Happy Friday: Homemade Gift Wrap (Budget & Eco-Friendly)

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Sent from reader, Stacey:

With my two older children in college, I am finding that I need to be more frugal than I have ever been. I shop for the great freebies and deals posted on Hip2Save all year through, putting things aside for gifts as I go.

This year, I was trying to come up with a way to avoid purchasing wrapping paper so I would have more to spend on my kiddos. I lucked up on a big bag of ribbon spools at Salvation Army priced at $4.99 – the tag was the “color of the day” so I snagged it for just $2.49! I decided I would wrap up all the packages under my tree with brown paper and the colorful ribbons.

I began asking for brown paper bags every time I went to the grocery store, cutting them apart to wrap my gifts. For larger gifts I am using the bigger handle bags I have received from various stores. So getting my packages wrapped this year will only cost me $2.49!! 😊

They may not look perfect like craft paper or real wrapping paper would, but I think they look pretty amazing! Not to mention the environmental benefits: I saved the landfill from the extra plastic grocery bags, I’m reusing something that would be garbage anyways, and there won’t be any additional garbage from the wrapping paper! It’s a win-win!!

Thanks for all you do to make my life a lot more fun and a whole lot more affordable! Merry CHRISTmas!!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save.com. Every Friday, we post one photo, submitted by a Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into their frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

Join The Discussion

Comments 63

  1. mom2boys

    Great idea! I think it looks rather “country style” and pretty cute!!

  2. Cthelove

    Love this!!! Merry Christmas to all!!

  3. Nichole

    Ah! Love it!

  4. aV

    All the presents from Santa have always come wrapped in craft paper and Christmas themed ribbon purchased on clearance from the year prior. My eldest is now 16. I love the way it looks underneath the Christmas tree. So rustic and traditional. Nice to see it featured here.

  5. erin

    A lot of the items I order online come packed with brown paper and I save that for gift wrap too. I love the paper bag idea. I use it for birthdays and let my kids decorate it with markers

    • Amymae1100

      I do the same thing. I also use newspaper. I like the look of the brown paper and newspaper gifts under the tree too!

  6. christi321

    I keep the brown packaging that comes in Amazon boxes and do the same thing. They are usually really big when flattened out so it’s great for wrapping big presents.

    • christi321

      Also forgot to say I have the kids decorate them with markers, stamps or sometimes paint.

    • Sarah d

      Love this idea!!

    • Jeannette

      We do the same thing! Some of the brown kraft packing paper is even perforated like paper towels and make it easy to wrap smaller gifts 🙂

  7. Christie

    Very nice. Merry Christmas.

  8. Nina

    So inspiring and amazing! Love this! Merry Christmas!

  9. Juma

    It looks awesome great idea thanks for sharing.
    You can also recycle the paper (after Christmas ) and use it to make fires if you have a wood burning stove 🙂

  10. Erika

    My tip isn’t quite as thrifty but I only ever buy Christmas wrapping paper. I stock up after the holidays then throughout the year for birthdays I turn the Christmas paper inside out and let my kids decorate it with stickers and marker drawings. Everyone always loves it!

    • Sarah d

      I do the same, but look for Christmas wrapping paper that does not look like Christmas and use it for birthdays, bridal and baby showers, etc. It is surprisingly easy. My favorite last year was a roll of bright blue with large gold bubbles from Target. It was beautiful and looked nothing like Christmas!

    • Erin

      I love this idea, but I also buy clearance wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows and save for the next year when it’s 90 percent off. There is always some “nontraditional” holiday styles that work for birthdays. I got the blue paper with gold foil dots as well as some pink and green striped paper I used for my daughter’s January birthday.

  11. Swirlypop

    this is a beautiful idea. I also have kids in college so I can relate to cutting corners wherever you can.

  12. Tina

    I think that looks really nice. I always stock up on all my wrapping paper, bags, ribbons and bows during the after Christmas clearances and save for next year.

