Holiday Ecology: Gift Wrap with Ecuador’s “Trash” (I swear!)


Whether you live in Ecuador or not, don’t spend big bucks on gift wrapping this holiday season.  I promise you don’t have to.

In fact, you can have more fun and make a  more lasting impression on friends and family by packaging from trash you have cluttering your house—stuff that can be up-cycled into simply smashing wrapping.

Did you know that over the Christmas holiday Americans generate 25% more trash than they do on an average week?  It’s sad but true.

However, if you wrap with trash to begin with, you not only save money by not buying paper and ribbon, you can help make the planet itself a happier place, as well.

Last year I did a similar post that focused on using recycled trash available in US.  This year I’ll use scraps I’ve found in Ecuador, also.

(Note: In Cuenca we don’t have mail delivered to our home, so here I replace the junk mail I might wrap with in the US, with flyers handed out on the street.  Wherever you live, you will have the kind of trash listed below that you, too, can transform into fantastic packaging.)

Some of the supplies you might need/want:

  1. Maps, junk mail, or fliers
  2. Bottle caps
  3. Popsicle sticks
  4. Decorative duct tape
  5. Green painters’ tape (even masking tape, perhaps)
  6. Recycled red ribbon (or any other color you like)
  7. Tape
  8. Scissors
  9. Hammer
  10. Hot glue gun
  11. Buttons (any color you have)

Below are instructions for wrapping a gift with trash found in Ecuador.  (Following that are step-by-step instructions for doing something similar in the US.)

Step 1 for Ecuador Project

Salvage a flyer you might have been handed on the street and make it the paper you wrap around the outside of your gift.

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Step 2 for Ecuador Project

Use recycled red (or any other color) ribbon to decorate.

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Step 3 for Ecuador Project

I added a strip of Japanese paper tape.  (I’ve seen some in the local, Coral Super Market.)  You can also use an additional piece of ribbon.

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Step 4 for Ecuador Project

I added a piece of green painter’s tape in the opposite direction.  You can use duct tape, also.  (It’s available at Coral in many colors.)  If you have neither of these, try a scrap of green ribbon.

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Step 5 for Ecuador Project

I recycled popsicle sticks, painted them green, and used them to create a star.  (You can find pre-painted popsicle sticks at Coral for a few cents a piece.)  I drilled holes in my sticks and screwed them together.  However, you can also use a hot glue gun to assemble your star.  Or you can put holes in them using a hammer and nail, if you don’t have a drill.

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Step 6 for Ecuador Project

Next, I attached the lid from a beer bottle to the green star, flattening and “ruffling” the lid’s edges using needle-nose pliers and a hammer.  I drilled a hole in the lid so I could screw it onto the star.  You could also use a nail to hammer a hole in the beer cap, or you could attach it to the star using a hot-glue gun.  (Note:  In Ecuador, the lid from a “Pilsener” beer bottle would work just as well.  I happened to have these Heineken caps from when I was in the US.)

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Step 7 for Ecuador Project

I recycled a red, plastic lid for the base of my “star” and drilled a hole in it.  You can hammer a hole in it using a small nail, as well.  You can then screw the star to the red lid, or you can use a hot-glue gun to attach it.

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Step 8 for Ecuador Project

I added red dimension to my star (or flower petals) by cutting the ends off of wooden “spoons,” painting them red, and gluing them to the green popsicle sticks.  (In Cuenca, you can recycle these “spoons” from ice cream sold in Parque Calderon.)

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Step 9 for Ecuador Project

I, finally, applied tabs from Coke cans to the red pieces of wood.  I used Elmer’s glue I happened to have on hand; you could use a hot-glue gun here, as well.

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Step 10 for Ecuador Project

Attach the completed star to the gift using a hot-glue gun or wire.

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Next, I’ve included instructions for doing a similar kind of project in the US.

Step 1

Find an out-of-date atlas or any other kind of map you might have discarded as no longer useful.

Step 2

Cut the map to size and wrap as you would any other paper.

Step 3

Use duct tape as ribbon.

Step 4

Add green painters’ tape and recycled red ribbon from last Christmas.

Step 5

Hot glue popsicle sticks to create a star.

Step 6

Decorate the star with green buttons.

