Last Minute, Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas

by Melissa Massello, Shoestring Magazine
December 21, 2011 - 1:35pm

Today's post is a quick DIY idea perfect for holiday procrastinators and green givers alike: gift wrapping you can make in 10 minutes reusing items you already have lying around the house!

Here's all you need:

  • Brown paper grocery bags
  • VHS tapes
  • Small screwdriver
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors

I'm super psyched I finally got around to trying this, because I've been sitting on the idea ever since meeting Danny Seo and receiving his book, Simply Green Giving, back in April 2008 at an event hosted by method & my dear friend Christine. (That's me in the middle.)

melissa massello danny seo method

Danny has a new book out this year, Upcycling, a topic also close to my heart, which reminded me about his gorgeous gift wrapping project and I just had to try it out on the gifts I bought for Amy. (I know she's going to die at the choice of VHS tape I used for the project, too.) Apologies for the photos, taken with my iPhone while I was rushing out the door this morning!

To start, I grabbed a paper bag from my last Whole Foods run and a vintage workout tape, left over from our retro fitness story & photo shoot. ("I'm Eric Niiiiieeees....it's The Griiiiiiiiiiind..." Holy high school flashbacks, to when MTV actually played music.)

Then, I unlatched the VHS case by removing the two screws with a tiny screwdriver (from my eyeglass repair kit), which was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought it would be (only taking about 2 minutes), leaving me with...

...a spool of shiny, delicate black ribbon for gift wrapping! I cut the ribbon free from the second spool at the transparent line (assuming you enacted the Be Kind, Rewind rule the last time you watched that tape, you should see the same) and you're ready to wrap. Given how delicate the ribbon is, having a second set of helping hands would have saved a lot of frustration (and wrinkled ribbon) in the wrapping process, but I think the main gift came out OK, don't you?

With the smaller gifts (and when I do this again), I added some red tissue paper and red raffia to give my (local!) gifts some seasonal flair:

You could also write a gift message directly on the brown paper wrapping with colored calligraphy pens, or use colored stamps/stencils, if you have them, both of which would be adorable and festive.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

~ Melissa

Story & photos: Copyright 2011, Shoestring LLC & Melissa Massello.

About The Author Related Articles
Photo of Melissa Massello
Melissa Massello is an editor, start-up junkie, entrepreneur, Swapaholic, and lifelong New England girl. As a sustainable style expert, Melissa has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX news station affiliates around the country and in US News & World Report, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The New York Post, The Denver Post, The LA Times, The Dallas Morning News, MSN Money, and WalletPop, among other fine media outlets. Melissa currently lives with her husband and their Whippet mix in Somerville, Mass. -- "the Brooklyn of Boston" -- where they strive each day to save money, save the planet, and live the dream for less.
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