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23 Ideas for Used Gift Wrapping Paper

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts, and culture, and sharing that knowledge.

Make paper jewelry with leftover gift wrap.

Make paper jewelry with leftover gift wrap.

23 Ideas for Recycling Wrapping Paper

In many households, the holidays represent spending time with family, cooking delectable meals, and giving in the form of gifts and time. Celebrations at other times of the year also involve those same qualities.

But when the celebrations are over, it's hard not to feel a twinge of guilt at the trash bags full of used wrapping paper.

What to do with it? In these days, when many consumers are becoming more eco-conscious, it seems wasteful to throw all that paper away, especially when it could potentially be used for other things.

The following list includes ideas for what to do with all that used gift wrap.

Use origami to make gift boxes out of used gift wrap.

Use origami to make gift boxes out of used gift wrap.

Used Wrapping Paper Ideas

The following list includes ideas for what to do with all that used gift-wrap.

  • Use it for origami. You can make splendid things with it, including ornaments.
  • Use it to make ornaments for the following holiday season. The sky's the limit as to how or what kinds of ornaments you can make.
  • Make placemats with all that gift-wrap. Cut out placemat-sized pieces and glue them onto some cardboard (to make them sturdier) and laminate (see links below for laminators).
  • Make coasters using the same method as for the placemats. Cut out paper big enough to sit under a cup, back it with some cardboard, and laminate.
  • If you like scrapbooking, then saving paper is a must. You can create beautiful backgrounds and effects using gift-wrap.
  • Use wrapping paper to decorate picture frames that are too plain. Wooden frames work well.
  • Use wrapping paper with different patterns for decoupage.
  • Use different typs of gift-wrap to make collages and other artistic creations.
  • Put through a paper shredder and use the shreds to fill gift baskets and gift bags.
  • Line a drawer with some of your favorite used gift wrap patterns. Use 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to scent the paper.
  • Got a CD of favorite songs to give to a friend? Use the gift wrap to make a CD sleeve with staples or glue.
  • Glue several pieces of gift wrap paper together to make a bookmark and then laminate.
  • Make a magnet. Cut out different, small shapes such as stars or gingerbread men, back with a piece of cardboard and laminate. Glue onto a magnet and let dry thoroughly.
  • Use it to make interesting book covers.
  • Use it to line bulletin boards or other corkboards.
  • Use gift wrap to make festive paper jewelry.
  • Use wrap to make a sculpture.
  • Use it to make beautiful cut-out snowflakes.
  • Use gift wrap to make unique paper art.
  • Make holiday cards with it.
  • If you know how to make paper, you can make more paper with the gift wrap.
  • Make tags for gifts.
  • Make a chain to go around next year's Christmas tree.
Make coasters using wrapping paper.

Make coasters using wrapping paper.

Save It for Another Day

Still, this all takes time. Right after the holidays, or right after a celebration, many people don't always have the time to sort out the paper.

Simply fold it and put it into a gift box or other convenient storage place until you are ready to use it.

Recycle or Don't Use Gift Wrap at All

Maybe space is an issue.

You can recycle gift wrap.

However, it's wise to call the recycling center ahead of time. Recycling centers have different requirements for paper. Glossy, glittery, and foil wrap tend to be the most difficult to recycle and many centers won't take them.

There is another way to reduce the amount of gift wrap you throw out.

Don't buy it.

Instead, use other materials that you have on hand. Paper bags, newspapers, tissue paper, even different sorts of cloth can be used and they create unique, beautiful presents.

Used gift wrap is now a commodity.

Its uses are limited only by our imagination.

Old gift wrap can be turned into beautiful snowflakes!

Old gift wrap can be turned into beautiful snowflakes!

© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun

Comments

Jack Smith5 on January 02, 2020:

Love your CD sleeve ideas. It's simple but wonderful concepts. Thanks for sharing such creative ideas.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 30, 2012:

Nina - I love snowflakes, too, hehe. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Nina L James from chicago, Illinois on December 30, 2012:

I just love the snowflakes!!!!! What a great way to reuse old x-mas wrapping paper. Very creative!!!! Voted up.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 29, 2012:

B. Leekley - thank you for your feedback! I appreciate the shares. :)

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on December 29, 2012:

Good ideas. Up, Useful, and Interesting and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 28, 2012:

Better Yourself - I'm so glad you like these! I have fun with leftover gift wrap every year and make some great things with it for sure. :)

Better Yourself from North Carolina on December 28, 2012:

Love these ideas!! Never thought about reusing gift wrap and what great ideas! Can't wait to try the drawer liner and book cover ideas!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 28, 2012:

Iguidenetwork - thank you very much. I definitely have fun with a lot of these ideas. Cheers!

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on December 28, 2012:

These are very wonderful suggestions. Creative and resourceful. Voted up and useful.:)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 27, 2012:

Vicki - That's a fun idea! Haha, I LOVE it that you have the recycled bags year after year. I wish EVERYONE would adopt that policy, hehe.

KerryAnita - I love those earrings, too! What fun!