Step 7

Hammer the edges of a discarded coke cap flat to create a ruffled look.

Step 8

Hot glue the coke cap to the center of the star.

Step 9

Hot glue a discarded, screw-on coke cap to the underside of the star to give it height and dimension.

Step 10

Hot glue the completed star to the center of your package.

Try your own extreme gift wrapping.  You, too, can be package-proud and planet-friendly this holiday season.

Have you done any extreme gift-wrapping, yourself?  What’s the most unexpected item you have ever used to wrap a gift?

257 thoughts on “Holiday Ecology: Gift Wrap with Ecuador’s “Trash” (I swear!)

  1. Hello, no I have not done any extreme gift wrapping. After reading your post I definitely know that I lack that creative gene since I thought what yours was beautiful but simple at the same time. I did my Christmas shopping last week Friday.

    • Oh, Colin, congrats on getting the shopping out of the way. I can’t remember if you were still in the US then. That would mean a close encounter with Black Friday. Yikes! But shopping on St Martin would be a TOTALLY different experience. Talk about shopping extremes. I’m developing a case of whiplash just thinking about it!

      I bet you could do extreme wrapping. ANYBODY can. Don’t let that “oh-I’m-not-creative” thing get in the way. Bet you could find some cool stuff to wrap with on Saba.

      Great to hear from you!

      • I did do Black Friday and let me tell you it was not fun. I am working on a post to talk about shopping in Saba and St. Martin.

        Hugs.

      • I can’t wait for that one, Colin! I think it will be so fun. It’s sometimes those everyday details of life in another country that are most interesting. At least for me! Hugs to you, too!

  2. buenos dias, i love this post! my favorite gift wrap is banana foliage,  tied with a wiry vine and garnished/ paired with wilt-resistant flowers liike helionias.  i’m commenting using the reply from the inbox, as the connection is too slow to send it the ‘normal’ way.

    after my umpteenth trip to manta, i received that visa stamp in my passport yesterday! probably a first for a visa in this province through art!  today i’m mindo bound – ten  more days helping my friends and then home to the river to prepare for the rainy season. (and the river study!)  i’ll be offlne except for the days we go to town…

    one of these days my path will take me to cuenca.  i’m sure you and sarah are smiling your way through each day!

    z

    ________________________________

    • Oh, Z, I’m so happy to hear from you. The banana leaf thing sounds TOTALLY cool! I’d love to see a photo of something you wrapped that way. I bet it was awesome.

      Gosh, I’m thrilled to hear about your visa! What a relief. I know how totally thrilled Sara and I were when we got ours. Interestingly, we were the first gay/lesbian couple in the Cuenca office to have one “esposa” dependent on the other. We set a precedent. But the art one is even cooler.

      Good luck with Mindo. We’re looking at a trip to the beach in February, probably, and will likely come your direction. Hopefully, we’ll get together sooner rather than later.

  3. My dear Kathy,

    Your holiday gift wrap sculptures are excellent.

    In my business of selling old things, https://www.etsy.com/shop/assemblage333?view_type=list, as my British, artist friends Kathy and Alastair call, “Selling Rubbish”, I always use all that,”junk mail”, to pack and ship. I’m constantly dumpster diving to procure cardboard boxes, although it’s great when I come up on a new neighbor ready to dispose of thirty-six moving boxes and suggest, “May I save you from those?”, before their refuse makes it into the dumpster. My writer friend Samantha Mozart, who also follows your blog, http://salmonsaladandmozart.com/, always saves the cartons her books are shipped in for me to recycle.

    I too made sculpture this week, at the, http://www.knockdowncenter.com/, in Maspeth Queens NY, the event called for entries in a non-denominational Christmas tree sculpture. Of course all the entries were assembled from all sorts of up-cycled items; mine consisted of iron, mirror, tin, wood and cotton cord, with a few plastic rosaries from the fifties tossed in.

    I’ve always admired unusual wrappings, some being, newspaper print or brown paper bags tied with bailer twine, tin foil, and old wallpaper. Recently I received a gift wrapped in sandpaper; I was quite impressed.

    Your gift wrapping ideas are inspiring, thank you for posting.

    Ever,

    R.

