Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green Gift Wrapping Ideas

November is here and whether you are following my 4 weeks of Christmas or not, you will be thinking of gifts and with that comes gift wrapping.  Did you know that half of the paper consumed in the U.S. every year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products?  Canada isn’t much better, paper products account for 1/3 of Canada’s waste.  Another fact that I didn’t really know about was that manufacturing water is the largest water consumable…eek!  I have always been one to recycle (which saves billions of trees a year when Canadians recycle) and I have been going paperless over the last year both at work and at home.  I am glad to be doing my part and I want to go even farther by making my gift wrapping more eco-friendly as well…that is my challenge to myself this Christmas.Holly Border

So great ideas that I have found online are -

1 - Tulle, lace or other semi-transparent fabric.

Use this to wrap gift baskets instead of several sheets of cellophane and plastic ribbon. The clear cellophane tears easily and isn’t something most folks would think to save and reuse anyway. You can use flowers or smaller tree ornaments to decorate it as well. 

2 – Wired fabric ribbon.

I don’t know about you but I can never get that plastic ribbon to curl up nicely, but if you used wired ribbon then you can curl it on your fingers (or something else that is round) and you have these nice and elegant ribbons on your packages.

3 - Paper gift bags.

You can always buy nice gift bags at the dollar stores and most people reuse these all the time and they can be recycled when they are starting to get beat up looking. 

4 - Fabric bags.

These have been popping up all over the place and can sometimes be found at dollar stores as well.  I am going to attempt to make a few of these this year, I think that they are great for those host gifts that I bring places (for example, wine).  I found this tutorial to make a fabric gift bag that I am going to follow but have some idea’s to make them a bit fancier…I’ll post a tutorial in the next few weeks.

5 - Furoshiki.

Otherwise known as Japanese fabric folding, this technique is basically origami with fabric instead of paper. I found this chart showing all the ways you can wrap using fabric on many websites but decided to link the one to the government of Japan’s website - Furoshiki gift wrapping styles.

  Furoshiki wrapping

6 – Fabric

I have also found some cute ways to make fabric like wrapping paper by using ribbon…I am hoping to get some made up to use for wrapping some of the adult gifts I have, the wrapping fabric is part of the gift then as well.  I am also going to make a printable that you can use to print off the instructions for wrapping.  Tutorial to come during week 4ish but I have found this great tutorial that I am going to follow before trying some other ribbon ideas.

fabric wrapping paper

7 - Brown paper packages

This is the method I plan to use for most of my wrapping, I am going to purchase a bunch of unbleached brown craft paper to wrap with and accent your packages with ribbons, twine, stamps and colored paper cut outs.  I think that it will look beautiful under the tree, it will be unified but dressed up with pretty embellishments.   I have some cute ideas and I will post pictures and “how to’s” when I get my wrapping all finished up during Week 4.

Of course Martha Stewart has some great ideas, here is one -

paper cut outs

8 - Canning jars.

If you make some baking to give away that is in jars it is basically all wrapped up already, all you need to do is pretty them up a bit.  If you are a sewer you could cut out a circle of fabric and tie it on the top with twisted ribbon or twine.  Or for those none sewers, you could just take some paper and cut into a circle and place on top with ribbon or twine.  And even easier for those small jars, use a seasonal cupcake wrapper…they fit great!  Then just add a label and embellishment and you have a very pretty gift to give away.

9 - Plain paper boxes usually designed for Chinese takeout food.

These are perfect for homemade candies and other baked goods. They are also low on packaging and can be decorated with stamps or glue-on gift tags.  Easily available at Micheals but if someone has found them at a dollar store or Walmart, please let me know!

10 - Gift box with a removable top.

You see these types of gifts on TV all the time, and they are great because you can use them over and over again, year after year.  Just add a fabric ribbon and bow on the top and you are done, easy peasy.

11 - Organic elements. 

If you are tying fabric around a gift, consider tucking in rosemary, holly or ivy into the knot. It adds a little something extra, and can easily be composted afterward, making it a perfect green gift wrapping idea.

Holly Border

So once you are done all the fun of shopping don’t let the fun and excitement end there, take the chance and use the task of wrapping to be creative while staying green!  Plus, if you take the time to creatively wrap the items it will show that a lot of thought and energy went into the WHOLE gift, not just the package on the inside.   

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