Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, wedding, new baby or holiday, there comes a time in every life when gift wrapping must be done. For those stuck in the same pattern that was passed down to them by parents and grandparents, the usual procedure is to head to the nearest store, try to find a festive design, lament about the price of gift wrap, buy a roll or two begrudgingly and head back home to cover the present in colorful paper and a bow.
However, wrapping a gift doesn’t have to be quite so unimaginative. No matter what type of present has been made or purchased, there is always a way to make the outer packaging more interesting.
Check out these fun ways to wrap a present and give gift-giving a makeover:
1. Street, country or world map: Instead of traditional wrapping paper, a map makes a visually interesting gift cover. This can be used for any gift but is especially creative when giving a travel-related gift.
2. Decorative tins: Visit any thrift shop and there will usually be variety of fascinating, printed tins. For example, there may be designs featuring vintage advertising, ladies in Victorian clothing, animals, cultural artwork or intricate patterns.
3. Baby blankets: While baby blankets are often given as a gift, they can become the gift wrap instead. Smaller items can be rolled inside of a blanket or the blanket can serve as a pouch tied at the top. Baby blankets can also be draped over a basket filled with baby shower gifts.
4. Seashells: A large seashell can house a small gift. Simply turn the shell upside down, place the gift inside, and cover with a piece of underwater-themed fabric or wrap in mesh and add a decorative starfish to the bow.
5. Mason jars: These useful jars can be painted or a gift can be placed inside and surrounded by colorful tissue paper, colored stones, or candy.
6. Pie tins: Turn two pie tins so that they form an enclosed box. Hole punch the rims and weave ribbon through them to secure the gift. Top with a card, raffia or a bow.
7. Glove, mitten or oven mitt: These “handy” items can cover a multitude of small gifts including Chapstick, winter-themed jewelry, gift cards, kitchen utensils, hand towels and more.
8. Shower cap: A printed shower cap can be turned into a functional gift pouch that will hold small bottles of bath and body products, a loufah, soaps and more.
9. Metal lunch box: Vintage and novelty shops will both carry metal lunch boxes in various designs. These usually reflect some sort of pop culture image and are great for themed-gifts.
10. PVC pipe: PVC pipe can be found in varying sizes and is perfect for wrapping cylindrical or narrow gifts such as wine bottles, baby bottles, bath products and more. Cover the outside of the pipe in patterned scrapbook paper, fold the extra length over at the ends, hole punch and tie a ribbon on each end.
11. Toolbox: This is the perfect container for guys. Fill the slots with snacks, turn it into a “baby supplies kit” for a new dad, or use for any gift that needs a manly touch.
12. Sheet music: Scour thrift stores or garage sales for old music books with loose bindings. Recycle the sheet music to wrap vinyl albums, iPods, musical artist biographies, concert t-shirts, or any music-related gift.
13. Sand pail: A simple plastic bucket can be an adorable way to hold a child’s gifts. Cover the top with a mesh bag filled with seashells.
14. Cookie jars and canisters: These ready-made containers can add substance to any gift as the recipient will be able to use the packaging as well as the present itself.
15. Book bag or beach tote: Oversized bags are an easy way to wrap gifts. They are normally pre-printed with a fun design and they’re large enough to hide away bulkier items.
16. Tablecloth: Especially large items can be kept inconspicuous with a pretty tablecloth. A fabric tablecloth is much easier to manipulate around a heavy or bulky item than paper that tears easily at every shift in the item’s weight. For large children’s toys, a simple, plastic tablecloth will do.
17. Decorative towels: Hand towels and bath towels can be used to wrap bath products, nail kits, brushes and hand mirrors any time of year, or holiday-design towels can be used to wrap themed picture frames, ornaments and more.
18. Pillowcases: Printed pillowcases can be turned into a lovely gift bag. When giving items such as bathrobes, slippers, pajamas, or stuffed animals, the pillowcase can be folded over on the top, gathered in the middle, and tied with a ribbon.
19. Muffin or cupcake pan: Fill a pan with snack bags full of sprinkles and other edible decorations for a cute baking-themed gift, or just fill each section with Lego, beads, candy, sewing thread, jewelry or other small items for an adorable presentation.
20. Homemade gift wrap: Using sketch pad or large roll paper, design homemade gift wrap. Use stickers, ink stampers, glitter glue, make handprints with paint, adhere photos, or sketch a design. The possibilities are endless.
Though pre-packaged gift wrap has its place, creative alternates can make a gift stand out from the pack and make the gift-opening just as memorable as the gift itself.