Reusing Wrapping Paper

Several years ago when my grandmother moved from her house into an apartment, one of the tasks we faced was sorting through the boxes in her basement to determine what would go with her and what would be donated. Among the finds was a large box filled with wrapping paper scraps, some fairly substantial in size and most in very good condition. I immediately siezed upon it and went through the scraps with zeal.

There were so many examples of vintage patterns from the 1960s and '70s, which I loved: gold Christmas wrapping with big depictions of a Victorian fireplace setting in black, repeated in a maze of pattern; cherry blossom wrapping paper in pink and white; bright pink and green wrapping paper made up of Andy Warhol style poinsettia plants. I kept all of it and have used it in scrapbooking, card-making, stationery projects and, yes, to wrap small gifts as well.

A couple weeks ago in the Martha Stewart Living newsletter there was a great feature on reusing your wrapping paper scraps. Here are some of the ideas, many of which I've used over the years:The first thing to do is to save the wrapping paper that you are most impressed by: both on gifts that you receive and leftover pieces from rolls that you buy. To keep it organized, keep it in a clear container for easy recognition and store it in a dry, dark place, making sure the lid of the container is firmly sealed. This is a great way to create an instant pencil holder. Clean an old aluminum can and then embellish it with a beautiful strip of wrapping paper, pulling it taut and gluing it firmly at the seam where the edges meet.Making notebooks with used wrapping paper is a great way to customize and personalize your journals.Why spend money on bookmarks when you can very simply make one? Glue pretty wrapping paper strips onto cardstock paper and cut it into a rectangle. Punch a hole at the tip and tie a ribbon or twine through it.If you have any hardcover books that have lost their dust jackets, use wrapping paper to cover them. They will look extra pretty on the bookshelf and you can easily title them by using stick-on labels attached to the spine.Using wrapping paper to make cards is a simple and fast way to create something unique and memorable for your friends and family on special occasions.
Try lining the bottom of a tray with beautiful wrapping paper to make it seasonal or festive. You can shred wrapping paper scraps to package gifts that are breakable by using it as filling inside the box. It's also an attractive way to securely package gifts that you are sending in the mail.
Use small squares of wrapping paper as label inserts on storage boxes to colour-code the contents: pink is stationery, blue is craft supplies, etc.I've always loved this project. Cover clipboards with wrapping paper and then hang them over a work station as an attractive way to keep notes, mail and documents in view but still organized.


Anonymous said...

These are great ideas! Unfortunately, I don't have a stash of vintage papers, just daisy prints and hideous Barney type graphics. I may have to purge and start over.

Anonymous said...

your suggestion of using shredded wrapping paper for inside packaging is good but wrapping that box as a gift it needs to be nested yet again in a larger sturdier box for shipping don't you agree. A sturdy exoskeleton or suit of Armour properly addressed with adequate postage ensures the journey across state or country or town - that small box is shipped along in a sea of boxes smaller and larger heavier and of equal weight. Make sure your "egg" is in a secure shipping container. Also if one creates a 3-d card or craft be sure to select a padded envelope of a manila folder size to ensure processing on a machine designed for larger magazine like parcels. A No. 10 envelope or a birthday card sized envelope is processed on high speed machines designed for say bills and correspondence of a few pages and the weight allowed by a single first class postage stamp Please choose the proper envelope do not send keys coins of lumpy items in an envelope designed for paper correspondence -- make sure your item arrives safely and does not JAM the machine risking your lumpy package and the other letters ie. bill payments, letters mailed from correctional facilities to be destroyed or equally messed up!!


Renee, it's never too late to start a collection! Anonymous, thanks for your mailing/shipping tips!

Will said...

gosh i love this post! i am totally obsessed with paper and collect scraps all the time :-) i often buy several rolls of wrapping paper because is love the design... paper is fun!

JIm Eber said...

I scan my papers if I only have a scrap, enlarge it, print it and use it on cards and scrap books. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas.