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Guest Post: Creative and Frugal Ideas for Gift-Wrapping

Guest Post by Monica from

Aside from the usual 90% off roll of Christmas wrap, my favorite gift
wrap has become brown kraft paper and simple hardware store twine. The
brown paper is on sale for $1 a roll frequently at Walgreens and twine
can also be purchased for $1 at dollar stores and Big Lots.

Here
are some ways I've dressed up simple brown paper with odds and ends
of crafting supplies. I've found that pages from old books, mini clothespins, magazine
pictures, felt scraps, sticks from the yard, buttons, ribbon and sewing
notion scraps are all wonderful things to work with!

(Click on any of the images below to see a larger and detailed version.)

Christmas wrapping 2 edited

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Misc 136

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Christmas wrapping 7 edited

Christmas wrapping 2007 1 edited

Those are just a few of my ideas, what about you? What are your favorite creative and frugal ideas for wrapping or embellishing gifts? I'd love to hear!

Monica enjoys blogging about the simple pleasures of faith, family, and home over at .

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38 Comments

  • Honey says:

    I love the last three especially. I like to wrap birthday presents in the comic section now that I get the newspaper regularly. I also always do the big sale after Christmas at either Walmart or Target. And I like to recycle from gifts that people give us. My kids like to do the brown paper with stamps, stickers, etc. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • april says:

    Great ideas!

    Once I used pages from a colorful animal calendar for wrapping paper. This works great for small boxes like earrings. My favorite was a zebra where I used just the body of the zebra for the top of the gift and tied a red ribbon around it. Looked great and the paper was so thick it was nice!

  • says:

    Oooh, very cool. I love the last one with the buttons.

  • Melissa says:

    It seems that I get nice sized world maps in the mail on occasion. After saving a few, I realized my map stockpile was ridiculous. Now I use them as wrapping paper!

  • Stephanie says:

    Last year, I kept it simple, but oh so cute! I used brown craft paper, curly ribbon and then I bought a big box of plain red, gold and silver ornaments for $3 at BigLots. Then I wrote the names of who the gift was to on the ornament in paint pens that I had in my craft stash. I attached the ornaments to the packages with the curly ribbon and they were simple and beautiful. This year, some of those ornaments have made it onto trees.

  • Jennifer B. says:

    We do similiar things with plain colored re-useable gift bags, brown paper, and even paper lunch bags. We decorate them with all sorts of things, usually based on the theme of the gift, event, or party we may be attending. I have even included a special “Happy Birthday” greeting, rather than purchasing or making a separate card. My son is only 2 1/2, and already enjoys decorating gift paper and bags. We always include a picture of the final product and/or of my son creating his masterpiece as a a keepsake. Our extended family and friends really enjoy this.

  • Anon says:

    Those are too cute…I almost wouldn’t want to open the gift!

  • says:

    Monica,
    You are a gifted gift wrapper!!! So cute!
    -Mary Ann

  • Jan says:

    Very pretty and creative! I have found wrapping paper on sale for $1 already this year. Most Christmas stuff goes on sale up to 90% off after the holidays so I just buy it then for penneys.

  • Cassi says:

    These are very pretty. Wrapping gifts can be SO expensive! I buy all my wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags on clearance through out the year. I also save bags that my family and I receive gifts in. They are still in great condition so reusing can be a great money saver.

    I like to wrap gifts in cellophane with a pretty ribbon. This gives a peek at the gift without unwrapping it!

  • Tracey Sandmeyer says:

    I love this site! I have referred many friends and co-workers to it. Thanks for all you do to offer us mommies money-saving deals!
    Blessings, Tracey

  • Melaney says:

    My husband works at the local newspaper so we use the end rolls of newsprint (butt rolls) to wrap most of our gifts. I usually enlist the kids to decorate the paper using markers or crayons. Your local newspaper will very likely let you have them for free or very nearly free. I think our newspaper sells to the public for $2/roll and there is always plenty of paper. The paper is also nice to use as a table cover for the “kids table.” Give the kids a few crayons and they can keep busy drawing, playing tic tac toe, etc.

  • Stacey says:

    My mom would save Christmas cards that she thought were particularly pretty or had good pictures. They dress up simple wrapping paper quite nicely and can work as tags too.

    I have an aunt who has been known to use fabric. It is different and reusable, although one does have to watch out for the pins.

  • denise says:

    please enter me in this great giveaway!! The Pay it Forward idea has caught on, and I would LOVE to use this gift card to continue the giving — we only have one store remotley close to us here in Westmoreland TN, but well worth the drive!! Merry Christmas everybody!!

  • says:

    Rather than $1.00 for a small roll of brown paper–I buy a humongous roll of Contractor Paper from lowes. It runs around 6.00 a roll but this roll is HUGE Ours has lasted for over four years….we have used it for wrapping, crafting, painting for the kids, chalk drawings…whatever….it is well worth the price of 6.00 a roll.

    For Christmas wrapping, we stamp it with Christmas stamps and tie up with a ribbon.

  • Amy says:

    This year, for the very first time, a friend and I got together at her sewing machines and made reusable cloth drawstring gift bags in a variety of sizes. We used remnants of Christmas fabric and grossgrain ribbon she already had on hand. They are beautiful and reusable for many many years to come. I can’t wait to make more.