  13. Kim

    Reminds me of how we used to cover our school books “back in the day.” Great idea!

    • amy111

      Yes! I was waiting to see a comment like yours 🙂 Fun times, eh?

    • Mel R.

      I still wrap my kids books in brown paper bags! My oldest son hated the stretchy book covers that seem to be pretty popular now. Said they’re too slick for him to get a good grip on his books. A few times during the year, I’ll have my groceries brown bagged so I have them for the upcoming school year!

  14. JA

    I think they look great! I’ve wanted to do that for a few years but I have so much Christmas wrap that I got for under 50 cents a roll to use up first. And isn’t it just the best when your Goodwill stuff is the color of the day!?

  15. Michelle

    I told my kids this year I was going to put all their gifts together in one box and wrap that…. I hate wrapping sooooo much… but will most likely just wrap them…Also I always buy whatever paper is left at 90% off…usually Toysrus has a bunch!

    • Erin

      Oh my gosh! I wish I lived near you. I LOVE wrapping presents!

  16. FSUGAL

    I’ve been so frustrated that there are very few stores that offer boxes anymore…..pretty much just Bealls & JCP. So this coming year anytime I get anything from these stores I will take time to go back to the service counter and ask for a box. Bealls wraps for free, but if you don’t want it wrapped or have the time to wait, you can ask for tissue paper, wrapping paper, and a bow “to go.” You can also use empty paper towel cardboard tubes in lieu of boxes to wrap umbrellas, rolled up panties or small clothing items, or other items that you want to totally disguise. We’ve done the paper bags, too, and use holiday themed stampers to add a pattern to them. You can also request the lunch sized paper bags from your grocery store and decorate them as gift bags. If it looks funny, my daughter will say “it’s what’s inside that counts!” LOL.

    • ella

      I love the idea of paper towel tubes to wrap things! It would look so cute with ribbon on both ends. I’m going to steal that idea for some small gifts this year- the shape will stump people 🙂

      • Mel R.

        That is genius! I bet my kids would get a kick out of unwrapping and pulling socks and underwear out of paper towel tubes.

  17. Jessica

    I️ purchase brown craft paper rolls from dollar tree! They also have a 3 pack of jute twine for just $1 as well. It all goes a long way and is super cheap.

  18. Sandy

    This is soooo great! Thanks for sharing happy holidays!

  19. Mary

    I did the same thing with brown bags I bought at aldi for 7cents each when I forgot my reusable bags once. I actually wrapped empty boxes though to stage an area for pictures and then I printed my own holiday card from shutterfly using the Gymboree codes that were sent last month.

  20. Ady

    I live in CA and we have to pay for the bags at stores, so I would have to BUY a bunch of those paper bags. Cheaper for me to buy Christmas paper at 90% off. (I use my own reusable bags when I go to the store)

    • Angela V.

      Ditto, the county I live in WA banned plastic bags. So you either have to pay for paper bags, or supply a reusable bag. I do love the idea though! 🙂

  21. Molly Mi

    I did this as well for my kiddo when I ran out of wrapping paper because I didn’t want to buy another roll just for his last few presents. If he notices it isn’t the same wrapping paper, my plan is to tell him that those ones went through a different department of elves and that is why the wrap doesn’t match the others. Haha.

    • Sandy

      Love that explanation!

  22. Love H2S

    It is hard to beat that smoking hot Michael’s deal H2S posted last Sunday. For a few dollars I got 18 rolls–I have more paper than I know what to do with!

  23. amy111

    We used to wrap presents in the Sunday paper comics growing up. This is much more rustic. It looks great! Good idea:)

    • Amber

      I did this for a gift last weekend and the 12 year old said “wow this looks cool, wait is this a real newspaper?” Lol!!

    • Evan

      I was just about to post this too. I’ve never had to do it but I remember getting them as a kid. It was wonderful. I always loved reading them while we opened up gifts!

  24. Havefun

    That was awesome!!! I love it and looks great also!!!

