3 Clever, Crafty, Sustainable Ways to Wrap Holiday Presents

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Image Credit: Carrie Waller

DIY in a Day brings you step-by-step instructions for easy projects that will spruce up your space — within 24 hours (or less!).

This holiday season, we're on a quest to turn gift wrapping into a clever, crafty, and sustainable experience. Our top tip right now is to save your shipping boxes and recycle them into cute packages. Below we have a few of our favorite ways to wrap them up without having to spend too much money or extra waste. Plus, a DIY bonus using leftover gift wrap at the end, so keep scrolling!

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Things You'll Need

Wrap a Plain Box in Twine and Natural Accents

Step 1

Take a plain cardboard box and tape it up with clear packaging tape — or better yet, use washi tape (like these festive designs) if you prefer a little more color and pattern.

Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Step 2

Wrap cut twine in a thick section across the center of the box. Turn the box, and repeat in the opposite direction using a new section of cut twine. Tie the ends in a small knot at the bottom of the present, or use a glue gun to secure the twine against the box.

Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Step 3

Attach accents like an evergreen sprig and pine cone to create a centerpiece for your wrapping design. Use a glue gun to attach the accents or tuck them between the twine. (Note: this twine can easily be reused after the gift is opened, so try to save it for future use.)

Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Paint a Recycled Shipping Box

Step 1

Turn a recycled shipping box into a plain cardboard gift box by peeling off all labels and stickers.

Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Step 2

Paint the cardboard on all sides using a 2-inch foam paint brush in whatever color you choose. We used leftover house paint and acrylic craft paint so that we didn't have to buy anything new. This keeps the project extra sustainable. Let the first coat dry for 30 minutes, then paint on a second coat.

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Step 3

Allow the second coat to dry for at least an hour, and then add a fun accent pattern using a smaller detail brush in a coordinating color. Allow the paint to dry overnight, then fill the box with your gift, and wrap it tight with ribbon.

Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Choose Sustainable Wrapping Paper

If you want to use wrapping paper, try to buy certified recycled sustainable wrapping paper. This is an easy ready-made solution for those of you looking to be more conscientious this gifting season, but who might not have time to DIY anything. Try this cool gift wrap cutter to make the process extra easy!

Image Credit: Carrie Waller
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

Bonus: Turn Used Wrapping Paper Into DIY Magnets

To take things further, turn leftover wrapping paper into fun seasonal magnets by using a round craft punch to create circles. Then, simply glue the paper circles to foam pieces that have been cut to the same size and shape, and add an adhesive-backed magnet to the back of each.

Image Credit: Carrie Waller
Image Credit: Carrie Waller
Image Credit: Carrie Waller
Image Credit: Carrie Waller

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Carrie Waller is the writer, stylist and photographer behind the lifestyle and crafting blog, Dream Green DIY, which was founded in March 2011. Her work has been featured by Domino, Better Homes and Gardens, Design*Sponge, HGTV Magazine, Country Living, Rue Daily, Glitter Guide, and Apartment Therapy. Carrie lives in Waynesboro, Virginia, with her husband and their three pets.