Make your own wrapping paper

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map wrap
Recycling old maps is one fun idea for creative and unique gift wrapping.
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Environmentally sound alternatives to traditional gift wrap

In this day and age, the environment has become a hot button issue and the mantra “reduce, re-use, recycle” has become a vital plan for preserving our environment for future generations. 

Finding greener alternatives for products as big as automobiles and as small as wrapping paper is just the first step in the right direction.  

Without a doubt, gift wrapping paper has become a fun tradition, necessary for so many special occasions ranging from birthday parties to holidays, and anniversaries. While gift giving is a important part of our culture, finding more environmentally sound alternatives to wrapping paper is a simple, economical and wise idea.

Finding the inspiration to make your own wrapping paper can be a fun and creative project, that can also serve to teach others the value of reducing our environmental impact. Remember, just because something is handmade doesn't mean it can't be elegant and attractive. In fact, handmade items are typically more memorable, primarily because they are so very unique.

Now, create your own wrapping paper using these six simple suggestions:

How to Make Your Own Wrapping Paper From Recycled Materials

1.   Newspapers: 

Re-use and recycle those old newspapers!  Sunday comics or funny pages can make for especially colorful and entertaining wrapping paper for children's gifts.

2.   Brown Paper Bags: 

Many families save those brown paper bags from their trips to the grocery store. Using scissors, cut along the seams of a brown paper bag to unfold and open it lengthwise. These large sections of brown paper are ideal for wrapping larger sized gifts. Of course, the brown paper can be decorated with stamps, markers, crayons, paints, glitter, stencils, etc.

3.   Outdated Maps: 
Colorful, outdated maps can be re-cycled as wrapping paper. Local travel agencies, AAA locations and tourist information centers will often be happy to give away outdated maps free of charge.  Some large-size wall maps can be found in old copies of National Geographic Magazines, and other travel publications. Local town halls and government agencies or community agencies will sometimes carry interesting outdated copies of local topographical maps, which can often be ordered for free by request.

4.   Wallpaper Samples:

Discontinued books of wallpaper samples will often be thrown away or given away for free by paint, wallpaper and interior design shops. Some of the older retro, art deco or even gaudy wall paper samples can make for wildly ornate and gorgeous gift wrapping paper.  

5.   Fabric: 

Fabric can be a truly elegant and unconventional gift wrapping material. Check with your local fabric store, arts and crafts retailer or interior design center for fabric scraps, fabric seconds or discontinued fabrics, which are frequently given away for free. Additional recycled decorations such as tulle, lace, ribbons or sashes can be used to hold fabric in place around a gift.

6.   Children's Artwork: 

Children's artwork is often one of the best sources for colorful, one-of-a-kind gift wrapping paper.  Small gifts can be wrapped with coloring book pages, and larger gifts can be wrapped with those large-sized pieces of butcher paper, or construction paper that most children adore decorating.  Gift wrap created from children's art is ideal for wrapping holiday gifts or gifts for any family occasions. Relatives are sure to enjoy the personalized wrapping paper, and children will love having their artwork utilized, recognized and appreciated. Just make sure you have the child's permission to recycle their treasured artwork into wrapping paper!

Its easy to make your own wrapping paper using recycled or found materials. Of course, handmade gift wrap can always be embellished with small treasures, decorations, or household items. Improve upon a boring piece of brown paper by adding a collage of pictures cut from the pages of magazines or catalogs. Use a glue gun to fasten sea shells, coins, silk flowers, candy or photographs to handmade wrapping paper.  

Rather than purchasing rolls of gift wrap that are printed and processed in factories only to end up in land fills, try your hand at designing more economical gift wrap alternatives with a minimal environmental impact. 

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