DIY Gift Wrapping Ideas

Even though gift bags have become a very popular option for wrapping gifts, I still love the look of gifts that are in boxes wrapped in paper and decorated with ribbons and bows. Maybe that’s because it reminds me of gifts from my childhood days before anybody used gift bags!

This year as I began thinking about the Christmas gift wrapping season and some of the boxes I’ll be wrapping, I started pondering if I could put a roll of white freezer paper to good use for wrapping a few boxes. Because I’ve been trying to eat more plant-based and don’t keep much meat in the freezer anymore, my roll of freezer paper is just sitting there unused. Maybe, I thought, I can use it to make my own wrapping paper instead!

Using kraft paper and freezer paper to wrap gifts

So I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas not only for my freezer paper, but also for using a roll of plain brown kraft paper I have from the dollar store. Those are the kind of options I call Frugal Folk Wrapping Paper!

gift boxes with bows made from fabric scraps

DIY Gift Wrap Idea #1 – Using Fabric As Ribbon

The first idea that’s a fun and easy wrap to decorate either plain white or brown paper wrapping  is to simply use a piece of cloth material as your ribbon and tie it around the package. Depending on the size of your box, this can be a frugal way to use up leftover fabric scraps.

For a standard size shirt box, I used a 4” wide piece of material, and cut it the entire length of my piece of fabric that was from a 43” wide bolt of cotton. (Many of the colorful cotton prints in the fabric stores are usually sold in 43” to 45” width bolts so it works out pretty easily!)

wrapping a box with fabric ribbon

To begin, I wrapped my piece of material around the box and made the first part of my knot. Then I tied the second part of my knot, and did just a little bit of fiddling to make sure the right side of the fabric would be facing up on the remaining ends of the fabric that would be showing. Then you can trim the remaining ends if needed, however I think this method looks the best if you keep those ends somewhat long, about the same length as the width of your box.  If there are any obvious long strings of the fabric that are fraying, you can snip those off too.

a gift box with brown kraft paper and red plaid fabric ribbon

For my first box I used leftover fabric from my homemade pillow covers, and I rather liked the homespun look of the brown paper wrapping with the red plaid fabric. And it was super easy to do!

For my second box, I wrapped it in the white freezer paper and used a leftover red and white snowflake print fabric from when I made my decoupage Christmas plates. For this smaller sized box I used a 2.5” wide piece of fabric. When I was done tying my knot, I decided to trim the remaining ends on an angle for a little different look.

A gift box tied with a ribbon made from fabric scraps

My third box is an example that the fabric doesn’t necessarily have to be Christmas fabric either. When I was going through my fabric stash, I came upon some material I used several years ago to make kitchen curtains. This fabric had some metallic threads in it and blended nicely with the brown paper too. I put a little dollar store embellishment in the center and it was all good!

a gift wrapped box with kraft paper and fabric ribbon

And this brings me to the second creative gift wrapping idea I’m sharing here today. Check out the Dollar Store for frugal little decorations!

Gifts made with dollar store decorations

DIY Gift Wrap Idea #2 – Decorate with Dollar Store Embellishments

If you’re going to wrap a gift in plain brown or white paper, it needs to be jazzed up a little bit somehow. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of money to make that jazzing up happen, try checking out the dollar stores for inexpensive doo-dads to add to the top of your packages. I went with a gold theme and found several items to spuce up my packages.

I was able to find a “glitter runner” and also some “glitter tulle” that looked nice around my plain white box. I finished up with another one of my dollar store gold poinsettia decorations.

Gold and white box wrapped with freezer paper and dollar store decorations

And now I know why that song says that “brown paper packages tied up with string” ranks as one of our favorite things. I wrapped one of my plain brown boxes with some decorative white string I had in my craft stash and then added a few tiny gold ornaments from the dollar store and a couple pieces of greenery I cut off from another dollar store Christmas decoration. This finished result was my favorite gift wrapped box!

Gift box with brown paper tied with string and greens

For the last couple of boxes I used some glittery gold ribbon and topped each one with a little embellishment. The gold glitter ribbon and poinsettia were, again, found at the dollar store. The little snowflake ornament was in my ornament collection, but I’m pretty sure it came from the dollar store once upon a time!

gift wrapped boxes decorated with dollar store embellishments

Of course dollar stores don’t always have the same things in stock at certain times or in certain locations. But if you browse around for a while, you might be surprised at the different possibilities you’ll find for gift wrapping embellishments. In addition to the Christmas area of the store, you might also find items that will work as embellishments in the gift wrap area, the party supply area, the craft supply area, and so on.

printable christmas gift tags

DIY Gift Wrap Idea #3 – Use my printable Gift Tags!

Finally, as I was working on these creative gift wrapping ideas, I decided it might be helpful to have a few gift tags in a brown and white theme too. So I created a few options that are shown on some of the previous pictures, and they’re free for you to print off and keep the frugal gift wrapping theme going!

Click here – – > Free Printable Gift Wrap Tags

For my favorite “brown paper package tied up with string” box, I decided to cut out one of the round labels but rather than cut on the outline of the circle, I left a little white space around it and really liked how that looked.

There’s always room for that kind of creative inspiration when you make your own!

Christmas present with free printable gift tag

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4 Comments

  1. I like the ideas and am inspired to look through fabric to make the bows. It would be nice to have a source for plain paper and embellishments other than Dollar Stores, which I do not support, due to the country where most of their merchandise originates and its record number of human rights violations. I realize their goods are cheaper, but they come at a cost, if you know what I mean. Thanks for sharing this, Bev!

    1. Have you looked into the rolls doctors use for their exam tables and butcher wrap. The art stores might have more suggestions as well. I’m a “sewist” as well.
      Dorothy