    • Oh, Robert, you’re the coolest! Totally awesome stuff on your Etsy page!

      Wish I were in the US, so it would be affordable to buy a pool ball with the number 5 on it. Sara’s favorite number is 5. Saw all of your 8 balls and the number 3. It would cost a fortune to ship it here.

      I would LOVE to see your Christmas tree sculpture. I went to that the link but didn’t see the trees. Any chance you took a photo. I have thought about building a tree of my own this year, instead of buying one.

      Interestingly, sandpaper is on my list of things to try wrapping with. SO cool you got a gift wrapped in that.

      Gotta run now, but we can chat about all of this later. I’d love to see more of your finds and your assemblages!!!!!!!!!!

  4. extremely creative! It is always good to up cycle items around the house. We have an amazing amount of old home decorator magazines, and some porn of course. LOL Mom use to get all kinds of charity/religious “junk mail” even cards… of course if I had printer I could print my own paper with my photographs…

    You crafts are always fun…

    Hugs from the U.S.A

    • Jeff, wouldn’t it be awesome to print your own paper?! I am totally in love with that idea. I have a blogger buddy whose wedding we attended last year, and I took the invitation and enlarged it massively to wrap the gift I made her. It was fun!

      How fun that you have all of that old stuff. I’m SO into finding new ways to use old things.

      LOVE hearing from you, Jeff. Hugs to you too, my friend! Hope we get to meet one of these days!

    • Thank you, dear Lisa. I’m so happy to hear from you. Hope the semester is beginning to wind down for you. When are you going to come visit us? We have to have you come, so a tree can fall on the house and electricity can go off. LOL God, that was a crazy experience. Wasn’t it?!

      • Of course we want you to come!!!! Like YOU really made the tree fall! And even if you had that kind of power, the accident turned out to be a HUGE bonus when we went to sell the house. We got lots of work done for next to nothing from our home owner’s insurance. There was SO much that needed to be done on that side of the house to begin with. Clearly, the tree gods were with us.

        I know about life being up in the air. Just let us know when you DO want to come. We’d love to have you!

      • It was SO destiny, and I get to think of you every time I tell the story! That makes it even more fun. We lost our water here today. Do you have any powers in that department? LOL Love you, Lisa!

  5. Thank you for the wonderful tip – I hope people take you up on that. We use gift bags and boxes and keep re-using them. No wrapping paper at all. My sister made bags this year from colorful material. I am so against buying wrapping paper that isn’t recyclable.

    • SO glad you appreciate the ideas. I haven’t bought wrapping paper in ages–except at a garage sale a couple of years ago. Love the idea of making gift bags. I should try that one of these days.

      Great to hear from you today. Thanks for stopping by!!!!!

  6. Kathy, you are so clever & creative. I dont have the patience to do what you do. I do enjoy seeing your recipe, ingredients, and ways to use trash. I feel like I’ve accomplished something just removing trash from The Mountain; the Jr. College kids come out here to drink beer on top of the mountain (on the road); every morning, I pick up that nasty stuff which includes condoms, chewing tobacco tins, McDonalds sacks, frequently a lone tennis shoe. Once, I found a twenty dollar bill; just a week ago, I found a girl’s credit card. They bring all kinds of sledding objects when there is snow, then leave them where they land…burlap sacks, cattle feed containers, big round plastic sleds, trash can lids: I have to take the lawn tractor-trailer to get these bigger items off the mountain. It a full time job. I dont have time leftover to make wrappings. I feel so much better having ventilated; thx for the space to get rid of my frustrations with TRASH.

    • Gosh, JK, that sounds like a pain in the you-know-what! Is there no way to keep kids out? I think I’d be hating trash, if I were you. NO wonder you don’t have to time to do creative things with the surplus. You’re drowning in surplus!

      The credit card find is a hoot.

      Great to hear from you, JK. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  7. I have never — and I mean NEVER — seen anybody be more creative and thrilling in their present wrapping!!! I want to get a present from you some day (but where in the WORLD do you find the time to do all this???) LOVE your passion for recycling and making something beautiful out of stuff we all throw away!!! Happy Holidays!!!!

