The following is a guest post by Marcela De Vivo. Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Southern California who writes on a range of topics, including marketing, travel and technology. When she is not managing her business, she enjoys DIY projects in her free time. . Read her other posts for Redefining Eco.
We’ve all been faced with leftover gift-wrapping paper at one point or another. Whether we’ve reached the end of a roll with too small of a piece for the gift we’re wrapping, or it’s cut into an odd shape (courtesy of someone who’s not familiar with how to wrap presents) or we just have leftover used wrapping paper that you don’t want to part with because it can be “reused.”
Give those end bits and pieces and “saved” paper a new life through these crafty DIY projects. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
Thank you cards, bookmarks, gift tags
If you only have small scraps of paper left, create cards, bookmarks, and gift tags. Cut out the pictures of patterns of wrapping paper. If the designs are large enough to stand alone and paste to bright colored cardboard, cut to the shape and size of the card, bookmark or tag you want. Smaller patterned paper can be wrapped around the entire piece of cardboard or cut into strips and placed in alternating stripes along the cardboard.
Shred it to use as packing material
If the paper has creases from the shape of its previous gift, bits of tape on it from being used, odd in shape or size or if the pattern isn’t particularly worth saving, shred the paper into thin strips using a conventional paper shredder (not a cross-cutter). You can use the paper bits as packing material for gifts and for shipping. The shredded wrapping paper is more impactful and colorful than Styrofoam peanuts and more eco-friendly as well.
Decoupage furniture surfaces or line drawers
Give small pieces of furniture a facelift by adding designs to the surfaces. Cut out large patterns or designs from wrapping paper and decoupage onto table tops, legs, drawers, etc., and be creative in the placement of the cut outs. Or, line the drawers with the pretty remnants of paper to protect your clothes and your drawers, while adding an eye-catching pop of color.
Transform bland to beautiful by simply changing the light in a room with prettily patterned lampshades. If you don’t have enough paper to create an entire lampshade, attach stripes of paper to an existing plain lampshade. You can use thin vertical stripes or wide horizontal bands, mixing and matching paper patterns. If the leftover paper is on the plain side, you can add an element of interest by cutting patterns into the paper, like making a snowflake in school, and layering the designs over the lampshade.
Create room dividers or airy curtains
Creating paper curtains is great way to decorate a window without blocking out light or to divide a room without breaking up the space too much. Cut out squares, circles or any other shape you prefer and string together, with the cut-outs spaced evenly. If you favor an eclectic look, mix and match your leftover wrapping paper for a wildly varied look. You can create a gradient look by stringing paper in the same color family from light to dark or vice versa. Or, you can alternate plain paper with patterned paper for a hint of playfulness.
Create a storage container
There are several ways that you can reuse shoe boxes, gift boxes and wine boxes. Prettify your storage solutions by wrapping these boxes with wrapping paper remnants. Wrap the cover and the body in the same paper or mix up the patterns and designs per your personal taste. To help with organization, you can wrap the covers only and assign each pattern with a different storage purpose. That way, at a glance, you can tell if the shoebox is filled with receipts, photos or tech accessories.
Make beads for jewelry
A fun activity for kids as well as adults, making paper beads is a great way to use up pretty wrapping paper. Cut paper into triangles—the base of the triangle will be the width of the bead. Add glue to the pointy end, on the plain side of the paper. Using a pencil or dowel, tightly roll the paper from the wide end. Glaze the finished product to increase durability (otherwise it would be susceptible to water and other damage). String beads into necklaces, bracelets, and more.
Ideas like lining a plain plastic tray for a punch of color, to making paper curtains, to creating party hats are just the tip of the iceberg for things to do with printed wrapping paper. Explore lining trays and coasters or framing particularly pretty paper for even more decorative, creative DIY solutions to leftover wrapping paper.