How To Wrap Presents Without Wrapping Paper, Because You're Creative & Broke

Do rolls of holiday wrapping paper leave you feeling uninspired this year? It's cool. You can always branch out to different mediums. In fact, knowing how to wrap presents without wrapping paper can make your gift-giving presentation more creative and unique than ever. There are so many cool alternatives to wrapping paper that you may never buy a roll of it again.

Pretty fabrics, scrap paper, and even kitchen staples can all replace wrapping paper. With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can find some truly original, fun ways to wrap gifts with unexpected materials, many of which are probably even already in your house somewhere. It can turn gift-wrapping into a fun, and less expensive, activity, instead of yet another chore to complete for the holidays.

Why else would you want to forego the rolls of wrapping paper? Many people who are eco-conscious, for example, don't like the thought of all that single-use paper ending up in a landfill right after the holidays. It can be seen as an unnecessary waste. Other people just don't like the hassle of measuring and wrapping each gift individually. (Hey, it's tricky to get the optimum amount of wrapping paper for each box, OK?) Whatever the case, feel free to use these ideas to wrap gifts without wrapping paper as a jumping-off point for your own creative projects.


Scarf Or Tea Towel

Wrapping a present in a scarf is an absolutely gorgeous way to give a gift. You can buy a scarf special as part of the present, or even repurpose an older one. If you don't have a scarf on hand, then cloth napkins, bandanas, handkerchiefs, and tea towels are also possibilities that will surely be used after the holidays.


Gift Bag

OK, it's kind of an obvious solution, but don't discount the humble gift bag. Certain gift bags have circulated around my family at every gift-giving occasion for years now. They last much longer than single-use wrapping paper, and it's probably the easiest way to present a present, to be honest. They're festive, fun, and super easy to reuse for the next holiday, or to just carry a pile of gifts home.


Reusable Shopping Tote

Last year, a family friend gave me a gift wrapped in a reusable shopping tote, and the tote featured a prominent photograph of her cat. It's one of the best things I've ever received from anyone. Even if you don't have time to personalize a tote, reusable shopping bags are the best and the recipient will get so much use out of them.



Grab an inexpensive basket from the thrift or craft store and put all your gifts on display. If you're feeling particularly festive, you can even decorate the basket with ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, and the like. Then put all your goods on display. Hey, if you're giving a fun gift, why hide it?


Paper Grocery Bag

Put all those Trader Joe's shopping bags that live under the kitchen sink to work. Paper shopping bags make fantastic low-key gift wrap. You can even draw or stamp some designs on the paper to be a little extra, or write your holiday note directly on the surface. It's the perfect blank canvas for wherever your imagination takes you.


Scrap Fabric

If you're a crafter or seamstress, you probably have a stash of (far too much) scrap fabric on hand. This can be used as gorgeous gift wraps. Oh, and if you don't have fabric on hand, a blanket can work, too, especially if it's one that's part of your present.


Old Maps

Do you have an old map stashed in the glove compartment or a closet? Perfect. Old maps make totally gorgeous wrapping paper for any present. It makes the gift look extra worldly and special.


Sheet Music Paper

If you're a musician, then you probably have at least a little extra sheet music at home. As noted by Buzzfeed, sheet music can make stunning wrapping paper. If you can find holiday sheet music to reuse, then it's even better.


Reused Tissue Paper

If you have a ball of tissue paper in the closet from holidays past, consider reusing it this year. It's great for little kids who are just learning how to wrap gifts, or adults (like me) who still haven't mastered the art of gift wrap. Plus, it's much easier to rip open than traditional wrapping paper, in case your gift recipient is on the impatient side (also me).


Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is an inexpensive, readily available, and recyclable alternative gift wrap. Plus, it looks surprisingly nice. All it needs is a simple bow or bauble to give it a festive touch.


Scrap Paper

Old calendars, planners, newspapers, junk mail, and magazines can all be mined for wrapping paper. It's a beautiful and handy way to use up extra loose sheets of anything lying around.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.