    • Hi Betty, wonderful to hear from you! I don’t know where I find the time either. The fact of the matter is that I barely do find enough. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

      I’ll be sure you get a gift from me one of these days. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Wonderful and inspiring, as expected! Thank you, Kathy, you keep all of us on our toes…no excuses not to think trash, waste and scraps for gift wrap, with your beautiful results and perfect instructions! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Cindy. You’re a sweetie. I’m not as great a recycler as I should be. I think I’m mostly in love with the notion of repurposing and reinventing. I have NO idea where that comes from. If it helps the planet a bit–then that’s awesome!

      Great to hear from you. Stay warm up there in Michigan!

  9. Oh I do love these ideas! I’m a great “recycler” and I value the emphasis on “repurposing.” Using the beer bottle caps is quite genius! LOL! There are some members of my family that would definitely appreciate the creativity! :-)

    • Oh, I’m glad you enjoyed these ideas. I think metal bottle caps, whether on beer or Coke, can add a bit of sparkle to a gift. They’re like the jewelry on the package.

      Great to hear from you today! Hope you’ll come back again soon!

  10. I am in awe. And once I stop staring at these fabulous photos I’m off to attack my carrier bag mountain with some power tools…or at least some scissors and a Pritt Stik! ;D

    • You always manage to make me laugh, “Ginger.” Don’t be in awe, however, I failed to mention that too often I come close to accidental amputation during these projects. Guess, that might have been an important detail–a crafter-beware clause! lol

      Are you back from your sisters’? How are they both feeling? Great to hear from you today!!!

      • I am back in Qatar Kathryn. I ended up extending my stay as my little sister – the donor – had a slight blip in her recovery and ended up back in hospital, then needed a bit more TLB (Tender Loving Bossiness) from me! She’s much better now, as is big sister, who is still wowing the docs with her progress.
        I think I’m going to use some of your ideas for Christmas decorations too.
        l’ll make sure to photograph the results so that you can have another laugh.
        Kirstin x ;)

      • Sorry to hear your younger sister struggled with a set back, but THANK GOD she got the bossiness cure! Sometimes that’s all it takes–as an older sister myself, I know ALL about that! But it’s good to know you’re “home.” And I’m excited to hear you may try a few of these ideas. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Kirsten!

  11. You always impress me with your craftiness, Kathy – even south of the equator! You are the queen of recycling and turning one man’s trash into your own personal treasure. Keep up the good (and festive) work!

    • Thank you, Mark. I appreciate your confidence in my creative skills. As I just said to someone else, I forgot to mention how close I come to accidental amputation during some of these projects. You know what a klutz I am! So are you going to do any extreme gift wrapping this Christmas? I bet Tara would appreciate it. LOL NOT!

    • Thank you, dear Colleen! You always make me feel so good. Are you going to do any great crafting this month? Can’t wait to put the ornament you made me on the tree this year. Of course, it made the trip with us! Hugs to you too, my friend!

  12. I always love your craft posts, Kathy. You make me think that I can actually do it myself. Start an ex pat crafting class in Cuenca! :)

    Here’s my dirty little secret: I am actually the worst present wrapper you’ve ever met. All my presents look like a 5 year old wrapped them. Actually a 5 year old could do a better job.

    • I don’t believe you could be THAT bad. Plus, it’s the thought that counts. It’s good to hear you enjoy the crafting posts. Actually, I thought about teaching something along these lines here this month. I just couldn’t decide if I had the time. Where does the time go?

      Are you and Reggie going to Tennessee for Christmas?

    • It’s funny that you mention that, as often that’s exactly what my family says. However, sometimes they also say they don’t want to unwrap the gift, as they feel like they’re destroying something.

      Thanks for your sweet comment, Terri. You’re a dear!

  13. Kathy, you are the Martha Stewart of Cuenca. I am the Oscar Madison of wrapping. This crafty, clever, arty style wrapping of yours is so not happening with me. I have my gifts shipped to my sister and I wrap them at her place with whatever wrap she has lying around her house and I do it at warp speed. She does buy the recycled stuff, but I’d just as soon wrap everything in newspaper, tie it all with twine and fuhgeddaboudit.

