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DIY Zero Waste Gift Wrap

Creative and eco-friendly ways to prepare your  gifts

By Aldona Bird

The season of giving comes with the season of spending money on wrapping paper that quickly ends up in the trash.

Unwrapping a gift is half the fun, and there are creative and eco-friendly ways to accomplish the same fun experience with creativity, cutting out expense for bags, paper, ribbons and bows and keeping torn crumpled single-use paper out of the landfill.

One option for low-waste gift wrap is to use newspaper (like this page) or magazine pages. To jazz up newspaper wrapping, use stamps to add an overlay design in color or black. You can stamp all over, or intentionally place one stamp. Add a cloth (reusable) ribbon, and this simple upcycle can hold its own at any gift exchange.

For a more minimalist look to your wrapping you can use paper bag paper instead of buying a roll of craft paper. Cut a large side of a bag along the folds and use inside out if there is a logo or printing on the outside of the bag.

When using such upcycled materials, if you are worried about them looking underwhelming, consider overlapping visible folds to make the package look more interesting.

Visible folds work best when wrapping boxes, books or other rectangular presents. Create such a fold by placing your gift on the paper, right side up. Bring the longer sides of the paper together on the top side, and fold them over an inch together twice or more, until they lie flat on your box. Fold the shorter sides into triangles by pressing the paper against the gift on either side. Fold the triangles against the sides — if you do this securely you can even skip the tape and just tie a ribbon around the gift to keep the wrapping on.

To decorate these simple paper wrappings add cloth ribbon as mentioned above, or twine. You can even wrap the twine around multiple times, which can visually remove the need for a bow.

Tuck into the twine, ribbon or visible folds, an evergreen sprig — spruce, pine, holly or another branch. Or tuck in a winter berry branch or a little rose vine with rose hips still attached. You can also add slices of dried citrus as decoration.

If you wrap ahead of the holidays, and don’t want to use sprigs, consider cutting motifs out of old book pages, such as ornaments, hearts, trees or other and glue them on or thread them onto a ribbon.

To skip the paper all together, use fabric as wrapping paper. Use it as you would paper, or cut a square, and tie opposite corners together around the gift.

Alternatively you can sew a gift bag to use year after year. Upcycle an old sweater into gift bags by cutting the sleeves off and sewing the cut edges together to form the bottom of the bag. If the body of the sweater is in good condition cut it below the armpits and sew together to form a larger bag. This allows the cuffs and the hem to be the top edges of the bags.

If you still prefer regular wrapping paper and gift bags, consider finding them at a thrift shop. Thrift stores are also great places to find bits of fabric for wrapping and sweaters to upcycle.

However you wrap gifts this season, may your holidays be warm and bright and filled with love.

TWEET @DominionPostWV