Awesome party outfit? Check! Dancing shoes all shined up and ready to go? You bet. Thoughtful gift? Yes! Sweet and heartfelt message on the birthday card? Done. All that’s left is to wrap the darn thing, but you’re out of wrapping paper. No sweat, here are five ways to wrap that present up all pretty-like by reusing materials you find around the house.
1. Potato print paper
Cut potato in half and cut out shapes in relief (this part is for the grown-ups). We suggest hearts, stars, lightning bolts, circles, squares, et cetera. Paint stamps with a brush, or dip into a tempera paint-filled plate.
Pro tip: Make a “stamp pad” by soaking a piece of felt in the paint plate — this gives a crisper potato print. Stamp potato all over paper. The key to good potato prints is pattern. Go nuts. For the paper itself, use old newspapers, tissue paper (from your recent purchases or old shoeboxes) or blueprints. You can acquire old blueprints by calling up a local contractor.
Pro tip: Make sure you use the Arts & Life or Style section of the newspaper — a murder-suicide headline really saps the party spirit. All these techniques can also be applied to paper shopping bags. Jean Van’t Hul a.k.a. The Artful Parent made wrapping paper with her daughters by rolling play dough tools through paint. She also suggests checking out Daisy Yellow’s bubble wrap art. Paint bubble wrap with multiple paint colours and then stamp on paper in interesting patterns (or haphazardly).
2. Crayon chip paper
While we’re all nostalgic for the potato print crafts of our past, we’re kinda blown away by this melted crayon-shaving idea from Momtastic. Place a sheet of wax paper on ironing board. Then take tissue paper, newspaper or blueprint paper and place on top of wax paper. With a kitchen peeler, shave crayons directly onto paper.
Pro tip: Create a palette using Color Trends and stick to those colours. Place another sheet of paper over top of crayon shavings and iron with the iron on its lowest setting. Place iron directly on paper and lift straight up in a dabbing motion. Momtastic says you will get wax on your iron. Just wipe it off.
When was the last time you pulled out a road map rather than the Google Maps app on your phone? You probably have a couple just sitting in the junk drawer. Add a little ribbon and you’re good to go.
4. DIY gift box from an old greeting card
Is the gift tiny? Would it fit in a jewelry gift box? If so, grab an old birthday card and cut it in half along the fold. This tutorial explains the process well. And if your gift doesn’t fit in such a tiny box, you can follow the same process with an old filing folder or cereal box. If your DIY gift box doesn’t have its own design on the top, break out the markers or potato stamps.
5. Recycled calendar pages
Don’t you love how calendars have such large, bright images? It’s nearly October, what good are the calendar pages from January to August to you? Rip out a picture or two, wrap up that gift and secure it with some tape. (The pictures are so awesome, you won’t even need ribbon or a bow). How cool is a gift wrapped in a Van Gogh or a puppy? Very!