Telephone: 01522 522544 | Email:

10 recycling & eco friendly gift wrapping ideas

I’m often asked about recycling tips and eco friendly gift wrapping ideas, so I decided to dedicate a chapter in my book ‘Giftwrapped‘ about it. It is also an important part of my business so we recycle everything from ribbon spools, packaging and remnants.

financial times gift wrapping

Although I’m not a hoarder, I hate throwing away small offcuts, leftovers and remnants so here’s my top ten gift wrapping ideas to help the planet.

Fabric wrapping

Fabric leftovers

1. If you’ve got to tackle an awkward shape, raid your sewing stash and use a fabric remnant. Here I’ve used a thick linen and frayed the edges by hand, adding a luxury ribbon and embellishment to wrap a vintage vase.


pleated ft gift wrapping

Pleating leftover newspaper

2. Give boxes the luxurious touch by pleating a leftover Financial Times newspaper.  Use double sided tape for a professional finish.

To pleat the paper you make small folds in the paper (ensuring they are straight) and add some sticky tape to the reverse to avoid the paper stretching when you start wrapping the box. (There’s an easy step guide in my book)

dvd roses

Wrapping plants

3. When gift wrapping a plant, use a fabric remnant or a used (but clean) paper tablecloth.

These are both flexible for awkward shapes and are suitable for a damp base as the moisture will soak in to the wrapping.


recycled gift wrapping ideas

Adding Sticks and feathers

4. For a rustic finish add in sticks and feathers to your gifts collected on country walks using brown paper with raffia or string.

You can also recycle creased or used brown paper and this is a suitable style when wrapping gifts for men.

egg box eco gift wrapping

Pop small gifts in to empty egg boxes

5. Empty egg boxes can be decorated and are perfect for small gifts, chocolates or soaps.  Add a band of decorative paper or fabric and tie a bow to finish

wrapping a magazine subscription

Use old scarves for that element of luxury

6. I love the Japanese form of fabric wrapping (known as Furoshiki).  Old silk scarves make great wrapping for awkward shapes.

In this project we’ve rolled up a magazine with a subscription and tied it neatly in a scarf.

eco friendly gift wrapping idea

Joining paper leftovers

7. If your paper isn’t long enough to go around a large box, join an extra piece and cover the join with ribbon.

This looks very creative if you mix 2 opposite papers and is ideal for using those short leftovers you would normally throw away.

A roll of brown paper is an ideal paper that goes with most colours and designs.

music paper gift wrapping


Scrolls and straws

8. Small scraps of paper such as music sheets can be easily added as a decoration. Roll them up with a paper straw underneath and tie in with ribbon.

Eco wrapping tips

Tie in fragrant herbs and foliage

9. Add an extra sense by tying in fragrant herbs or foliage. The most suitable for gift wrapping are Rosemary, Bay, Laurel and Ivy.

You can also write on foliage to make rustic gift tags too.


paper cones

10. Paper cones can easily be made with vintage music script and are perfect for children parties, sweets and snacks.

If you wish to giveaway a small gift, the cone can be sealed at the top with some skinny ribbon.


I would love to hear about any of your own recycling projects and hope you will now look through your garbage with new eyes!


Happy wrapping…






  1. Gem on March 8, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Some great tips Jane. I’ve already started filling a box with bits and pieces I will be able to use for wrapping gifts in future. I’m still buzzing following Thursday’s course 🙂 x x x

  2. Janet Hassall on March 8, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I love all the ideas for recycling, I have used the paper from the inside of wrapping paper roll, it made an excellent medium for wrapping a valentines gift for my husband.

  3. Janene at ooobop! on December 20, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Beautiful ideas, Jane. I really should get over my fabric stash and use some pieces for wrapping. Have a wonderful Christmas x

  4. Kathleen Preston on March 19, 2016 at 2:13 am

    These are wonderful ideas! I am always looking for ways to wrap gifts without always using new items. I love re-purporsing items, and if it adds to the beauty of an object, how can you go wrong? Thanks for sharing. (Every day is Earth day!)

  5. […] First up – Britain’s expert gift wrapper Jane Means: […]

  6. Craftfoxes » Gift-Wrapping Techniques That Wow! on November 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    […] without extra craft materials, there’s always room to be creative when wrapping a gift. Pleated wrapping paper will add a sophisticated touch to gifts without costing a […]

  7. Marcia Bruce on August 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Using egg cartons is a concern to me – especially for a food item.
    Eggs can carry things like salmonella, which could be in the carton
    and be easily transferred to the gift.

    • jane on August 16, 2018 at 5:42 am

      We buy plain egg boxes which we use to mail our artificial speckled eggs and used this in our feature. As the decorative eggs are made from polystyrene there’s no issue there with salmonella. Thanks for your comment …point noted JM

  8. Derick Gisselle on August 31, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Really awesome ideas you share on this blog. I get the some best ideas for gift wrapping. Thanks for sharing.

    • jane on September 1, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you

  9. Svetla Antonova on November 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Beautiful, useful and eco-friendly. Thanks for inspiration!
    Wonderful blog!

  10. Marilyn on November 21, 2018 at 2:04 am

    My husband has been wrapping gifts in newspaper and brown paper bags for years. His weren’t quite this beautiful. I love your ides and also love repurposing anything I can. Thanks again for all your wonderful ideas 😁

  11. […] (Via) […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.