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DIY gift boxThe plastic grocery bag appears to be going the way of the dinosaur. If the trend continues, disposable gift wrap might not be far behind. Here are five alternatives you can turn to if the over-priced Hallmark gift bags disappear from the shelves:

Re-Purposed Paper: Of course, your basic uncoated wrapping paper is recyclable and probably not the biggest threat to the environment. But, if you prefer "re-use" over "recycle", then consider other paper options. Brown paper bags, magazine pages, your old Biology notes that you kept for no reason whatsoever... (oh, don't pretend you don't have those). But please, while those crazy Brits might think nothing of wrapping their fish and chips in newspaper, spare your friends and family the aggravation of newsprint all over their fingers and bright shiny gifts.

Gift Boxes from re-purposed cardboard
: I'm loving these two tutorials for paper gift boxes. Only one calls specifically for re-using materials (they recommend cereal boxes) but both could easily be made out of any light cardboard you've got sitting in the recycling bin. You might also want to whip out the rubber stamps, paint, or whatever recyclable bling you've got, to make the cardboard a wee bit more festive.

Fabric gift bags:
If you know your way around a sewing machine, you could try your hand at making your own fabric gift bags. If drawstring isn't your thing, McCall's has a free pattern for a gift bag with handles. (just skip the whole crazy quilting step and go to the last set of instructions).

Fabric CD Case:
This also requires a little bit of sewing skill, but if you're up to it, the possibilities are endless. CDs might also be going the way of the dinosaur, but video games, DVDs and books could all get their own custom fabric case.

Fabric Wrap: If sewing just isn't going to happen for you, the Japanese government has instructions for wrapping gifts with fabric, instead of paper. Yes, the Japanese government provides its citizens with gift-wrapping instructions, got a problem with that? I can't say the directions are particularly clear, but it's worth a shot. In the spirit of re-using, you might want to save this option for your crafty pals who'll definitely make use of a random piece of fabric after they've opened their gift.

  • Francesca Clarke

    Great ideas. thanks!
    I also like to use the kids art as gift wrap. Sometimes our preschooler brings home so many large paintings we're just not going to keep all of them. It makes a fun way to wrap and reuse the paper.

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