    • Okay, guilty as charged. But you wrapped our wedding gift quite nicely, as I recall. I EVEN saved that cat-food-can topper. That was just too good! In fact, I may frame it! And that’s not a threat. LOL

  14. How wonderful! And what a great idea. I have done wrapping that didn’t use wrapping paper but that’s because I’m not organized so resorted to using newspaper or something that could pass. I’m with you, we need to stop wasting paper. I almost didn’t send out Christmas cards this year, but then decided to use cards I already had. Some say happy birthday, Valentine’s Day or what not. I’m sure my friends will roll their eyes since I’m always going on and on about the environment.

    I admire your skills! Wonderful.

    And thanks so much for the lovely review on Marionette. It means a lot.

    • I was delighted to write the review and have a chance to read the book! I LOVED it.

      I especially love that you sent out any and all occasioned cards for the holiday. That is a hoot! And absolutely perfect!

      So glad you enjoyed this post and my crafty, wrapping ideas. Have a wonderful day, my friend.

  15. Those are awesome!!! I hung up my sweet cat food can ornament in my kitchen on Monday and I think of you whenever I pass by it!!! You are so talented and green!!! I knew you would be finding some great things to recycle into your beautiful artwork in your new country!!!

    • Thanks so much, Beth Ann! I’m delighted you’re enjoying your cat food can ornament. Those were SO fun to make.

      And you’re right. I did find stuff here to recycle. Go figure. LOL Have a great weekend, my friend!

  16. Kathy, You are the most creative person I know! How you manage to take such everyday stuff, trash and turn it into something beautiful to behold, is beyond me! I love it. I’m not as crafty, or talented and the process seems overwhelming, but kudos to you for not only doing it but showing others through your step by step process. Here’s what I do: I re-use every gift bag I receive. I like the map idea. That’s definitely something I can do that’s easy. Oh, and I never use bows or stuff like that. Very timely post!

    • I seem to remember something about a scrapbook or two that you’ve done, so I don’t know that I buy you’re not being crafty and creative. Still, I’m so glad you enjoyed these ideas. I think I mostly love the process of coming up with new ideas. Maps are great fun to use. DO give it a go! Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend, my friend.

  17. Kathy, we’ve done this in previous years, especially with members of our immediate family. Usually we just wrap our gifts in the local newspaper that Barry works for. I like the additions of popsicle sticks and bottle caps. Livens things up. We’re going to Georgia for Christmas so shall start pondering some ideas right now. This is truly inspirational!

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! I’m tickled you enjoyed these ideas. I will be curious to see what you come up with. I, too, love to wrap with newspaper. It’s the perfect paper in so many ways. Just saw a post in my inbox from you–something about the cold–INDOORS–so, stay warm this evening! Great to hear from you!

  18. I don’t “like,” I LOOOooooooOVE!
    You, my dear, are FABULOUSLY creative, imaginative, green, amazing…
    And to top it off…”Writing Down The Bones!!!” YESsss.
    I now love you MORE)) Xx
    kiss from MN.

    • GOOD for you! That’s awesome. I’d love to come across a bunch of discarded maps. Interestingly, my post tomorrow is about make Christmas tree ornaments from maps.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s great to hear from you!!!!

      • Really Nice ideas. I always use old newspapers to wrap présent. I Also uses magazine to make envelopes and create that way an original letter sending.

  19. We have plenty of old road maps. I think I’ll start using them. And Writing Down the Bones is one of my favorite books. Are you really giving it as a gift, or was that for demonstration purposes only?

    • Yes, it really was a gift. It’s one of my favorites, as well. I love Natalie Goldberg.

      I’d love to know how your wrapping with maps goes. Good luck with your cartography creations.

      Great to hear from you today. Hope your week is going well! Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Pingback: Wooden Fairy Houses Art Project

  21. I think Natalie Goldberg would love your wild wrappings, Kathy. I just reread her “Writing Down the Bones” as preparation for the Blue Deer Writers Workshops I want to lead here at home beginning in January. (So far my newspaper press release has led to their suggesting I run a $198 one-time ad….) I, too, love Natalie Goldberg’s writing and “Bones” enabled me, years ago, to override my inner critic.

