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 piece-of-mind in knowing you did the right thing.

20 Ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle your Wrapping Paper

20 Ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle your Wrapping Paper

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.
    - cut-out shapes sewn into garlands. We like stars, hearts or circles, but you can get creative!
    - paper chains (circles or hearts)
    - buntings

2. Swirling 3-D stars

3. Hanging numbers—we're thinking a large 2016 to welcome the New Year or for a special party backdrop. This is a great project for leftover 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.

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.

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

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

9. DIY an Advent calendar for next year

10. Feeling fringy? Make a piñata!

11. Chinese New Year crafts for kids

12. 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.

13. Make decoupage gift boxes using Modge Podge. This is a great way to reuse boxes, too!

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

Gift bags made of wrapping paper and recycled ribbon and twine.

Gift bags made of wrapping paper and recycled ribbon and twine.

15. Make gift toppers to use throughout the year! Use our paper flower kit stencils, 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.

16. Make a paper leaf wreath - good for darker green, gold or brown papers. Add pinecones or twig accents for a lovely winter accent.

17. 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.

Basket made of recycled paper

Basket made of recycled paper

Playful party hats for a kids' party.

Playful party hats for a kids' party.

18. Save for scrapbooking.

19. Paper maché projects  

20. Firestarters or Herbal fire starters. 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.

21. 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!

Plantable seed starter pots

Plantable seed starter pots

Best Practice TIPS:

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.

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.

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.