Wrap It Green

Recycled gift wrapped packages

What’s green about these colorful wrappings? They’re Earth-friendly “green” because they’re made from reused paper and other recycled items. These gift wraps look as good as store-bought ones, but you can make them yourself. Here’s how:


• Fill a box with items such as paper bags, greeting cards, scraps of paper, oatmeal containers, empty paper-towel tubes, ribbon, string, buttons, cotton balls, and natural objects (such as pine cones and evergreen twigs or needles). The more items you collect, the more interesting your gift wraps will be!

• Depending on what you are making, you’ll also need to gather art supplies such as glue, tape, scissors, craft paint, paintbrushes, markers, paper plates, and sponges.


To wrap small gifts, use cut-apart paper grocery bags. For larger gifts, tape several bags together or use a roll of eco-friendly kraft paper. Look at the wrapped gifts shown here for decorating ideas—then follow these tips to make some of your own.


Cut kitchen sponges into small shapes such as stars, trees, or candles. Pour some paint onto a paper plate. Dip a slightly damp sponge shape into the paint and press it firmly on your wrapping paper. Be sure to press down the edges with your fingers. You can use different colors, but let one color dry before adding another.


You’ll be amazed by the pretty wrappings you can make just by painting colorful spots or a pattern of stripes on plain brown paper.


It’s fun to wrap gifts in boxes with interesting shapes, such as round oatmeal cartons. You can even hide small gifts inside empty paper-towel tubes. Wrap them like the “crackers” you find in party stores by tying the tubes at each end.


Start with a paper lunch bag or a used shopping bag with handles. Cover any writing on the bag by painting over it or gluing on some of the items you’ve collected.

Check out the decorations on the gift bags pictured here for ideas. You can glue on photos or artwork cut from old greeting cards or magazines, snowmen made from cotton balls, or paper snowflakes.


Make gift tags from scraps of paper or parts of old greeting cards. Add bows made from scraps of string and ribbon or fancy paper. Attach natural materials such as pine cones and evergreen leaves. Or tie on anything else that will make your package as special as the gift inside!

Recycled gift wrapped packages