What to Do with Leftover Wrapping Paper

Christmas is coming, and that usually means a mountain of wrapping paper. Try these creative ways to reuse wrapping paper!

We spend around $7 billion on wrapping paper in the U.S. alone, and we use the bulk of it during the holiday months. What’s worse: wrapping paper is especially difficult to recycle, because of the ink-to-paper-fiber ratio.”The ink diminishes the yield, it creates extra sludge when you process it, it requires additional chemicals,”paper recycling consultant Bill Moore told NPR’s Emily Siner.

It’s so costly and inefficient thatMoore recommends throwing leftover wrapping paper in the trash, rather than in therecycle bin. That’s why it’s so important to limit the amount of wrapping paper we use during the holidays.

Of course, the best leftover wrapping paper is no wrapping paper, butit’s pretty hard to avoid receiving any paper-wrapped gifts.You may be using creative, reusable gift wrap to avoid wasteful wrapping paper, but chances are not everyone on your list is doing the same.

Don’t let someone’s choice of gift wrap ruin your holiday cheer! Stash away that free paper, and try one of these fun ways to reuse it.

1. Origami Paper

Leftover wrapping paper is the perfect weight for folding. It holds folds like a dream! Because wrapping paper is a little bit lighter weight than origami paper, it can be more prone to tearing, so take your time and choose a project that’s about form, not function. A wrapping paper paper crane would be great, while something like a paper box wouldn’t hold up well.

2. Collage or Decoupage

Shiny paper, pretty patterns, vibrant colors…wrapping paper was basically made for art projects! Grab your Mod Podge, and get sticking! You can collage your wrapping paper onto a flat surface ordecoupageit to cover something 3D, like a glass jar or even furniture.

3. Wrapping Paper

This one’s for the very dedicated, but with careful unwrapping and a little bit of TLC, you can actually reuse leftover wrapping paper to wrap anothergift. Throw a lightweight piece of fabric on top of the paper, then press away. Don’t press too hard, because wrapping paper is usually pretty thin and you don’t want to tear it.

4. Packing Paper for Shipped Gifts

If you have a mountain of crumpled leftover wrapping paper, stash it away to use as packing paper.You can use it crumpled to pack your box, or use it in layers to wrap fragile items, like dishware, for transport.

5. Paper Chains

My kid is obsessed with making paper chains right now, and wrapping paperworks like a charm for this project. Just cut your paper up into strips about 1/2 inch to one inch wide and four to six inches long, and string them together, using a stapler to close the circles. You can hangyour creation up as a festive party decoration at your next shindig.

Related at Care2

Christmas is coming, and that usually means a mountain of wrapping paper. Try these creative ways to reuse wrapping paper!

Image via Thinkstock.


Daniel N
Daniel Nyesterday

thank you

joan silaco
joan silaco10 days ago


Marge F
Marge F13 days ago

Thank you for posting this interesting article.

LKoSl J14 days ago

Avoid, refuse, reuse are the most ideal, I keep doing. Thank you for the info

Ian Crory
Ian C14 days ago


Richard A
Richard A15 days ago

Thank you for this helpful article.

Mike H
Mike H15 days ago

thank you

Patrice Z
Patrice Z16 days ago

I try to use gift bags as they are easy to reuse, but thanks for the other suggestions.

W. C
W. C16 days ago

Thank you.

William C
William C16 days ago