100 Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

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The amount of packaging that we throw away is just eye watering. So today I am bringing you over 80+ eco friendly gift wrapping alternatives that will limit this waste. Using eco wrapping ideas such as eco friendly wrapping paper is the best way to have a more eco friendly Christmas or birthday. Have you ever thought about how sustainable your gift wrap is?

Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

Our gift giving habit, and the packaging that goes with it really has become a bit of a problem. Did you know

  • An extra 30% of trash is produced in the holiday season compared to the rest of the year?
  • That the UK alone will bin the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper (around 227,000 miles worth) each Christmas? Thats enough to wrap the island of Guernsey!
  • That the majority of store bought wrapping papers cannot be recycled due to glitter and/or plastic content?

If you factor in what we use on birthdays and the occasions beyond the festive period that all boils down to a whole load of predominantly plastic waste. So what are some gift wrap ideas that are less wasteful and better for the planet? 

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Outer Packaging Ideas

For me personally, I prefer to reuse what I already have that to buy something new. This is so much better for the planet too. And there are so many ideas of things that you can reuse as eco gift wrap paper or packaging 

I am a bit of a hoarder, and so I tend to put aside a lot of boxes, tissue and wrapping that I am sent or given throughout the year when I buy online or in the shops. It is amazing all the free gift wrap that is just handed out to us over the years in everyday life!

I personally think that the best eco friendly wrapping paper comes from reusing all the kraft paper packaging I am sent. I give it a press with an iron and then print onto this, to make an eco friendly wrapping paper roll of my own. Depending on what stamp I print it can be reused as recycled Christmas wrapping paper or eco friendly gift wrapping paper.

Whatever your lifestyle, I bet you can find lots of ideas from the list below that you could use right now without ever having to buy wrapping paper again. There are so many options here, and it can become a really addictive thing to find things that you already have to wrap presents in! Plus, you will be so much happier for the declutter and money saved by doing it.

Pattern tissue wrap with old lace and fabric scrap decoration

So what are some eco friendly gift wrapping materials?

  1. Reuse old gift bags –  Just add a new tag to have more eco friendly gift bags
  2. Repurpose old wrapping paper. To reuse wrapping paper that you have been given is a great idea.
  3. Use up old boxes – perfume and toiletries often come in lovely boxes that are easily glammed up to reuse.
  4. Save up all your old tissue paper from clothes and online purchases – use it again.
  5. Cut up brown paper bags from shopping at the grocery store – and reuse as wrapping paper.
  6. Use an old map as a wrapping sheet.
  7. If you sew, you often end up with extra pattern sheets of tissue. Reuse these as wrapping. Use the instruction sheets too if the pattern is to be discarded! A perfect wrapping idea for a fabric gift if you have a sewing friend!
  8. Reuse old sheet music – it often comes as a long continuous piece.
  9. Use plain brown parcel paper – decorate with potato prints or stamps – the kids will love this!
  10. Use kraft paper
  11. Utilise all the ‘artwork’ your child brings home from school – the grandparents will love it!
  12. Make some newspaper bags for awkward shaped items. Or use newspaper as wrapping.
  13. Decorate an old jar and use tissue paper inside for smaller items.
  14. Reuse a free reusable tote bag – I have loads, I am sure you do too, and this can be then used all year around by the recipient. 
  15. Make your own fabric tote bag in fabric personal to the recipient – or upcycle old clothes/bedding to make one –find my tutorial here.
  16. Use an old pillowcase and tie at the top.
  17. Wrap a kitchen present in tea towels.
  18. Use old calendars.
  19. Make eco friendly gift boxes from old greeting cards – find a tutorial here.
  20. Find an old tin – from cookies, tea or chocolates, and repurpose this.
  21. Use an old chocolate box as packaging.
  22. Make a homemade fabric drawstring bag – see how here – or buy reusable bags for family use. Make it a family tradition to use reusable gift wrap!
  23. Use an old toilet paper tube as a small gift box – squish it a little then fold the tube ends in slightly to make a perfect size box for jewellery or a small gift.
  24. Use an old scarf to wrap your gift – the scarf fabric wrap is part of the present!
  25. Reuse a baby muslin square as gift wrapping
  26. Use a square piece of cloth, organic cotton or upcycled bedding to try Furoshiki wrapping – see how here.
  27. Turn a large crisp packet inside out – wash it and use as shiny wrap.
  28. Use an old Pringle tube – these cannot be recycled, so really need reusing whenever possible.
  29. Make a basket from old greeting cards, and fill with treats.
  30. Cut off arms of old jumpers or other clothes, sew the raw edges together and tie the top to make a unique bottle bag.
  31. Reuse old paper store bags as gift bags – designer store bags are often very similar!
  32. Find some biodegradable wrapping paper or compostable wrapping paper. Shops are becoming more aware about recyclable wrapping paper, and are starting to make their own sustainable christmas wrapping and recycled wrapping paper.
  33. Buy handmade, local artisan paper that uses water based inks and dyes.
Furoshiki fabric gift wrap

Sellotape And Glue Alternatives

Next when wrapping gifts we need some viable alternatives to hold the wrapping together as a parcel. The great thing about kraft paper and brown parcel paper is that due to their stiffness they do hold their shape quite well. But sometimes you do really need something to just hold things in place.

So what are some eco friendly gift wrapping tape alternatives?

