While everybody is busy buying their last Christmas presents (or their first!) and shopping for the big day next week, we thought we would show you what you can do with all the packaging that’s left over after you open your presents. Christmas packaging is especially gorgeous and festive, so it makes perfect sense to repurpose it as it would look beautiful no matter what it turns into. Not only that, but it is also a sustainable way of reducing the impact the festive season has on the environment. It was estimated that the UK sent 277,000 miles of wrapping paper to landfill after Christmas in 2017 – enough to reach 90% of the way to the moon.
We are strong believers in the 3 Rs mantra - reduce, reuse and recycle - so we encourage you to try to give a second life to all your gift packaging this year. Our team has come up with 12 clever ideas of how you can repurpose your festive boxes and bags. They’re fun and easy to make and we show you how to do it in the videos below. Are you going to have a go at making these with friends and family? If so, make sure you share your creations with us on social media! We’d love to see what you come up with.
1. Create Name Tags from a Gift Bag
To do this, you’ll need a pair of scissors, a pen, a hole punch and a Christmas gift bag like the one from Glamglow that we used. Cut along the fold of the bag and detach the front of the bag so that you end up with a flat square. Place it upside down on a flat surface and place a name tag that you already have on the paper and draw the outline of the tag. Repeat this until you have filled up your piece of paper. Use the scissors to cut along the lines you’ve just drawn. Stack the new tags together and punch a hole through their narrow end. Now you have brand new name tags that you can use throughout the year.
2. Paper Gift Bag as Wrapping Paper
Has one of your gifts come in a paper bag like this one from Sweaty Betty? It’ll make a great wrapping paper for your presents! Brown paper is a great option as it is a classic gift wrapping choice, giving your gifts that vintage look, whilst providing you with plenty of options for decoration and customisation. Cut along one of the vertical folds and then cut the bottom off. You now have a rectangular piece of paper that you can use like regular wrapping paper. Grab your present and wrap it as you would normally do, then add a ribbon and a name tag. Your present is now beautifully packaged and ready to be opened!
3. Fabric Bag as Wrapping Paper
Similar to the example above, canvas bags can also replace regular wrapping paper. Cut the bag along the two vertical seams and the bottom seam to detach the front of the bag from the back. Use one of the squares of fabric to wrap your present. Add a nice ribbon and a name tag and there you go! Wrapping with cloth is actually an old Japanese art called Furoshiki and you can find many tutorials online. Now you have no excuse not to instil new life into your old fabric bags!
4. Create Place Names from Cut-offs
The sides of paper bags can be more difficult to reuse but not impossible, meaning they don’t have to go to waste. If you have any left over from the ideas above, you can use them to create place names. Use a ruler to measure the paper and determine the size of your cards. Draw a grid on the back of the paper and cut along the lines. You should now have square pieces of paper. Fold each of them in half and write the names on the coloured side. These will make a great addition to your festive table on Christmas day or at your New Year’s Eve party. You can also colour coordinate with the rest of your decorations.
5. Create a Grow Box from an Old Gift
You’ll love this one, especially if you like gardening or having greenery in your home. Any box will do, but we’re using one of our wine gift boxes on this occasion. The first step is to lay the box on the table horizontally and remove the top. Cut off the bottom of a plastic bag and place it inside the box. You can use the grow box for any plants that fit inside. We used some herbs and wrote their names on the front of the box. This will look great on your window sill in the kitchen or elsewhere in your house where you want to introduce a touch of nature into your home.
6. Make Paper Bows from Cut-offs
Do you need a new snazzy bow for your presents, or even for your festive outfit? Look no further than your Christmas gift bags! Select the one that you like and cut a rectangular shape that is a lot wider than it is tall like then one in the video. Fold it in half and cut out a fish shape horizontally from side to side making sure to keep the two halves attached at the fold. Open the resulting shape up and cut halfway through the two narrowest parts of the shape. Fold the shape in half and push down the part where it folds to obtain a bow. Interlock the two “fishtails” to secure it at the back. Cut a thin strip of paper from the original piece of paper that you used and wrap it around the middle of the bow and secure it with tape at the back. Et voilà! Your new bow is ready to glam up your presents or your Christmas party outfit.
7. Turn a Gift Bag into a Christmas Tree
Paper bags can be used to create beautiful festive decorations for your house or office. Grab a paper bag like this one from La Mer and remove the handles, but keep them because you’ll need them later. Cut along the fold to detach the front of the bag from the rest. Lay it down on a flat surface and place our Christmas tree template (download here) on top of it, securing it with tape. Fold it in half and cut along the lines of the template as shown in the video. Remove the template and unfold the tree. Push out the “branches” of the tree alternating the sides to make it open up. Fold it so the side folds are in the centre on top of each other and press it down. Open the tree up and make it stand. Pick one of the handles you removed at the beginning and wrap it around the top of the tree making a ribbon. Place it among your other Christmas decorations to make your home or office look more festive.
8. Use a Bag to Make Decorative Snowmen
For this one, start by removing the handles of the bag. Cut along one of the vertical folds and then remove the bottom of the bag. Measure the height you want your snowmen to be and draw a line across the paper to mark it. Cut along the line and then fold a bit of the paper over one side, then repeat on the other side and keep folding by alternating sides until you have a rectangle. Place a snowman template on top of it and draw the outline making sure the shape touches the side extremities of your rectangle. Remove the template and use paper clips to hold your folded rectangle in place and cut along the snowman outline. Unfold the paper and you’ve got the perfect paper snowman garland to decorate with.
9. Use a Gift Bag to Cover a Book
Take a paper bag like this one from Juicy Couture and cut off the front. Place it on a flat surface with the side that you want on the outside of the book facing down. Place your book on it to determine the height of the wrap that you need. Remove the book and use a ruler to fold the paper down to the right height. Place the book down again and fold the sides in over the book covers. Cut the excess paper off. Insert the book covers into the openings on the sides of the wrap to make sure it won’t come off. The paper cover will protect the book and it will look chic on your coffee table or on your bookshelves.
10. Gift Box to Storage Box
This one is probably the easiest so you have to try it! We picked a magnetic box from Matches Fashion and laid it down on the table. We folded in the bottom of the box that was perpendicular on the table and then closed the box. That’s it. Your box is ready to store magazines and folders and help you keep your desk tidy.
11. Bunting Made from a Gift Bag
Grab a gift bag like this one from Ted Baker and remove the front side. Using a ruler, draw triangles on the inside of the paper as shown in the video. Cut along the lines to obtain triangle cut-offs. Put them upside down and punch two holes in the top corners then draw a ribbon through the holes. Hang the bunting from your fireplace mantle or a shelf to make your place look more festive. After the holidays, don’t discard it but use it for parties throughout the year.
12. Save a Gift Box to Pack Away Decorations
OK, this is actually the easiest one because all you need to do is take a box and store your Christmas decorations in it. By choosing a pretty box from one of your favourite brands, you don’t have to tuck it away in the attic. Instead, you can display it in your home all year round!
If you weren’t in a crafty mood at the beginning of the blog, we bet you are now! We hope our videos have inspired you to try and recycle your unwanted gift boxes and bags this year. Don’t forget to share your creations with us on social media!
A Merry and Sustainable Christmas from all of us at Delta Global!