Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas

Easy and Beautiful Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas

Gift giving and wrapping doesn’t have to go against our green goals!

Plastic, glitter, and tape make wrapping paper unsuitable for recycling and composting, so what do we do? Do we just give in and be wasteful? Heck no! With a little creativity, we can green our gift giving! To help us get there, I’ve collected and tried some of best ideas I could find and share here with you!


Recycled & Upcycled Packaging/Shipping Paper
More and more stores are going back to shipping things with recycled kraft paper and I have saved a bunch. This year I decided to try to recycle and upcycle the used paper into free gift wrap!

Upcycled Packing Paper Sewn Gift Bags

A variety of reusable gift bags I made from used packaging paper.

I used the recycled paper in several ways from traditional to Japanese style wrapping, to making my own reusable gift bags! Although in the end I chose to be creative and keep everything recycled, eco-friendly and upcycled, all of my inspiration came from these great sites!

Reusable Paper Gift Bags

  • DIY Wrapping Paper Gift Bags Video
    This video tutorial was very helpful to me for understanding the basics of how to make a gift bag. Since I am trying to go as eco-friendly as possible, I skipped the tape and chose to sew my bags instead using double layers of reused shipping paper. They look vintage, strong and should be reusable for years! 

  • DIY Wrapping Paper Gift Bags Picture Tutorial
    Here are the step-by-step picture instructions to the video from Designer Trapped above. The video is awesome, but the pictures really helped me when I tried to fold my first bag.

  • DIY Fabric or Paper Gift Bag Tutorial
    Although I didn’t follow the pattern and did my own creative thing, Tonya Larson’s eHow post gave me the inspiration to use kraft paper instead of fabric or new wrapping paper.

  • Upcycled Sewn Paper Gift Envelope
    My post, “How to Make Easy Upcycled Gift Envelopes” by Darlene Goes Green is coming soon!

Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Sewn Paper Envelopes
These sewn upcycled gift wrap envelopes can be made to any size. Perfect for books and other flat gifts!


Recycled Cardboard Gift Boxes
I made these fun little gift boxes from our paperboard recycling with from patterns I found online. Great for treat boxes! I colored them with sustainable/compostable colored pencils and tied them with organic baker’s twine, natural raffia and from leftover ribbons, but you can use just about anything. If you have to buy new materials, try to keep them eco-friendly, reusable, recyclable and/or compostable.

Eco-friendly and green upcycled treat boxes

These fun little boxes are made with upcycled cereal and other chipboard boxes. I hand stenciled the designs with sustainable, eco-friendly colored pencils.

What I Used: Organic TwineNatural Raffia, and these awesome Eco Highlighter Pencils.

  • Pillow Boxes
    This is a simple and easy gift box that anyone can do with recycled materials. I made mine upcycled from cereal boxes and tied them instead of adding glue. 

  • Little Folded Boxes
    Like the pillow boxes, I upcycled paperboard boxes that were headed for the recycling. They are great for little gifts and treat boxes! 

Gift Tags from Upcycled Chipboard Boxes
I made mine with a 2” circle cutter, a scalloped square punch and layered them from our chipboard box recycling. These are from a granola bar and tissue boxes, but depending on what you have, the possibilities are endless! I used organic twine to tie them, but raffia would look great too.

Upcycle from cereal and tissue boxes Upcycled Gift Tags from Chipboard
These are just one example of how we can upcycle our chipboard recycling into something awesome! These gift tags are made from cereal, granola bar, and tissue boxes!

  • My post, “How to Make Beautiful Upcycled Gift Tags” by Darlene Goes Green is coming soon!

What I used: 2” Circle Punch, 1” Scalloped Square Punch, and Organic Twine


Cloth Gift Bags
To upcycle my old white, poly-blend napkins, I gave them new life by sewing them into simple fabric gift bags. I decided to get creative and make up my own styles using leftover materials and ribbons, but I found my inspiration from these posts and videos.

DIY Cloth Gift Bags from Napkins

I made these fun little gift bags from unused cloth napkins.

  • Handmade Gift Bags
    Melissa Knorris from Return to Simple has a nice tutorial on how to make simple fabric gift bags and recycled gift tags from last years Christmas Cards. 

    Blue Water Bento - Ocean-friendly bento lunch boxes by ECOlunchbox

  • Simple DIY Cloth Bag Video
    Jennifer Priest from Smart Fun DIY posted this YouTube sewing video to show us how easy DIY can be.

  • Intermediate Skill Cloth Gift Bag Tutorial
    These take a bit more work, but the final bags in this tutorial are just too darned cute! 


Gift Wrapping Without Tape
I love the idea of wrapping paper without tape and I found these awesome videos. The Japanese style wrapping is harder than it looks, but so worth the effort! With a little practice, it is my new favorite way to wrap!  

Wrapping Paper from recycled packaging paper Wrapping Paper from recycled packaging paper
This Japanese-style of wrapping gifts without tape is my new favorite way to wrap!

This these two videos taught me how to Japanese style wrap without tape! The wrap is finished by tucking the ends back into itself, making it tape and ribbon free!

This video helps us wrap without tape, but a ribbon or tie is needed to keep it all together.    


Reuse What You Have
In addition to giving in a recycled gift bag you’ve made yourself, can also gift in a bag you’ve collected from gifts given to you from others. Brand new gift bags and ribbons may not be something we want to buy, but when we receive a gift in a beautiful bag or wrap, we can save it, reuse it, or even better upcycle it into something new!

Upcycled Wrapping Paper Reusable Gift Bags

I made this reusable gift bag from scraps of old gift wrap.


When you “think green” and try something new, it’s easy to beautifully wrap gifts without going against our green and eco-friendly goals! Your family and friends will be able to see the loving effort you’ve given to make each gift special and unique!


Green and Eco-friendly Gift Wrap

Easy and Beautiful Eco-friendly Gift Wrap Ideas


Upcycled and Recycled Gift Wrap Upcycled and Recycled Gift Wrap   Upcycled and Recycled Gift WrapUpcycled and Recycled Gift Wrap




















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