Cyndi - Hi, Cyndi! Hehe. I love the scrapbooking ideas and even the earrings and even coasters - I'm trying them all. :) Happy New Year to you, too!

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on December 27, 2012:

Hi Cyndi, Great, great ideas. I'll be using some of them, especially using for scrapbooking ideas. Maybe, I'll even try the earring idea. You're so creative! Thanks for sharing your inspirations. (Can't get enough of writing that name :-)

Have a wonderfully creative New Year!

KerryAnita from Satellite Beach, Florida on December 27, 2012:

Wow, what creative ideas! I love the earrings!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on December 27, 2012:

Great ideas. Wrapping paper does work well in lining drawers. Our family rarely uses it anymore, as we pass around the same ole recycled bags year after year. :-) Sharing and pinning.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on October 11, 2012:

Stillwaters307 - yeah, around the holidays, it's definitely nice to have a quick and easy project to do in one sitting. Thank you for stopping by!

stillwaters707 from Texas on October 10, 2012:

I love your ideas about tags and CD covers. I like short crafts so I can quickly see the finished products. Thanks for the ideas!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on October 09, 2012:

ElleBee - It was a fun challenge to see how many things I could come up with in this list, hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

Blond Logic - reusing gift wrap does indeed make for some fun post-holiday craft activities. The book covers are fun - they're always so unique. :)

Rose - Thanks so much! I admit, I still look for other ways to use wrapping paper - even now. Hehe.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 09, 2012:

Great topic for an article! I hate wasting wrapping paper and am always looking for ways to re-use it or avoid it altogether. Bookmarking and sharing.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on October 09, 2012:

What great ideas. I always hated throwing it away. It is the perfect activity when winter pulls in and people stay at home.

There are so many beautiful designs on paper these days. I love the book cover idea.

Great idea for a hub.

ElleBee on October 09, 2012:

Wow. There really are a lot of uses for reusing paper. Never would have thought there were this many. One of my elderly aunts (now long deceased), used to take the paper off her gifts very, very, carefully and then rewrap future gifts in the paper.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on October 09, 2012:

Natashalh - fun stuff!! Yes, post-holiday crafting fun sounds great! :D

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on October 09, 2012:

Crystal - hehe, yeah, I try to go the "paper route" when I can just so that I can do some fun stuff with it afterwards. :D

Natasha from Hawaii on October 09, 2012:

Paper jewelry...now there's an idea. Hmmmm. I can sense some post=holiday crafting fun!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on October 09, 2012:

Fantastic ideas! I always prefer to get gift bags because I can reuse them, and I can't reuse the wrapping paper (I thought.) You've given me another perspective. Voted up and sharing.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 26, 2011:

I love the sounds of those cloth bags! I'm going to look into that! You're so green, mldjgulley! I appreciate your comments.

mljdgulley354 on December 26, 2011:

cclitgirl, these are great ideas. My family uses cloth bags that my stepmother makes for us so we don't have a lot of wrapping paper.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 26, 2011:

Thanks, Stephanie. :) I made my whole family save every bit of it yesterday, hehe. Now, I'm going to figure out what all to do with it. :D

Stephanie Henkel from USA on December 26, 2011:

The day after Christmas and I was just feeling guilty about throwing out the used gift wrap. I think I'm going to retrieve some of it and use some of your very good ideas! Thanks for a timely and useful hub!

Jeff_McRitchie on December 14, 2011:

Your Hub contains some excellent suggestions. Voted up. Happy Holidays!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2011:

WOW! Thanks for the info, Sinea!! Thanks for the follow, too. :) You're *awesome*.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on December 12, 2011:

Love these great ideas. Found your on ThePracticalMommy on Hubpages FB page!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 09, 2011:

Thanks for stopping by, FrugalandFab. I hope these will help people to have a more "green" holiday season. :)

FrugalandFab from New Hampshire on December 09, 2011:

Lots of great ideas. I'm looking forward to putting some into action this year. Thanks so much

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 07, 2011:

Thanks, Simone! I'm really glad you liked those tips. :)

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on December 07, 2011:

Such good ideas! I'm always super stressed with the amount of waste generated by wrapping alone, so it warms my little heart to see such good re-use tips :D

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 06, 2011:

Glad you like that idea, starstream. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 06, 2011:

I really think lining some drawers would be a great plan. Thanks.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 06, 2011:

Kris, thank you. I'd love to know exactly how to make different paper jewelry. I've tried a few little things, but I haven't ever gone in depth with it. That sounds fun!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 06, 2011:

loanyi, thank you for the comments. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 06, 2011:

Great ideas. I just had someone teach me this summer how to make paper jewelry from wrapping paper - it was pretty cool!

loanyi on December 06, 2011:

Good ideas and very creative. How clever to use those gift wrap instead of throwing them away.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 06, 2011:

Thank you for your comments, RTalloni. And the vote, too. :)

RTalloni on December 06, 2011:

Neat ideas for using gift wrap over and over again. Love the origami ornaments!

Voted up.

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