No Bag Left Behind

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I love to wrap gifts.

My husband can attest to this fact: Sometimes, I spend silly amounts of time finding just the right piece of wrap or ribbon to create a pretty little prize for the intended recipient.

Sometimes, I’m even more excited about the wrap than the gift itself. (Although if the wrap happens to be around a gift I’ve also made, then it’s a double-whammy of DIY bliss for me!)

And I rarely buy wrapping paper, instead preferring to reuse some of the more beautiful pieces I’ve received, as well as ephemera I’ve collected.

So, when I was considering the millions of brown paper grocery bags we’ve managed to accumulate — in spite of diligently bringing our own cloth bags when we shop — it seemed like a no-brainer to repurpose them into something a little more fun that might give them a second use before they hit the recycling pile. Like gift wrap!

vignette80I started by making paper bows, layering cut flowers of the brown paper and decorating some with ink. Next, I moved on to gift tags; a few forgotten mini potatoes that were languishing in our pantry and an inkpad later, and I had some simple little block prints to embellish them. I cut and folded some tiny gift cards, which I also stamped.

Like a conscientious hunter using all the parts of a prized animal, I was determined to reuse 100% of that bag. What to do with all the scraps of my cut-outs and punched holes? I soaked them in warm water overnight, found an old screen, and used the pulp to make one single sheet of 8-by-14-inch textured wrapping paper which I also embellished with my trusty potato.

I probably ended up throwing about 25% of the bag into the recycling pile — mostly bits and pieces that had industrial glue on them or ink blotted from my stamps. Not quite the full animal, but close! Next time….

Top right photo: paper bow. Bottom left photo: top row of wrapping paper (top), gift tags (middle left), gift cards (middle right), more bows (bottom).

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6 Responses to “No Bag Left Behind”


  1. 1 ayelet August 18, 2009 at 10:56 am

    really neat, and sophisticated looking !

  2. 3 ayunda August 26, 2009 at 6:29 am

    wow, neat! Funny hobby! Very creative!

  3. 5 thegiftedblog October 13, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I’m impressed at the lengths you went to use up those bags! It’s so satisfying to find a good use for something that you would otherwise toss in the recycling bin.

    I found you while looking for other WordPress blog posts about gift wrapping. I’m doing a series on my blog, testing out gift wrapping ideas: http://thegiftedblog.wordpress.com/category/tutorial-tryout/. There is quite a bit of re-using materials!

    Thank you for sharing…I’m bookmarking your post for future reference!


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