How to gift wrap presents beautifully (even the oddly shaped ones)
Everyone knows the old adage, “it’s what’s inside that counts”. But, when it comes to gift wrapping, what’s on the outside counts too! Wrapping gifts beautifully doesn’t have to mean lots of expensive ribbons and fancy flourishes. In fact, some of the most stylish gift wrap ideas make use of simple brown paper decorated with recycled or natural materials.
In this blog, I’ll also be showing you easy, sustainable and creative gift wrap ideas for Christmas. We’ll look at how to buy recyclable wrapping paper and gift wrapping with fabric that can be used again and again. Finally, read on for tips for how to wrap odd shaped gifts professionally, from bottles and boxes to spheres and cylinders.
How to choose recyclable gift wrap
Many people don’t realise that gift wrap that has foil decorations or a glossy coating cannot be recycled, leading to a huge amount of avoidable waste at Christmas time. Instead, look for uncoated printed wrapping paper or plain brown kraft paper, which is easy to recycle. I’ve noticed a positive shift this year with more retailers making an effort to sell recyclable wrapping papers and less cellophane packaging too. Don’t worry if brown paper gift wrap sounds drab… this blog post is filled with simple ways to make it look beautiful!
5 brown paper gift wrapping ideas
Brown kraft wrapping paper is easily recycled, so it's a great eco-friendly gift wrap option. Try these ideas to dress up plain paper and give your gifts the wow factor!
- Gingerbread biscuit gift tags
I came up with these gingerbread gift tags years ago for the Sunday Times, and I still bake a batch every year. You can use any shapes you like, just make a hole with a skewer to thread ribbon through. My gingerbread recipe makes firm biscuits that won’t disintegrate when threaded as tags or garlands.
- Rubber stamped wrapping paper
Decorating brown paper with rubber stamps is quick and easy so it’s a nice Christmas crafternoon activity for the kids. Simply buy a selection of festive rubber stamps and stamp away. While you’re at it, you can create matching gift tags too.
- Foraged natural gift decorations
This is a simple idea for decorating brown paper wrapped gifts with any foraged materials you have to hand - a sprig of pine foliage, a pretty feather or some red winter berries. All you need to do is wrap your gift, tie with natural jute twine and pop your foraged decoration underneath the string. Tie on an understated luggage tag to complete the look.
- Photograph gift tags
Make your gifts look extra personal by adding photo gift tags. This is a lovely way to bring back memories from the year gone by and share them with your loved ones at Christmas time. I like using the mini squares from Inkifi for this. These photo prints are only 6cm square which is the perfect size - they cost £2.50 for 12 prints.
- Dried orange gift decorations
This gift wrapping idea smells as good as it looks! Dried orange slices are simple to make and can be used all around the home at Christmas: add them to mulled wine, string them into a garland, hang them on the tree, or wire them onto a wreath. Follow this tutorial to make dried oranges.
Gift wrapping with fabric
The Japanese art of gift wrapping with fabric is called furoshiki and it’s a lovely way to give two gifts in one! At its simplest, you can just tie pretty fabric around your gift with a knot but, if you feel ambitious, there are many ways to fold furoshiki into elaborate decorative shapes. You can re-use any offcuts of fabric you have at home, or buy ready-made furoshiki online. The idea is that the recipient keeps the fabric wrap and re-uses it next time they have a gift to give.
How to wrap oddly shaped gifts
It’s not easy to work out how to wrap an irregular shaped gift. From bottles to cuddly toys, you might find you either use miles of wrapping paper or turn to the trusty gift bag! I’ve hunted out the best Youtube video tutorials for wrapping the most problematic shapes, so you’ll know how to wrap oddly shaped gifts this season.
And for those who need to go back to basics…
Wrapping gifts with eco-friendly materials is one simple change we can all make to enjoy a more sustainable Christmas. Make sure you subscribe to our email newsletter where we’ll be sharing more tips throughout the festive season, from ways to shop locally and check you’re buying British, to reducing waste and giving gifts that really last. For more gorgeous gift wrapping ideas, head to our dedicated board on Pinterest.