  25. acgold

    FYI- Barnes & Noble offers free gift wrap. Whenever I buy a book or other item, I ask for the paper. They usually give you a decent size piece. The have a standard green and white book print one that can look Christmasy!

    • Sandy

      Never knew that. Thanks for posting!

  26. Krystal

    I haven’t purchased wrap for a long time( I usually use gift bags) but vowed these last few years to deplete the stock of x mas wrap. I have a about 8-10 rolls (most 1/2 gone) to use up this year. All b day gifts from parents to our 3 kids have been in the comics. ( I have a huge stack of the funnies) I have purchased 1 roll of birthday wrap for gifts that my older daughter uses when she has to take a gift to a party.

  27. G

    Off topic but does anyone still need or want any Shutterfly codes? I have these left. 8×8 book from Pinch Me, 8×11 wall calendar or easel calendar from P&G (I have 2 of these), 8×11 wall calendar or easel calendar from JoAnn Fabrics. I also have a couple of game codes if anyone uses them. I have a My Nintendo Platinum Points Code and a MUT Pack All Madden NFL 18 code. Let me know if you want any of these. Leave your email with what you want and I will send it.

    • Alison

      Hi G, thank you! I have been looking for a 8×8 photo book! If it is still available, please email me at jetsonsrock at yahoo dot com. Thank you so much!!

      • G

        You’re welcome! I just sent it. Glad you can use it. 🙂

        • Alison

          I got it! Thank you SO much for your kindness!!!

  28. Mrs. G

    We usually draw some kind of fun picture on it, especially for kids and they love it!

  29. Mel R.

    I’ve always wanted to do the brown paper & pretty ribbon or stamps for presents. But I have soooooo many rolls of wrapping paper. It’s hard to pass up when they go 90% off!

  30. Jacob

    For anyone who wants paper! Sams club has really nice paper with patterns on both sides! Plus the rolls are HUGE! They go a long way

  31. terri

    I use my paper bags for when I have to ship a package. its very sturdy

  32. Molly

    A few years ago, I scored free Dora the Explorer paper (pretty sure I saw the deal on here lol). I wrapped All the gifts in it that year… It was hilarious! And free lol!

    • rebecca

      hey! this just reminded me of the deal posted on H2S about the free bacon wrapping paper. i had forgotten about it — did anyone receive theirs? i did not.

      • K

        I received an email saying they ran out of the bacon wrapping paper

        • Megan

          Same here ☹️

  33. Cori

    Our “Santa” gifts are completely unwrapped and placed in the “Santa” bag. Each child has a reusable Santa bag and usually all the odd shaped or hard to wrap toys are brought by Santa in the bag. I even remove the packaging and zip ties so the kids can literally play with them immediately . The Santa bag is always done after the wrapped the gifts to keep things moving. It’s cost effective and time efficient for me and my kiddos love it.

    • Erin

      I like the idea of removing ties and packaging from toys for toddlers, but now that my kids are older, I want to slow them down! Seeing all those presents but not knowing what is in them is magical.

  34. Sue

    I buy clearance paper after christmas. I usually find it 90% off spending under .50 a roll.

  35. Sami

    I love it!! Merry CHRISTmas!!!!!🎄🎁 This site is so great and has been such a blessing to my family in a financially trying time.

  36. Justine

    Kudos to you for re-using and reducing waste… regular wrapping paper is so beautiful, but it can’t be put in the recycle bin (at least where I live), so a ton of it goes in the trash.

  37. Meredith

    Great idea! They look super cute too. 🎄

  38. Mrajsmom

    We do this as well, but add the kids handprints or let them paint the paper bags. So fun!

  39. Karen D Gartrell

    I have used this method for years. I also use the Sunday comic section to wrap Christmas and birthday gifts.

  40. VaNeSteR

    I wrap gifts in brown lunch bags. If it can’t fit in a lunch bag, I use Kroger bags. My nieces and nephews look forward to getting their brown bags every year. Easier to recycle 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?