  1. String
  2. Jute twine
  3. Washi Tape
  4. Paper tape – I will probably be using this, or
  5. Paper Stickers
  6. Water gummed tape
  7. Repurposed fabric or paper ribbon
  8. Old Lace
  9. Bias binding – find out how to make your own here. Sew the edges together to get a beautiful wrapping ribbon.
  10. Raffia
  11. Wool
  12. Butchers twine
  13. Recycled Ribbon
  14. Lace
  15. Bias Tape
  16. Fabric scrap twine – see how I make mine here
  17. French Knitting Strands
  18. Flour glue – which is really simple to make by mixing flour and water.
  19. Elasticated beads.

Parcel securing alternatives to sellotape

Gift Tags And Decoration Alternatives

Gift tags are also some of the things we need, so what can we use for more eco friendly gift wrapping supplies? 

  1. Upcycled greeting card tags – just use pinking shears or a cutter to make cute tags from your old greeting cards.
  2. Cardboard tags with added embellishments such as fabric scraps, or book cuttings
  3. Vintage or new postcards
  4. Brown paper gift tags.
  5. Clay ornaments
  6. Salt dough shapes
  7. Origami and paper made decorations
  8. Snippings from the Christmas tree
  9. Cut pieces of foliage from the garden
  10. Cut flowers during the spring or summer – make corsages or mini bouquets to decorate your gifts.
  11. Pine cones
  12. Lavender sprigs
  13. Dried leaves and conkers in autumn – drill a hole through the conker
  14. Holly leaves and berries
  15. Rose hips – these are a favourite of mine as they often dry well and have long twigs to attach them
  16. Dried fruit
  17. Other berry stalks
  18. Old brooches and broken jewellery pieces.
  19. Vintage lace
  20. Homemade bow made from newspaper, an upcycled book, or leftover pieces of your recycled gift wrap.
  21. Bells that have decorated chocolate bunnies and reindeer, or Christmas crackers
  22. Old christmas cracker trimmings
  23. Wood circles 
  24. Pompoms
  25. Loose beads – especially wooden and glass.
  26. Dried flowers
  27. Cinnamon sticks
  28. Newspaper tags
  29. Hessian bows
  30. Scrap fabric bow or reusable gift tag
  31. Candy canes
  32. Wrapped sweets and candies
  33. Nuts in shells
  34. Seashells

Brown paper parcel with stamps , twine and greenery decoration

Eco Friendly Gift Packaging For Inside A Parcel

Not only do we need to think about the outside of a gift, what if you have a gift that is extra fragile or delicate and needs extra protection in transit or the postal system? Well here are some more eco friendly packaging solutions.

  1. Shredded Newspaper or cardboard
  2. Corrugated card
  3. Scrunched up newspaper or eco wrapping paper
  4. Scrunched up brown packaging paper
  5. Reuse old bubble wrap and packaging pillows
  6. Eco peanuts – packaging peanuts that are made from a cellulose material that dissolves in water

Again – if you can reuse and store some you are given it makes for the most sustainable gift packaging idea. I am lucky that I have a large corner in my attic that is filled with any packaging that I am sent, so if I need to send a parcel I have a lot of choice of what I can  use!

The Takeaway Conclusion To A Sustainable Gift Wrapping Habit

Maybe it is time to rethink our gift giving altogether? And maybe by doing this we automatically make a far more eco friendly lifestyle choice. 

Maybe instead of giving so many presents, you could

  1. Refuse to buy so much
  2. Gift experiences over things
  3. Agree to only buy one present each
  4. Give the gift of your time or expertise instead
  5. Buy a subscription or gift lessons instead?

You could also make it a family tradition to use reusable gift wrap, be it fabric gift bags, reusable wrapping paper or recyclable christmas wrapping paper for all your family occasions.

In the end, using these environmentally friendly wrapping paper alternatives are a great simple lifestyle swap that we can all easily make, and if we all do a little, then it will make a massive impact on the environment.

So Will You Be Using These Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Options In The Future?

As you can see, whether it be birthday, holidays, weddings or any other occasion, there are a host of eco friendly wrapping paper alternatives that you could be using. And by using these eco friendly gift wrap ideas to wrap gifts instead of traditional gift wrap, you can really show your creative flair and originality. Ultimately, the only limit is your imagination.

Which of these gift wraps ideas is your favourite?

Other Posts Of Mine You Might Like

Have you enjoyed this post on more sustainable wrapping paper alternatives? If you love everything zero waste crafts then you may also like these posts. I also have plenty of handmade gift ideas projects on my site, so go take a look.

Are you going to try out any of these eco friendly gift wrapping ideas? I love to see all your projects. Do comment  your view below, or tag me in your makes on social media. Find me at

Instagram: @ARoseTinted

Facebook: A Rose Tinted World

Twitter: @ARoseTintdWorld

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10 Replies to “100 Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas”

  1. Caz / InvisiblyMe says:

    Ooo lots of fantastic suggestions and ideas, Jo! I love the one about using your kid’s artwork, that’s a lovely one for gifts to grandparents.

  2. Michelle says:

    These are all great ideas!! I think my favorite is reusing old sheet music, especially if you have Christmas music!

  3. Note Me Happy says:

    A friend of mine uses fabric to wrap her gifts, they look really good and she washes and reuses! #MMBC

  4. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs says:

    Loads of great ideas here Jo! I have started to use recyclable paper.
    I used Kraft paper last year and decorated it. I thought it may be quite a faff, but it was quite fun and looked more personalised too. x

  5. Ruth says:

    Such fantastic ideas and practical suggestions! I think I will have to reconsider how I wrap my presents this year.


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