Last weekend I taught a class on "green" or recycled gift wrapping for my local (and fabulous) Nature Center. It was titled "Re-Thinking Wrapping" and my challenge was to come up with ideas and examples that went beyond the wrapping with the Sunday Funnies.
I started looking for and gathering materials a few weeks ago and I have to say, it was a blast to start looking at what my be considered garbage or something to thrown in the recycling bin as rather an awesome opprtunity to wrap something.
My materials generally fell into one of the following three catergories: a box of sorts, a bag of sorts or literally wrapping something around an object. I found almost everything right in my home -- mostly from the kitchen and specifically in my recycling bin. But I did keep my eyes out for things that I could use as wrapping, such as scarves & maps at thrift shops but also things that other people might be tossing out, like old posters from a holiday craft show.
Here's a peek at some of the things I came up with and a brief-ish description of the materials I used.
Small salsa can with a band of red & white paper from a Trader Joe's bag. The ric-rac came from my always teeming box of recycled ribbon and string.
Cardboard mushroom box base with stretchy polyester "ribbon" that I found in the laundry room. The tissue is biodegradable.
Old "Melissa & Doug" wooden box that held play food (was sitting in the thrift shop pile), soft old bandanna from my large collection and a tag made from an old Binth card (using Fiskars 2 inch circular hole punch.)
Speaking of Binth, my friend Suzanna recently opened the Binth Shop & Studio in Forest Park. I was there before it opened helping out with whatever needed to be done. Suzanna had ordered these felt banners from her homeland of Germany that said "Frohe Weinhacht" in grey fuzzy letters. They came in the cool bag above. She was going to toss the bags but I pounced on all three of them. I love the old school typewriter font on the white label. So German. I used a snowflake hole punch for the flakes and used old Binth cards for the paper.
Tiny green mesh garlic bag with skinny purple ribbon (that was wrapped around a gift my friend Heather gave me recently). The sticker is from The Small Object Labels & Stickers collection. Produce mesh is super fun to work with, it comes in lots of bright, punchy colors. It can't be recycled so this is a good thing to keep out of the landfill.
Being a "green" class, I just had to do something with a toilet paper tube. So that's what this is: toilet paper tube wrapped in recycled tissue paper and stripey ribbon from my collection. (I tucked candy inside the tube, so it looked like a big bon-bon.)
Thoroughly washed black styrofoam meat tray with saved/re-used plastic wrap and old twine. The black and red pot holder inside is from the thrift shop. I call this my "manly urban explorer kit."
Ball jar with a vintage tea towel (also from thrift shop) and leftover butcher twine. The tag is from old crafty paper.
An old map of Michigan with "ribbon" of old cassette tape. My friend Molly gave me this idea. VHS ribbon looks great as well.
This is a mint tea box I simply turned inside out and glued it back together. The waxed blue linen thread is from my box and the stripey Japanese tape was not repurposed but I thought it looked great on the brown of the box.
This paper is from a School of the Art Institute student magazine I saw downtown one day. I love the igloo images. The purple ribbon is from my ribbon box. Just because it's not green or red or white doesn't mean it can't feel Christmas-y or Wintry.
I think this is my favorite, so I'll end with this one. (There were many others, but I didn't get shots of them all.) The green tissue paper was wrapped around an Anjou pear that I purchased at the Korean Supermarket called H-Mart. The maroon wool is from a spool I scored at a garage sale back when we lived in Denver more than 13 years ago. The red tape is Japanese tape that my friend Krista gave me for my birthday. The tiny red map dots were left over from the charrette I put together in October. The tissue paper was pretty small but I loved it, so I used it to wrap a bar of soap. I love the blue "USA" print on the paper.
Well, I guess that's it. I just boxed up packages for my family in Australia as well as my family in Colorado and not one single piece of wrapping paper was used on any of the gifts. I'm not bragging, I am letting you know that if you have time to just be a bit cunning, creative and open to trying new things, you can easily wrap your gifts in just about anything. Besides, it is better for the environment (those overloaded landfills will thank you) it's almost free and it's a ton of fun.
Happy Holidays to you all!