Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rethinking Gift Wrapping

fabric gift wrapping
This gift is wrapped in a small batik tablecloth and tied with a silk ribbon, probably from a bathrobe tie.

In order to reduce waste (since we no longer have  garbage service!) and never have to buy gift wrapping supplies, I used to save the wrapping paper from all our gifts, carefully folding it and removing the tape, mourning the bits that got torn, and then trying to hide the flaws when I reused the paper... I am pleased to say that I never have to worry about reusing paper wrapping these days. Fabric wraps are so much easier to reuse, and they don't show wear like paper does. They are harder to tape effectively, but proper folding and use of ribbons eliminates the need for tape anyway.

Fabric Gift wrapping
This one is wrapped in a fancy table runner & tied with a disco belt
I have always loved wrapping gifts, and these days the wrapping is often as much a present as what's inside. I have acquired a collection of used, scavenged, and repurposed scarves, saris, and tapestries, or even pretty cloth napkins or pillowcases, that work great for gift wrapping. Wrapped up in beautiful fabric, tied with a silk ribbon (or, often an old, beautiful belt from a robe, coat, or dress) these gifts can look very elegant. I love that there's no waste; I never cut anything and I never use tape. I just wrap, fold and tie.


fabric gift wrapping
A sarong works great for wrapping this large boardgame.
I'll often choose some lovely wrapping that I think the recipient will particularly appreciate, but frequently I just have to use whatever fabric will cover the gift well, especially if it's something large. I don't ask for the wrapping back, but sometimes people offer it if they don't want to use it themselves. However, I like the idea of this method catching on as the recipients of these gifts then wrap their presents for others in the same fabric. I've had some people excitedly ask me "Can I keep the wrapping?!" I always say yes!

fabric gift wrapping
Wrapped in a silk scarf and another robe tie
Of course, if you have kids you probably have an abundance of fingerpaintings, drawings, and random art projects that can make great wrapping paper. I save any large, colorful or sparkly paintings for wrapping gifts. For these, I do break out the roll of tape. A gift for grandparents can be made extra special when it's decorated with kid's art. It also gives these paintings a new life, and your kids will probably enjoy seeing their art gracing some beautiful gifts.

handpainted gift wrapping
A repurposed painting with a bit of Gris Grimly's art glued on.

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39 comments

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April 17, 2012 at 11:10 PM

I loce wrapping gifts in items that become an additional gift themselves. Great Ideas Ms Mellow!

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Jan
April 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Oh how pretty! I hate spending money on wrapping paper and usually save the comics from the Sunday paper someone gives us to wrap presents. This is much prettier though. I have a handful of my daughter's old dresses hanging up that I was going to goodwill, but I think they would make lovely wrappings! Beautiful idea!

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April 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I love the idea of giving new life to outgrown dresses. If you sew up one end of a child's dress, at the hem, you could turn a dress into a little gift bag!

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max
April 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Quite original, nice way to recycle and re-use materials and old wrapping etc.

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April 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

This post reminded me of this:
http://furoshiki.com/techniques
No ribbons necessary!! (Allegedly)

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May 25, 2012 at 5:10 AM

Fabulous! Loving these thrifty ideas. :)

Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week.

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May 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Very nice! My family uses a lot of gift bags that we made out of scraps and some holiday fabric bought at a post-holiday sale. Having 3 closed sides makes it easier to tie. The ones I made inspired my mom, cousin, and a friend we exchange gifts with to make some of their own, so now after several years of swapping we have quite a variety!

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May 25, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Nice! Yes, I like using wraps that are more like bags, and sometimes have sewn up my own or just used a pretty pillowcase. I love how you swap them out with others who make different varieties, that's very inspiring.

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July 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Wow, what beautifully wrapped gifts! Adds such a nice, personal touch too :)

Thanks for linking up with Tiny Tip Tuesday!

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July 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your website is very cool. This website has got really useful info on it!

