29 November 2013

Gift Wrap Class 5: Repurpose And Reuse

Welcome to Gift Wrap class five. Today is all about using what you have and finding new ways to use things again. Here are a few ways I reuse and reduce waste when it comes to gift wrap materials.

1) I am a big fan of using real fabric ribbon for gifts and I will save all sorts of little bits or ribbons and twines to reuse. When I give a gift with ribbon on it, I love to see someone fold it up to reuse it. When I see someone throw away perfectly lovely ribbon, I feel like I will break out in hives. Why would you throw away something so beautiful that still has perfectly good use to it? Beats me. There is always some fun way to reuse a bit of ribbon.

2) I often make wrapping paper out of pretty shop bags. It's easy to cut out the store label/logo and use beautifully stripped or patterned paper to wrap small boxes. You can get all the creases and wrinkles out by ironing plain paper on the lowest iron setting. Don't try to iron paper that has any sort of meltable material on it, such as flocking, embossing, etc. It will make a royal mess on your iron and ruin the paper.

3) Make your own gift bag by recycling store bags. All this bag needed was a pretty piece of scrapbook paper glued over the logo printing on the bag and some holiday washi tape around the edges. I glued down the washi tape because it just didn't really want to stick to such a stiff background. With a little handmade tag on top, this was an easy gift wrap job. I cover one, two or four sides of the bag with strips of pretty paper to cover up the logos as needed and give a high quality bag another life.

4) This should be a no brainer, but boxes from retail stores can easily be folded down flat and used year after year if they are well cared for and in good shape. I keep lots of small boxes in a drawer and then a supply of larger ones folded up with my bag of gift wrapping. You can spice up the box with simple, flat decoration if it needs a little help before you wrap it.

The key to reusing and recycling is all about being tactful and situationally aware. Some settings aren't quite right for recycling or reusing things and some are. You just have to know the situation and of course put something beautiful together. There are so many ways to save some money, give something a second life, and make something fabulous with things you already have on hand. Once one gets in the mindset you start seeing ways you can make something out of even tiniest scraps -- hello gift tags!

So what do you do to creatively reuse gift wrapping supplies? If you have a favorite trick I'd love to hear about it! Happy gift wrapping! It's officially the holiday season.

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