I absolutely love decorating my Zero-Waste gifts to make them look extra special. However, I do not want to go buy wrapping paper and gift bags that will just end up in the landfill.
“An estimated 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. each year, and about 2.3 million pounds ends its life in landfills.”
Gift wrap purchased at a store is made from paper that usually can’t be recycled. A lot of times it is infused with plastics or other materials that make it hardly recognizable as the paper it once was. Ribbons are just another plastic as well. They’re dyed and infused with glitters and inks. Each of these items can cost between 5-10$! You could end up spending more on the wrapping then the actual gift itself!
“According to an August report from Sundale Research, people in the U.S. spent a total of $12.7 billion on gift wrap, including wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift bags, in 2017.”
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to decorate a gift without using any excess paper, bags, or plastic ribbons. I have been creating Gift Bows out of recycled wrapping paper, newspaper, magazines, brown packaging paper and really anything that you can imagine! These are so much fun because you can make them easily without a whole lot. Everyone I give them to just LOVES them and many of my friends now make them for their gifts too! What better way to give a gift then by sending a message of zero-waste?
I love doing this because it is always a conversation starter when giving a gift wrapped in reuse items and repurposed paper bows. Create an impression when giving a gift that may leave the person thinking about how to be more sustainable in their own life. This is also such a fun way to add a personal touch and turn something stressful into something that makes you feel good! Whenever I can find a way to repurpose anything, I am a happy camper.
I start by finding a good scrap paper to work with. I love using maps or newspaper when wrapping gifts because there is usually always some laying around somewhere, but I also like to save any gift wrap that is given to me because it can be reused. In this blog, I am going to show you ways to make that gift really pop with your very own recycled paper gift bows!
I really enjoy doing this as a craft after Christmas. I like to take the excess wrapping paper I was able to save from any gifts I got and make as many bows as possible. Then I will find an old box to put them all in so they don’t get crushed and can be stored until next year. This way, next year for Christmas I will be prepared in advance with bows for gifts made of wrapping paper from last year’s waste. This hack will save you money and makes a great impact on others around you.
To get started, you will need the following:
- A stapler, glue, or tape (I prefer to use a stapler)
- A hot glue gun
- A piece of paper that is at least 7 inches wide and 10.5 inches tall.
Step 1: Cut Pieces
Begin by measuring out increments that are ¾ of an inch wide, you will need 9 strips total.
3 strips | 10.5” x ¾”
3 strips | 9.5” x ¾”
2 strips | 8.5” x ¾”
1 strip | 3.5” x ¾”
Step 2: Looping strips
Next, start with your larger strips. You will want to loop them at both ends in a figure eight.
Step 3: Secure your Loops
Staple, tape, or glue the ends down to the base as seen here. Continue on with the rest of the strips except the one that is 3.5” in length. With that one you will simply make a circular loop for the very center of the bow.
Step 4: Put your pieces together!
Once you have the pieces twisted, you will need to start putting them together. First, take the 3 larger pieces and place them inside each other. You may need to play with them a bit to get the right look. They are all a little bit unique and I like to think that one is meant for the bottom and one is meant for the top.
I like to use a hot glue gun for this step to combine them. It is hard to connect them without crushing the edges of the bows if using a stapler for this part. Regular glue will also work it just may take longer to dry and I am impatient. You will also do this with the 3 pieces that are 9.5” and then with the 8.5” pieces.
Step 5: Combine Layers
Then, just put the pieces on top of each other to make your beautiful bow! Its really that easy.
You can also add extra strips that can be curled like ribbon, just make sure to be gentle with the paper because it tears easier than ribbon.
To curl the strips of paper you will just need a pair of scissors. Place the strip of paper between your thumb and the edge of the scissors as seen here and pull. Again, be sure not to put too much pressure on your thumb because the paper can tare easier.