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Eco friendly gift wrapping ideas and recycling your gift wrapping

With Christmas over and the thought of so much wrapping paper and ribbons being discarded, I thought I would share some top tips on eco friendly gift wrapping ideas and recycling your gift wrapping

Recycled Wrapping

Wrapping presents, especially when there is a mountainous quantity to wrap, can be an expensive business.  We are also more and more aware of our tendency to discard a huge amount of packaging and paper that could be, at least, partially, recycled before it leaves our home.  Children’s parties, workplace birthdays, Christmas, family birthdays, engagements, weddings, christenings and gifts for love and gratitude, to name but a few, all add up to a potentially huge quantity of wrapping paper every year.

Here are a few ways you may wish to recycle items and create very beautifully wrapped presents.  Both your pocket and the planet will thank you for it and the recipient will hopefully be very impressed and inspired too.

Posters.  How often does the beautiful artwork of replaced posters simply and sadly get thrown away?  Try wrapping larger gifts in these huge, glossy sheets of imagery, positioning the front of the gift for maximum use of the poster’s artwork. You could even use old photos to decorate your gifts.



Red stitched ribbon by Jane Means

Comics & Magazines.  Modern, brightly coloured gift wrapping designs frequently emulates the very graphic artwork in traditional comic books.  Using pages from comics that would otherwise be discarded creates great wrapping for kids presents whilst pages of perfume and aftershave adverts create great wrapping paper for her and for him.  Add a spray of scent to these pages to add to the effect.  Whether it is car related imagery, travel, interior design, recipe pages or fashion, magazines hold personalized wrapping paper for most personalities and most occasions.  For larger requirements, carefully tape pages together using double-sided tape.

Image courtesy of Mollie Makes 

Fabric remnants and pillowcases.  It is not only paper that we throw away.  Left over fabric and old pillowcases get discarded when they too can create the perfect wrapping and a washed pillowcase can be painted on, printed or dyed to suit the occasion.



Image courtesy of Eden Rose Lifestyle

Newspaper.  It’s true to say that there is less newsprint around today than there once was but still, we may find ourselves hunting around the house in a last minute gift wrapping situation when a copy of the Times lies beside the armchair.  Teamed up with a well-chosen ribbon or twine, newsprint can be the perfect wrapping for dad or for anyone with a passion for words or current affairs.

Black stitched ribbon by Jane Means

Maps.  How many times do old maps get thrown away when they are often a huge piece of beautifully designed and informative giftwrapping material.  The map may be of a relevant location but it may be that the recipient just loves to travel.  It may be that the gift inside relates to foreign places or it may simply be that the colours on that very large map are lovely and you have a really big box to wrap.


Brown stitched ribbon and Wooden Gift tag by Jane Means

Old parcel and wrapping paper.  Slightly crinkled parcel paper already used is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, try crumpling it up and opening out again to create an intentionally textured effect.  It is often heartbreaking to discard beautiful wrapping paper that has been used before and there is certainly no shame in recycling this paper on smaller gifts.  By avoiding harsh creases and strategically placing ribbon and embellishments or adding pleats, this paper can look as perfectly pristine as new.

Ribbons and Wooden Spool by Jane Means

Wallpaper.  We may forget that the paper we chose to put on our wall because of its beautiful colour and design can also make a very impressive gift-wrapping alternative.  Leftover rolls and rejected samples of slickly designed, high quality paper need not be discarded but saved as perfectly elegant wrapping solutions.

Ribbons by Jane Means

Country walk collections.  Whether it is in the garden, whilst walking the dog or on a country ramble, collected feathers, cones, leaves, twigs and sprigs can make beautiful embellishments to simple recycled, parcel-paper, wrapped gifts.

Cardboard roll.  A humble kitchen or toilet roll centre, painted or covered in a small remnant of felt or fabric and folded in at each and, makes a perfect, recycled gift box for small items. You can also make intricate decorations with the PVA glue handy.

Red gingham ribbon by Jane Means

Recycled packaging.  Almost everything we buy is packaged and over-packaged and, frequently, in the most beautifully designed bags and boxes.  Do not just rip them open and discard them.  Keep a collection of exquisite packaging to reuse and it doesn’t matter if it is crinkled.  Sometimes a ribbon is the only addition required.

Going nuts?

I love a huge bowl of nuts for Christmas but sometimes they get left and it seems a shame to throw them away when they’ve gone past their best.

In this project from my book ‘Giftwrapped’ I’ve added nuts and artificial fruits on to a wrapped gift using a glue gun. This nearly looks too delicious to open

I’d love to hear what you’ve recycled and do share your photos with us on Instagram
Don’t forget to tag us in @janemeans)

Happy Wrapping x






  1. Michelle Locke on January 31, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Love your ideas.❤️

    Live from New York – you rock Jane Means!!!

  2. Rachel on February 20, 2018 at 11:57 am

    What a beautiful blog 🙂 x

    • jane on February 22, 2018 at 2:55 am

      Thanks Rachel

  3. Poldi on June 22, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    Hi, everyone. Welcome to My Green Closet. So, today I’m going to share a few ideas for more eco-friendly ways that you can wrap gifts.

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