These DIY gift-wrapping ideas are simple and low-cost while giving you an eye-catching presentation for your gift.
You can make attractive presents without the bought wrapping paper, boxes or bags.
You can add a touch of elegance to your gift wrap by incorporating fresh flowers and greenery. Or, use dried flowers and leaves to create a rustic and earthy gift wrap.
Make sure to check out my 16 gift topper ideas for further inspiration!
bohemian-inspired Gift wrapping
Create a bohemian-inspired gift wrap by using feathers and thick natural twine, cotton or wool tied around a recycled hessian, calico or brown paper bag or wrapping.
I collect natural feathers that have fallen on the ground when I’m out walking along treed paths or strolling the beach. So they cost nothing to use.
Large leaves for wrapping
Create a gift wrap made entirely of leaves. You’ll need a plant that produces large leaves. A banana leaf can work as a natural gift wrap.
Look for large leaves in your garden that you could use.
If not, you can always use brown craft paper, which is recyclable and biodegradable, and decorate it with natural items like leaves or flowers.
Reuse product boxes
I keep product boxes for reuse in gifting presents. Not all of them, but some are quite attractive and can be simply embellished to look pretty awesome.
What looks good is a plain white gift box with a few dried flower petals. leaves or seed pods on top.
But then…black, brown or any colour would look just as good.
Simple brown paper wrapping and trims
Use a simple brown paper bag as your gift wrap and add a sprig of fresh lavender or rosemary.
Or you can use cut paper as shown in the image above. You do this by folding the paper over a number of times to form a small square and then snipping pieces out with sharp scissors to form shapes when unfolded.
It’s just one of the many creative ways to wrap gifts sustainably, to help reduce waste while still creating a beautiful presentation for your gifts.
Recycle old maps, reuse gift bags
For upcycled gift wrapping materials, consider old maps, newspaper, or even reusable gift bags.
The idea of using old maps has been around for some years now. You’ll find it on Pinterest a lot listed as one of those zero-waste gift wrapping options.
Other eco-friendly wrapping paper alternatives that have been around for generations include recycling wrapping paper from gifts you’ve received. There’s this wrinkled look, however, and you might try ironing the paper for better results.
Old gift wrapping is not my favourite, but I do like recycling gift bags given to me.
Fabric wrapping with sprigs
Another of the many sustainable gift wrapping ideas is to use cloth or fabric to wrap presents.
This method adds an extra special touch to your gift. You can use old scarves, handkerchiefs, or even fabric remnants that you have lying around the house. Add cinnamon sticks, whole anise, cypress sprigs, herb sprigs, small pine cones, or dehydrated citrus among so many other natural adornments to the cloth.
If you want to perfect this, look into Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric.
Calico, muslin, Hessian and flowers
This creates a real earthy experience. Repurpose remnants of calico, muslin or burlap (aka hessian) and add a fresh sunflower or daisies for a rustic and charming gift wrap.
These fabrics can come from sacks and bags used for transporting goods, or other applications such as upholstery, landscaping, and crafting.
Fresh flowers and White ties
Some fresh flowers will wilt faster than others. Choose flowers that will last until you present your gift. Rosebuds are an option that should last a day or two without fading.
Attach the flowers to your gift wrap with white wool, cotton or lace. Wrap the wool or cotton multiple times for effect.
Remnants from your craft box are a source for supplies or perhaps you can scavenge them from friends or family. I’ve seen remnants offered at op shops (charity shops) for a very low price.
Lace on brown
Using remnants of lace to embellish brown paper gift wrapping is a creative and cost-effective way to add a personal touch to your gift.
Simply wrap the lace around the item. This depends on how much lace you have.
If the gift is large, you could cut the lace into shapes and glue them onto the paper.
Dehydrated citrus and star anise
Dehydrated citrus and/or whole star anise can be an excellent addition to brown paper gift wrapping.
These add a natural and rustic touch to the packaging.
The fragrance of the citrus and star anise can add a pleasant scent to the wrapping, making it a multi-sensory experience for the recipient.
Tip: Include a pop of colour by adding yarn to contrast with the natural twine.
Native tree leaves to Embellish
Create a gift wrap using native tree leaves and a simple tie. Eucalypts are a great idea for this, but there are many attractive native plants you can use. It brings that nature-connectedness into gift wrapping.
Reuse honeycomb packaging
You can reuse this eco-friendly packaging, instead of throwing it out. For gift wrapping, tie it with a simple natural cord. You can also use it as protective padding to pack inside and around fragile items you are gifting.
Tote bag or decorative basket
You can skip the gift wrapping altogether and instead present your gift in a reusable tote bag or a decorative basket that can be used again and again and that will be part of the overall gift.
Upcycled and natural embellishments
Natural or upcycled embellishments add a rustic and organic touch to your gift wrap, while also being biodegradable and compostable.
You might collect these from your garden, nearby park, pantry or craft box. The idea is to use items at hand, by recycling or repurposing.
My favourites are rosemary sprigs or dehydrated citrus (I make my own from surplus fruits).
For green gift-wrapping techniques, simply use twine or jute string to tie together a choice of eco-friendly embellishments and attach them to your gift. You can also use baker’s twine, macrame remnants, wool scraps, fabric scraps, or lace or ribbon remnants.
You can even reuse potato chip bags. It’s up to your imagination as to what you can do to make gift-giving more sustainable. See also my article on ideas for gifts on a shoestring budget.