    I love your creative sculptures. As near as I’ve gotten this year is placing a tipsy angel atop my 8-foot (artificial) Christmas tree. Trust me, I was at the top of the ladder holding onto the ceiling while the tree wobbled and the lights throwing shadows on the ceiling made it look as if the ceiling was spinning. I probably should have drunk a glass of wine first….

    I thanked my friend Robert for the shout-out. That was kind.

    • Glad to hear you, too are a Goldberg fan. Gotta love a writer who can help other writers silence the critic inside. He or she can be a serious enemy to the writing process.

      And I’m even more tickled you enjoyed the wrapping. Thank God you didn’t fall putting the angel atop your tree. Yes, Robert is a sweetie, isn’t he?!

      Almost forgot–almost $200 for an ad? Wow. That’s a lot of money!

      • I’m thankful I didn’t fall, too. It made for great storytelling, though — there’s always an upside, shall I say. Yesterday when I went on our town’s historic homes holiday walking tour, admiring gorgeous tree-topping angels, I told the story twice, entertaining the gracious homeowners in their kitchens over mulled cider and cookies. ;-)

        Yes, Robert is a good friend. He is to me as Milton is to Virginia, I believe — my go-to person who is willing to lend an ear while I talk at him. Actually, it’s reciprocal.

      • You don’t need to reply to this, Kathy, but I just wanted to congratulate you on being Freshly Pressed — and wow! Look at the shower of comments. You’ll have to add more stockings to your mantelpiece.

  22. Kathy, your artistic eye sees possibility in everything. Sadly, I don’t think through things well enough. I create way too much trash. I’m going to remember this next year and do a better job.

  23. I live in Quito, and always have a hard time figuring out how to wrap presents. Wrapping paper is just too expensive! These are some really great ideas.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed! It’s nice to see a blog on Ecuador getting some recognition =)

    • Oh, cool! How wonderful to hear from you. I’m going to be in Quito between Christmas and New Years. And this will be my first trip. Can’t wait.

      Yeah, isn’t it weird what’s expensive here and what isn’t? I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and, perhaps, solved one of your own wrapping issues. Once the Freshly Pressed frenzy quiets down, I look forward to visiting your blog!

      By the way, do you have a hotel that you’d recommend–medium price?

      • I’ll be in the states for Christmas – I’m actually leaving tonight! I hope you enjoy Quito, it’s a great city! I’ve been to Cuenca twice, but just for short visits each time. I love Cuenca, it has such a nice small city vibe and it’s beautiful =)

        Since I’ve been in Ecuador, I’ve always lived in Quito and because of that have never stayed in hotels here, so I have limited experience. However, when my dad came to visit me he stayed here: http://www.hotelvillanancy.com/

        It is between 50-70 a night, depending on the room and the dates. My dad said it was a very nice place! I hope this helps.

        And I haven’t written much lately in my blog because life has just been so crazy. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into it soon. I hope you like it anyway =)

      • Have a safe trip home. And thanks so much for the link. I will check it out. I know what you mean about it being hard to find time to write. Hope you have a great holiday with your family in the US!

  24. This year we used our “trash” for gifts as well! Save all of the lint your dryer collects and all of your empty toilet paper rolls. Fill each roll with lint, wrap with recycled paper or gift wrap (make sure you use something that you can burn), tie the ends off with pretty ribbon and put in gift baskets as fire starters for folks with wood-burning fireplaces or outdoor wood-burning fire pits. Very fun for crafters of all ages! Merry Christmas!

    • I totally LOVE your idea! I’m fascinated by the organic kinds of designs that appear on dryer lint, but your idea is SO practical. We don’t have a dryer here in Ecuador, or I might try your gift making strategy. Too fun.

      Happy holidays to your and your family, and thanks SO much for stopping by!

    • Yes, I did do this myself. So glad you like it. You should try it yourself. It’s fun. I will visit your blog as soon at this Freshly Pressed craziness dies down. Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy holidays!

    • Thank you! I hope others will try this, as well. It’s free, and fun, which is a hard combination to beat. I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Have a wonderful holiday!

  25. This is very neat! I love the way these things look. Also the fact that you are using things that would have been thrown away makes it even cooler. Helping the environment is something that I always try to do so when I see someone else doing it I feel hopeful about the future of the human race.

