Living Simply, Repurpose & Upcycle

10 Alternative Ways to Wrap Presents

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As a child, half the fun of receiving a present was the unwrapping, the anticipation of what was inside. Sometimes I’d careful peel back each piece of sticky tape not to damage the paper and other times, I’d rip it off to see what was inside as soon as possible.

Move forward 20 years and I remember watching the leftover Christmas wrapping paper and gift cards get shoved into two green garbage bags and put in the bin. What a waste! It was time to draw a line in the sand and make a change. The following Christmas I’d sewn 20 fabric bags from the size of a paperback book to one that would hold  a dozen bottles of wine. Then I made gift cards with a greeting, names of the recipient and laminated them. Initially, they weren’t well received but within five years, everyone had made their own bags / cards and by the end of Christmas we’d return the bags to the owners and there was minimal wastage. The tradition continues today.

Now you can make your own bags which is easy if you have a sewing machine but you can also spruce up gifts in other ways. Here are some creative wrapping ideas.


Yep socks, preferably something a little fun and funky. These are ideal for wrapping bottles of wine. Slip the wine into one sock and then tie the other around the neck of the bottle. Looks great and practical.

Shirt pockets

Love these little cuties. Great way to give a gift card, little trinkets, sweets and more. Scrounge through your wardrobe or visit your local Op Shop and see what you find. Ideally source shirts that have two pockets instead of one so you’re probably not looking for business shirts so much as workman shirts.

Old Magazines, newspapers or junk mail

I used to wrap my brother’s presents in book shop catalogue, my dad’s in the hardware catalogue and my mum’s in the home wares catalogue. For kids you might use the comic section or puzzles. If you’ve got newspapers around then use that to wrap presents. In this picture I like the little touches of string or a leaf from a plant. Very sweet.

Hessian Bag It

Hessian (burlap) is a different way of wrapping gifts. Make up a dozen or so should take around an hour. If you have the time, you can decorate each bag with say a picture, a pompom, sew on a button or even a small toy if it’s for kids. You can then seal the bag with a piece of string or peg. For this gift wrapping idea, they keep the bag and reuse it. You might like to make a gift tag that asks them to pass it on to the next person with love.


I love maps and have made some gorgeous little treats for friends over the years such as bunting, heart chains and coasters. As most of us move to using digital maps, the car maps (Melways here in Australia) are now superseded.  So here are some cute ways of reusing those maps rather than tossing them into the recycling bin.

Jars or Tins

This cute little cupcake is a clever way of giving a gift to someone. A glass jar, cleaned and sterilised turned upside down and a cupcake placed inside, sealed with the lid and a little ribbon around the base (gift tag could be included).


Using an old shirt, towel, left over fabric, tea towel – to wrap a present. There are many different ways to wrap something and in Japan it’s a popular way of wrapping gifts. If you use something like a tea towel, it also becomes part of the gift because they can use it again.

Pots & other oddities

My youngest and her bestie once made dozens of succulents to sell at a school event. They put them into beautiful cake cardboard containers – delightful. Even today we still have some of them. So here is a chance to find little pots, salt and pepper jars, sugar containers whatever you find that could be reused and planted with something special. (You could also fill with bath salts or sweets or chocolate),


Why not think about wrapping something in natural materials. Using generous sized leaves such as banana leaves, palm fronds or even moss. Use toothpicks, pegs or double-sided tape you can secure them in place.


It feels like a crime tearing up a book but let’s face it – there are some books that are just never going to be reread or used. Whether it’s an encyclopedia or paperback novel, you can carefully cut out pages and glue / staple them on three sides to make a bag. Either turn the opening down with a fold or again, a peg or even a little button. These can be used over again and again.
I’ve got a great board on Pinterest called Wrap It Baby that has more ideas. You can find it here.
There are many other ways to wrap presents but here are 10 that will get you started. Now it’s your turn. How have you wrapped gifts differently in the past? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Leave a comment below
Happy wrapping!


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