Wrapping paper and gift bags can add what I think of as "hidden costs" to gift giving. You're thinking about how much you are spending on the gift, but did you factor in the cost of wrapping it? For a medium size gift bag and coordinating tissue paper and maybe a ribbon, it is easy to spend $3.00 - $7.00. There have been times where I realized I spent more on the wrapping than I did the gift! I'm here to tell you how to wrap gifts for free or very cheap.
- Brown paper from grocery bags- Free! Check out these great ideas to dress them up, from ApartmentTherapy. I am very excited about these and plan to try some soon.
- Paper, gift bags, and ribbon bought on super-clearance after Christmas in past years. I like to buy solid colored paper or bags in gold, bright green, or blue and use it year round for all occasions. As a rule I don't pay more than $1.00 for a roll of paper/ribbon or $0.50 for a gift bag (less if they're small!) I've found Walgreens and Target to be good places to pick up cheap wrap after Christmas, but most any place will have some good deals.
- Fabric scraps leftover from projects. I use fabric and wrap it up just like I would with paper. Then I put ribbon or string around it to keep it closed. Sometimes with larger packages you may need to use a few safety pins. Or, you can try these gorgeous ideas, again from ApartmentTherapy. I like to do this method for crafty friends, because I know they'll enjoy having a piece of fun fabric to use.
- Reusable fabric gift bags. Sew up a bunch of these on a cold dreary afternoon and use them the rest of the year! Lots of ideas and how-to guides on GreenGiftGuide.
- Paper lunch sacks brown or other colors (white looks very nice.) Dollar Tree sells packs of 40 brown bags for $1.00 You can also sometimes find other colors for a little more. They used to carry a wide variety of colors of paper bags at Michael's for something like $2.00 a dozen, but the Lawrence location doesn't anymore. Has anyone seen these elsewhere? Punch holes through the top and weave ribbon through to finish it (from FamilyFun.)
- Pages from old calendars, books, or magazines work great for wrapping small gifts. Or, use the pages to make origami boxes.
- Make origami boxes from inexpensive paper. The photo above shows some tiny boxes I made a few years ago when I was giving earrings and pins as gifts. Easy instructions here from Origami-Instructions.com . I love their tagline "spreading joy one fold at a time".
Please share your frugal gift-wrapping ideas, I know there are lots more!