    • I think I know how you feel. If we keep on our current path, so will destroy the planet. If we make these kinds of small changes, then there’s hope for all of us. Hope you have fabulous holiday. And please come by again soon!

  26. Yeah that’s a great point. Also save money on gifts and all sorts of items by using ebay…I know a lot of people by gift wrap and stuff for like a dollar…lot of them even have free shipping. Just something to keep in mind during the holidays you know? Like this stuff on eBay, ridiculous good deals

  27. Very creative packaging! I, too , love to use whatever I can find that seems to fit the theme for the gift. I have attached dried flowers, grasses, pine cones, recycled ribbons from past Christmas or birthday gifts. I also cut out images from junk mail and keep it in a box, mostly for collages, but every once in a while, I’ll swipe an image and make a little greeting card out of it, that gets attached to the wrapped gift.

    • These are all wonderful ideas. I, too, love to use dried flowers. And I love to make cards. I hadn’t even thought about incorporating junk mail into that. Thanks for the idea.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Happy holidays.

  28. What a great teacher you are. These step by step directions make it look easy. A couple of years ago I tried my hand at your styrofoam Christmas ornaments that came out with a quilted effect. I tried holiday wrap, too thick. Then I tried cotton squares with small patterns. Worked well. Then I tried thin tissue paper with holiday patterns…perfect. I book marked those directions and now I’ve lost them…please remind me of the link. Now that should have been freshly pressed, too. Congratulations on this FP. You are very creative and generous to share your ideas. This Christmas, I’ve snipped old Christmas cards to serve as Christmas tags on gifts this year. PS A very dear friend’s in-laws live in Cuenca and years ago I spent a summer in Quito and Guayaquil. Feliz Navidad y un Próspero Año Nuevo.

  29. Heey, I know you…You read all the blogs I stalk. :) Congrats on the FP! This is such a clever and cute way to wrap gifts.

    I deemed this Christmas “The Year of the Soap” and I’ve been wrapping the little fragrant bars in hand-knitted washcloths.

    • How cool that we read the same blogs. I’m going to have to visit yours, as well. Gotta love the YEAR OF THE SOAP. What a hoot. And how fun that you knit washcloths. Hope you and your family have a lovely holiday!

  30. These are fabulous! I love up-cycling, and use a lot of ‘trash’ to make my Christmas cards, and also up-cycle old envelops, but I’ve never gift wrapped with trash. I’m sure Natalie Goldberg would approve – great book! I’ve seen some beautiful crafts from old cans and plastic bags and so on in South Africa, it’s incredible what a vast array of free materials there are out there to create beauty out of. Inspiring post – thanks so much, and blessing of a green Christmas to you! Harula xxxx

  31. If you’re interested in more creative Christmas projects, check out my blog for a post on making your own Origami Santa – perfect for hanging on your Christmas tree! :)

  32. This is amaying. It can~t be called up/czcling anzmore, this is straight out ART! :D After receiving something this beautiful it should definitely be kept as decoration in the room. Great post!

  33. Pingback: Day 15: gift ideas we love | Thriftypop

  34. Very nice! But a bit time consuming. In years past, I used pages from the LA Times rotagravure, or comic pages, or pages from a Chinese newspaper. One year, Hanukkah came early, which meant that Hanukkah wrap was on sale before Christmas–so my outgoing presents had little dredels on them. I don’t think anyone noticed.

  35. Reblogged this on live love learn and commented:
    Before you throw out all that wasted, extravagant Christmas gift wrapping…spare a thought for a)the environment and b) your pocket when it comes to future gift wrapping needs…and follow this creative and eco friendly DIY gift wrapping tips :)

  36. This is so creative, I really love handmade and knowing that even a gift wrapping can be done creatively, it will be more appreciated by someone,for sure! Thanks for sharing and I’m so happy to find your blog!

  37. My sister has been doing similar wrapping/cards for years – and its so fun to receive them from her! The originality, the colors, and the textures are always such a treat! Thanks for sharing your cool ideas with us! I especially like the map idea!

  38. My friends and I use fabric offcuts and ribbon and we save the ones we’re given to reuse every year. Your presents look MUCH MUCH better than ours though! The way ours look at the end, you can only give them to someone who understands what you’re doing and why!

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