Gift wrapping ideas using recycled bags

I haven’t bought a ton of gift wrapping supplies in my day. I have a few rolls of Christmas wrapping paper I bought a few years ago, a  giant roll of travel-themed wrapping paper that I bought for $5 from a going-out-of-business-sale, and I still have a stack of bags and tissue paper from our wedding 6 years ago that I reuse. I keep the tissue paper, bags, ribbon and bows people give me gifts in, and just generally try to be as resourceful and frugal as possible.

Which is why whenever I have a package to ship, I always wrap it in the blank side of a paper grocery bag. It’s sturdy, solid in color, and best of all – free. It occurred to me the other day when I had a couple of gifts to wrap that I should use the same technique to wrap the gifts in recycled paper grocery bags.

Below are the tutorials for both the paper bow and the name garland I made.

What you’ll need for both:

  • Paper bag
  • Scissors
  • Gift wrapping tape
  • Double sided tape, glue or an adhesive applicator (I use Tombow brand)
  • Striped twine
  • Patterned scrap book paper – double sided like this is best for the bow
  • Marker of some sort (I used a Sharpie)

For both the paper bow and name garland wrapping options, the first few steps are the same.

  1. Get a standard paper grocery bag  and remove the handles by gently pulling them off.

2.  Cut the bag sides from the bottom. Start cutting at the seam that’s already down the middle of the back of the bag. Discard the bottom.

3. Wrap your package using the blank side of the paper bag.

Paper bow tutorial:

  1. Download and print this PDF for the bow. Use as a pattern to cut the bow out of your double-sided scrapbook paper.

2. Using your adhesive, apply to the wrong side of the below pieces as pictured.

3. Fold the ‘loop’ part of the bow as pictured below.

4. Attach to the base of the bow.

5. Wrap the paper strip around the center to complete the bow.

6. Cut several 3/8″ or 5/8″ strips of paper (I used 5/8″)  – however many are needed for your package size – to act as the “ribbon”.

7. Adhere to the package.

8. Adhere the paper bow to the top.

Name garland tutorial:

  1. Using your striped twine, wrap around a few times like below. Tape down in the back to secure.

2. Using this template, cut out as many banner pieces are in the name you’re using. Write the name on top using a marker.

3. Using the adhesive, apply it to one of each of the interior sides of the banner pieces.

4. Loop around the bottom twine and press together.


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