Whether you love or hate gift-wrapping, some of the following creative gift-wrapping tips and ideas may make the task more enjoyable and leave you with some truly beautiful results. Creative gift-wrapping is not about the wrapping paper or the container in which you place the gift. It is about the presentation of the gift, which is a gift to the recipient in and of itself. Some packaging actually is an additional gift or the start of a fun family tradition.
Gift Bags. Several sheets of tissue paper placed inside the gift bag make it an even more attractive vessel for gifts. An alternative to store-bought gift bags is to make one. One example is a small knit gift bag.
Fabric. Remnants from sewing projects, fabric from items that are no longer wanted, and fabric remnants on sale at fabric stores are all candidates for gift-wrapping material.
Scarves and Bandanas. Similar to the fabric idea, pretty scarves and bandanas may be used to wrap gifts. In addition, the scarf or bandana becomes a second gift for the recipient. Department stores, clothing stores, thrift stores, and ‘Grandma’s Attic’ are all great places to find beautiful scarves and fun bandanas. Perhaps a funky-print bandana used as gift wrapping will become part of a family pass-along tradition.
Homemade Tote Bags. These may be made from any number of items such as fabric placemats, sweaters or t-shirts. Homemade tote bags are also a second gift for the recipient . . . and ‘green’.
Tissue paper. Not just for package filling, tissue paper used in several layers makes beautiful wrapping paper. Stationery, party supply and dollar stores have a wide selection of tissue paper in assorted colors and patterns.
Balloons. Some small gifts may be placed inside balloons. Certain floral and balloon retailers offer this service. If you would like to do it on your own, you will need to rent or purchase a balloon-stuffing machine. Pictures of the equipment and stuffed balloons are available at the websites of such retailers as GIAB Gift in a Balloon.
Mugs. Mugs are especially great containers for gifts when the gifts are coffee, hot chocolate, tea or herbal tea. Other items such as candy and small stuffed animals are also commonly packaged in mugs.
Cartoon section of newspaper. The colorful design of the comic section makes a fun wrapping paper. The downside is that the recipient may become so engrossed in reading the wrapping paper they forget there is a gift inside.
Aluminum foil. This makes a fun wrapping paper. One thing to keep in mind is that the cheaper brands of aluminum foil are usually very thin and may rip easily when wrapping gifts.
Gift Boxes. A variety of retailers carry empty gift boxes of various sizes. This pretty boxes make wrapping paper unnecessary. Gift boxes do not need to be purchased, however. With a little bit of time and folding, you may easily make your own gift box.
Envelopes and padded mailers. Decorated envelopes and padded mailers make attractive and safe packaging for small gifts. A decorated envelope slipped in a coat pocket, lunch box or the book that is currently being read is a fun way to surprise the recipient.
Gift inside a Gift. A few examples of this are a small wooden box with a gift in it; a basket with a gift in it; a wallet with a gift card in it; a purse with a bottle of perfume in it; and sweater mittens with hand warmers and lotion inside them.
Make a gift out of the gifts. This method uses multiple gifts to make something creative in appearance. Two popular ‘make a gift out of the gifts’ are a ‘diaper cake’ for a baby shower and a ‘towel cake’ for a bridal shower. At one bridal shower, I saw a ‘butler’ that was made from household items including an ironing board, apron, feather duster, strainer, and rolling pin.
Special Packaging for Food Items. Food items as gifts do not have to be given on a plate with plastic wrap. There are many fun, creative and inexpensive ways to package food items. Several great ideas are listed (with photos) in the Dessert/Baking section of About.com. Others include putting them into kits such as a Pizza Making Kit, or putting them in a basket arrangement such as a Garden Gift Basket.
For added style and flair, top your packaging with some decoration. Any of the following items work well.
Ribbon, raffia, string, yarn, twist ties, decorative pony tail holders, balloons, craft items, miniatures, cake décor, ornaments, candy, toys, and decorative buttons. These items are commonly found at place such as Oriental Trading Company, party supply stores, dollar stores, gumball machines, fast food kids meals, thrift stores, and craft and fabric stores.
About.Com – Knitting
Small Gift Bag. Sarah E. White.
Placemat Tote. Crafters Vision. 2005.
About.Com – Frugal Living
How to Make a Sweater Bag out of an Old Sweater. Erin Huffstetler.
About.com – Frugal Living
Make a T-Shirt Tote Bag. Erin Huffstetler.
GIAB Gift in a Balloon
About.com – Frugal Living
How to Make Your Own Gift Boxes. Erin Huffstetler.
About.com – Frugal Living.
How to Make Sweater Mittens. Erin Huffstetler.
About.com – Entertaining.
Instructions for a Diaper Cake. Donna Pilato.
Your Wedding Company
Bridal Shower Towel Cake.
About.com – Desserts/Baking.
Packaging Ideas for Edible Gifts. Carroll Pelligrinelli.
How to Create a Pizza Making Kit. Daniella Nicole
Garden Gift Baskets. Daniella Nicole.