Thrifty gift wrapping for Christmas

This post is part of my Christmas planning in July series.

I adore this post! Gift wrapping is not something I consider myself to be very good at. Today Bele Masterman, of Blah Blah Magazine shows 6 simple techniques you can use to make your presents looks beautifully wrapped, but without spending a fortune.

If you haven’t visited Blah Blah Magazine before, definitely pop on over for a visit to be inspired with clever but simple DIY that don’t cost the earth! Some of my favourite Christmas posts on Blah Blah Magazine are:


Happy Christmas in July!

Boy, Christmas can be exy, so for the last couple of years I’ve been on mission to cut costs. On this merry old road, I made a very pleasant discovery that thrifty options often make the festive season more beautiful and meaningful.

Gift paper, sometimes a whopping $20 a roll for a few piddly metres, can take a big chunk out of the budget. Yet, it’s one of those expenses we can do without or significantly reduce and end up with a better result. Win-win-win!

Reusing gift paper and other goodies for gift-wrapping is an awesome way to show our kids how saving money and recycling can be fun. It’s no longer about being embarrassed because Dad smoothed out the old sheets of gift paper and bundled them around another present (ahem, badly). Upcycled gift wrap can be be very fancy.


Start by saving or thrifting different types of paper, from pre-loved gift wrap, maps, sheet music, doilies, newspapers, books, paper shopping bags, magazines, to old sewing patterns or even the foil from chip packets and a big roll of recycled paper will cover the rest.

Last year, I used brown kraft paper ($15.98 for 30 metres, from a large stationery shop]. This year, I’m using the recycled butchers’ paper my groceries come in. You can pick up a roll of butchers’ paper for a similar price to the kraft paper. While you’re in the stationery shop, see if you can pick up paint or spray paint and some animal paper cut outs (they make great stencils and gifts tags). Oh and it’s worth buying extra sticky tape, we always use more than we think.

Ribbons and trimmings

String and ribbons will finish the look. Keep an eye out for old gift ribbons, gardening jute, wool, yarn, raffia, crochet off cuts, sliced up t-shirts or even tape measures (there’s a certain Swedish flat pack furniture place that gives them out for free).

If you want to get really fancy, then extra trimmings, like flowers, ferns and leaves press dried in books, pine cones, gum nuts, plastic figurine toys, feathers, buttons and other bits that seem to end up in our third drawer down will give the booyah factor.

In the past, our beloved Planning Queen has done some gorgeous Christmas themes, using red and white and blue and white So, I thought a silver, black and white theme might be fun.

Please consider the wraps below as a starting block. You and your family are bound to come up with much better ideas, but take a moment to play and dream a little. It happens so rarely in our lives and there’s no reason why the kids should have all the fun.

1. Recycled gift wrapping strip

This is my all-time favourite, because it’s so easy and economical. Cut a strip of gorgeous pre-loved wrapping paper a couple of inches wide or wider depending on the size of the gift and wrap it around plain recycled paper. It looks stunning with bold colours, too.

2. Sewing pattern and crochet off cut

A great option for the young hipster gal or sewing enthusiast. Just bear in mind that sewing patterns are quite transparent, so you may need to put a layer of butchers’ paper underneath.

3. Pressed leaves, painted

Don’t feel that you have to paint the leaves, they look great naked as well. Trimmed ferns are cute mini Christmas trees, whereas vines, like the one in the picture, give a mistletoe feel.

My favourite part about this is foraging for leaves with the kids. It’s a great excuse to get them out and really studying nature. Ideally, you want to press dry the leaves in a book for a month or you can flatten them between two warm baking trays in a cooling oven until they have lost a bit of colour. Be careful not to over-dry them in the oven as they can become brittle.

4. Leaf silhouette

The thing I love about this idea is that you get quite a bit of bang for your squirt of spray paint, some pretty silhouettes and a spray painted leaf. This works best with leaves that have been dried and pressed flat in a book (the same as number 3).

5. Fabric wrap, a.k.a. make the wrapping part of the present

The Japanese art of Furoshiki or wrapping with scarves, tea towels and other fabric. Here’s a great Furoshiki link, showing lots of different ways to wrap fabric without ribbon. Although, a part of me likes using ribbon, because people assume it’s paper wrapping and get a pleasant surprise when they realise it’s fabric.

6. Stencilled animals and friends

Place the paper cut out flat on the paper and spray straight at it. If you’re using a paint and brush, you will need to use Blue Tac to hold the cut out in place. Don’t forget you can use the painted cut out as a gift tag, too.


Bele x


bele mastermanBele Masterman, of Blah Blah Magazine, is a chronic DIYer, lover of beautiful things, journalist, cook, crazy dog lady, adventurer, homemade beauty addict, community builder, mother of two bouncing boys and wife. She can be found traipsing around on google: +BlahBlahMagazine and facebook: /BlahBlahMagazine