  • says:

    What a challenge for your family to buy all those wonderful gifts for 100.00! In the last few months I have been on a mission to save my family money. Being a stay at home mom there I have become very aware of our spending! Please enter me in the giveaway!

  • Leslie says:

    My daughter will love making the button xmas tree on the presents she wraps! Thanks for the cute idea!

  • says:

    These are wonderful ideas! I love this & will have to try these with our kiddos! They’ll have a blast helping.

  • Marlene Conley says:

    I love a challenge. I would have a great time shopping.

  • zsera says:

    those are all so cute. I would have a hard time spending all that time making that stuff to have someone unwrap it up and throw it away. lol

  • says:

    I love your gift wrapping!! Too cute! I just blogged about frugal giftwrap today. If anyone’s interested, you can check it out at:

    Thanks for your fabulous blog!! 🙂

  • andrea says:

    I love Burlington coat factory and I can’t believe you got all of your gifts for under $100. Wow!

  • Jessica Basciano says:

    I haven’t shopped at Burlington Coat Factory since I was a teenager, about 20 years ago. I don’t remember the items being so cute or the good variety. I am going to check out the one near me on Sunday! Thanks for the info!

  • Janet says:

    I have been using brown paper for years. As a military wife who has moved many times I have tons of it from moves. My biggest problem with wrapping a unique gift is when it has to be sent (overseas I find the hardest) Bows never work. I use ribbon and many similar ideas that you have above and I have managed to clear a ton of clutter out of my home simply by using it as unique wrapping or gift toppers. Buttons seem to work particularly well. I use old stickers (as a retired school teacher I have a ton) Newspaper I think works well with a red ribbon. I Love the look of green satin ribbon on brown paper. Blue satin ribbon looks well on foil.

  • says:

    I often wrap with artwork my kids have made. We don’t have enough room to save pages and pages and just about anyone for whom we’d buy a present loves it. (With young kids, I find it easier to let them color it before wrapping.)

    I usually use the comics, magazine pages or calendar pages. I haven’t bought wrapping paper in years, more as an environmental stand than anything else. I love the pictures here, but realistically know I wouldn’t take the time to make mine so very beautiful!

  • says:

    I am doing this this year too, but I am letting my two year old color and put stickers on it to decorate it for us and finishing it with a big red bow. I got tons of ribbon 60% off this week at Michael’s.

  • Rebecca says:

    With the economy doing as it is, I think this Christmas will be a small one for many. Focusing on the positive, not getting caught up in the consumerism of the holiday is kind of refreshing!

  • Cindy W says:

    I use the brown paper also and we also use the brown paper grocery bags we get at the store. They have pretty snowflakes or trees printed on them so we just cut them open to lay them flat and it makes great wrapping. We also use twine and this year instead of bow we are tying on a pine cone that my kids painted white on the tips and sprinkled on some glitter.

  • Cheryl Goss says:

    I love this web site. Thanks so much for all the tips.

  • says:

    Gorgeous… simply gorgeous.

  • Kim says:

    I save all the gift bags I receive (wedding, birthdays, baby shower, etc.) and I reuse tissue paper as well. I just iron out the wrinkles and it’s good to go. I keep my stash in an under-the-bed box and rarely do I have to purchase anything new.

  • KTB says:

    Maps. I love to use maps as wrapping paper (not so much for Christmas, but most other occasions.) Recently I saved a big box of “outdated” state maps from a local visitor center that was recycling them as newer versions arrived…but there are lots of other places to get these free or almost free. You can get them from tourist bureaus, information centers, pick them up from brochure racks in hotels, get them in conference packets, etc. I’ve also purchased a big stack of National Geographic maps (the ones that come inside each issue of their magazine) at a rummage sale for about $1 for 24 or so maps.
    They are sturdy, thick paper, colorful, and large enough for most packages. Twine or yarn make great “ribbon” and package imbellisments can be a lot fun including: a collage of postcards, a tiny plastic telescope, baggage tags to later be used on a suitcase, a plain keyring with mini (laminated) cards with simple foreign-language phrases, etc.

  • MeghanM says:

    For weddings I like to paint the First letter of the grooms last name on the gift wrapped in that brown paper bag like paper. Then wrap a nice ribbon around the gift with a silk flower. I’ve gotten thank you cards saying they didn’t want to open it it was so pretty!

  • says:

    Great ideas!! I have a ton of buttons I have been saving and this is just the special project I have been waiting for.

  • Emily Mitchell says:

    Very cute packages – I think people really enjoy something special like that.

    Talking about inexpensive wrapping – I was wrapping my kids Christmas presents and noticed that some of the store bags are pretty or have characters on them – so I wrapped the presents in those neat bags. I know it says ‘Macys’ or ‘Disney’ but all they see is the pretty star or the Mickey Mouse. (Young kids (o:)

    -Em

    Thanks,

  • says:

    Those are really cute! Thank you…my son will love to help to wrap now!

  • says:

    We turned our wrapping day into a craft day. My three year old loved it! We used stickers, and glitter glue, and other various things. The only problem we are having is the tape doesn’t stick as well to the paper. (maybe b/c its cheap tape?)

    thanks-liz

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