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September 6, 2012 at 7:49 PM

I use towels and cloth napkins a lot to wrap presents now. I've used vintage fabric pieces that were large enough for people I knew were quilters.

(I found you via the Friday Fun Party)

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September 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Nice to know others out there are also doing this! I think it's very classy ;)

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October 11, 2012 at 6:41 AM

Great ideas! I hate spending money on wrapping paper. Always looking for inspiration! Thanks for sharing! New GFC follower.
Blessings,
Nici

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November 17, 2012 at 7:24 PM

these are fantastically beautiful. i hope to try this at Christmas this year! Thanks for sharing at my Handmade Blog Hop

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November 26, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Makes gifts so much classier looking!! Thanks for sharing!

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December 18, 2012 at 7:48 AM

What a great idea! reusable and much more beautiful than wrapping paper. Thanks for sharing.
See what I've been up to at: www.kshippee.blogspot.com

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January 5, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Love it! I am still in the saving and reusing paper stage, but we also do always have lots of kid's art that gets used both for wrapping and for cards. It's a great way to use up all those paintings!

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January 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

I do save paper from gifts occasionally, but honestly this is so much easier! The cloth wrapping doesn't get messed up from tearing or tape or storage, so it always looks beautiful. You can use anything like tea towels, pillowcases, scarves, baby blankets... so many possibilities!

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March 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Ha! I was just linking up my gift bag sewn from the Sunday Funnies over on "or so she says" when I saw your post. I love it, so pretty!

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March 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

These are super cute. This year I made a ton of bags out of scrap fabric and used them to wrap the gifts. Everyone asked if they could keep the bags, they loved them so much. I never expected the bags would be considered a gift, I was planning on giving them away anyway!

Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday. I've pinned it :)

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March 3, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Homemade gift bags are such a great idea. It's a great that they can be reused for the next person, and won't show the wear and tear of a paper gift bag!

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April 5, 2013 at 6:36 AM

What a great idea. I would really like to get a present where the wrapping is just as good as the gift inside.

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April 5, 2013 at 7:15 AM

Such a GREAT idea for gift wrapping! I'd love for you to link up a few crafty projects at my weekend link party@The Weekend re-Treat!
on The Best Blog Recipes!

Hope to see you there!

Shauna
http://thebestblogrecipes.blogspot.com/
http://ready2loseweight.blogspot.com/

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April 5, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Hi, I saw your post on Diana Rambles: Pin Me Linky Party #27. I love your ideas about gift wrap. Pinning! When my oldest daughter got married, we used a lot of white tulle. I couldn't bear to throw away all that tulle and the lovely silk flowers and leaves, so I brought them home. Used them for some church dances, and then had about two or more years worth of gift wrap before I finally wore it all out or gave it away on the gifts. It was prettier, less expensive, and much more planet-friendly than buying all that paper and tape. Yep, I'm a big tree hugger:) Have a great weekend!

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April 5, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Thanks Shauna, I'll check it out!

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April 12, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Very creative. I like this idea.
Thanks for posting at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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April 18, 2013 at 3:31 AM

Your packages are beautiful! Years ago I made simple fabric gift bags and we use them every year for Christmas (and also birthday) presents. It takes just seconds to drop a present into the bag and they look much nicer than I could ever wrap with paper before.

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April 18, 2013 at 5:20 AM

You've inspired me - I have many scraps from years ago when I sewed for my kids... It's time to pull those out! Right now I'm using maps as wrapping paper. Each State has a travel bureau and you can order maps to be mailed to you for free!

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May 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

I love wrapping with towels - it's like giving 2 gifts! Thank you for sharing this on Fluster's Creative Muster Party!

Robin
Fluster Buster

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July 18, 2013 at 7:12 PM

I've done this a few times, but not nearly as often as I could. I usually opt for tissue paper or gift bags. The cloth wrapped gifts add an elegant touch, and you don't have to worry about being perfect when wrapping, BONUS!

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July 26, 2013 at 5:21 PM

I love fabric wraps! Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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October 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Very clever! And definitely reduces waste!

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