seat storage pockets)
* Comics
* Newspaper
* Aluminum foil (Save clean, used aluminum foil and smooth it out with your thumb. If you lay it on a flat surface with a slightly raised pattern, the pattern will show through and make a nice design as you smooth it.)
* Waxed paper
* Old book pages

2. Cloth

Do you have old scarves or other scrap cloth? Use the cloth rather than paper to wrap gifts. Shirts, skirts, handkerchiefs, napkins, antique linens, and so forth can all be used to wrap gifts. If your recipient likes to sew, he or she might find an alternative use for the cloth wrapping.

Or maybe you are giving a scarf or cloth items as a gift. In that case, you need not box and wrap items like napkins, kitchen towels, tablecloths, sweaters, scarves, etc. Just fold the cloth item and tie it with an eco-friendly string or ribbon.

3. Look Around Your Yard

For gift bows, you need look no further than your yard or a nearby park. Pine cones, teasels, seed pods, pressed leaves and flowers, holly leaves and berries, and even pretty twigs make wonderful alternatives to bows when attached to the top or side of a gift. Use natural twine – preferably twine that you have saved over the course of the year.

4. Save Kids’ Artwork

Do your kids like to paint or draw big, colorful works of art? Save these creative pieces and use them as wrapping paper. This is more eco-friendly than purchasing paper and decorating it. You are using artwork your kids create over the course of the year, which they would be creating anyway. It’s paper you’d have to throw away or store, and reusing it as wrapping paper makes for colorful, low-waste gifts.

5. Make Your Own Bows

Reusing last year’s bows is a time-honored tradition in some households. It’s good to recycle and reuse, but eventually you need new bows. If you want to make your own eco-friendly bows, all you need is scrap paper. Last year’s gift wrap would work, as would any gift wrap you receive from your less-green friends. You can also use any scrap paper.

Simply cut the scrap paper into strips about 4 inches long by 1 inch wide. One at a time, fold the paper strips into a loop with the colorful side out. Tape the closed end to the outer edges of a cardboard circle (old cereal boxes work well for this backing). The size of the circle is up to you.

Continue with the folding and taping as you work toward the center. End with a single loop in the center, closed end down. You could also put a pine cone or other eco-friendly item in the center.

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