Almost Free Gift Wrap Ideas

I don’t know about you, but my Christmas budget is super low to begin with, and after I have bought presents for my loved ones, I’m not left with much money for beautiful wrapping paper. But that doesn’t mean that I can hand someone a gift in a plain old gift bag! Oh, no no. I want my wrapping to make the receiver even more excited about their present laying under the tree without the elaborate wrapping prices.

Luckily, the brilliant minds of Pinterest have thought of everything. There is a way to wrap your gifts for almost free, make them look stunning and yet simple, and it’s also easy to put together. I call it the paper bag method, which gives your present an earthy vibe that I absolutely love. There are also a few variations with newspaper or black paper, which are just as beautiful and almost as cheap!

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to try them all! (all of which can be found at the dollar store during certain times of year)

  • Brown Kraft paper, brown paper bags or black poster board, or plain black wrapping paper (which may be hard to find but I have linked it below)
  • Newspaper (preferably just black and white sections)
  • Twine or a beautiful ribbon you love (there are options at the Dollar Store, don’t forget!
  • Light brown cardstock/thin cardboard, or red/white/black posterboard to cut into labels
  • If using black paper, you’ll need a white-out marker or white paint pen
  • A few large Christmas lights bulbs or small ball ornaments
  • Red berries and fake leaves/branches
  • Or real leaves and branches and twigs from outside. Get creative and resourceful! Go to the forest or park and see what you can find.
  • Optional but adorable: mini Christmas trees and/or Pom Poms

Difficulty level: 2/10

Usefulness: 8/10

Average cost for one present: Under $3 (that three dollars would spread to a lot more presents however, this would just be the minimum you could spend to buy all supplies needed for one gift. Sorry for all of the fine print but it’s important you know you don’t have to spend $3 x 50 gifts!)

Helpful tip: try as best as you can to keep boxes from your Amazon shipments (or your family’s shipping boxes!) to put yours inside of and wrap. A present looks so much more professional and clean if it comes in a box rather than whatever weird object you are wrapping.

Helpful tip 2: save all of the paper bags and newspaper you can find!

Idea #1

Red Berries Detail


Source: MissKay DIY

This one may look complicated, but I promise it is so simple. You can accomplish it with plain brown paper bag paper, or one that is light brown with a bit more detail like the one I borrrowed from my friend in the picture. It went so well with the little red birds and the red berries!

Simply tie twine around the present going one direction, then before tying the bow, tie a knot around one branch of green leaves and a clump of red berries. Tie a bow around it all with the twine and voila, minutes of effort looks like you spent hours. I love how classy and down to earth it looks! The world has enough glitz and glam gift wrap. (Don’t get me wrong, that has its place too, but variety is the spice of Christmas!)

Idea #2

Green and Brown Earth Tones

Source: Instagram @ patrickdenanddelve

As you can see, there are plenty of options on this one and they all coordinate, so try one or try them all! Personally I am intrigued by the inexpensive light brown ones, and how they paired them dark brown bows. I personally have more of a colorful sense of style, so I wouldn’t have thought to pair my brown wrapping with a brown bow, but it looks gorgeous! One of the best and easiest ways to spruce up a cheap wrapping material is with a beautiful silk bow. Although the dollar store typically has some cool wire bows and textured bows, I can never seem to find soft ones there. But not to worry, you can find many different colors on Amazon here in bulk:

Hipgirl 100 Yards 1/4″ Satin Fabric Ribbon Set For Gift Package Wrapping, Hair Bow Clips & Accessories Making, Crafting, Sewing, Wedding Decor, Boy Girl Baby Shower-20x5yd Double Face Solid

And with any present, a piece of real or fake leaves or tree branch in the bow adds an elegant touch of sophistication while still being down to earth. (Get it, down to earth using earth tones? No? Anybody?)

Idea #3

Black paper with Red Bows

Source: Alfriida

If you guys have been keeping up with the blog, you have seen my new obsession with making Chalkboard looks with white paint pens. It’s so much fun and it always looks amazing!

Simply buy black posterboard from the Dollar Store and wrap your presents with it. If you can find black wrapping paper for cheap please let me know, because I would love to find something that is thinner than the posterboard to wrap small things in. However, I have not seen it readily available, and I found that posterboard works for about anything if you want it to, so we will make it work. In fact, because it is so thick, we can think of it as making another box on top of the box you’re wrapping! Maybe more levels of excitement that way?

Write on the black paper with a white-out marker, white paint, or my personal favorite the white paint puff pen. Once you get good with that thing, the possibilities are endless! Just hold it a little above the paper and make sure it is squeezing a consistent thin line of paint and away you draw! (Also, shake and tap the bottle before using it every time to get air bubbles out so they don’t squirt paint everywhere, ugh! Happens to me all the time. But worst case scenario, you can cover up the paint splatter with black paint or black marker later.

After you have completing your masterpiece, finish it off with a gorgeous red silk bow! Check out all of the creative ways the artist added the bow detail! Look at the one above for the link to bulk silk ribbons on Amazon!

If you are okay with any texture of bow, the Dollar Store has your back.

Idea #3

Mini Christmas Trees and Pom Poms

Source: Live Give Love

Get this: Anthropologie actually sells little gift boxes with the car drawing and the mini Christmas tree on top for like $12. That’s crazy when you can easily make it yourself on the cheap! But on the other hand I don’t blame them for carrying something so adorable in their stores.

This will only work on rather small boxes. Wrap it in the brown kraft paper or paper bag, and draw the object of your choice with a thin black sharpie. My personal favorite are the cars, but the music notes with the strings for music bars is pretty darn clever. I also love that the artist wrote a Christmas slogan underneath each picture, such as “O Christmas Tree,” “Deck the Halls” or “Good Tidings We Being,” so I would definitely add that!

Tape or hot glue the object to the outside of the wrapping. You can find the trees at most dollar stores this time of year in mini winter wonderland scene pieces. With the trees I recommend hot gluing them laying flat on the side of the box above the car. Lastly, tie it up with String. You could use plain red twine or yarn, but if you can find the same red and white stripes for cheap then kudos and send me the link!

Idea #4

Brown Paper with Black and White Details

Source: Ella Clair Inspire

Yet again, a very similar concept with the brown paper wrapping and a nice bow detail. Notice how they pair the brown paper with light brown satin bows as well and it is still absolutely gorgeous! Yet again, something that I would not have thought of on my own.

The other detail you should notice is the black and white striped and checkered bows are an excellent pairing by themselves on the brown wrapping or with another solid color of bow.

Also, these gifts incorporate some gorgeous leaves detail, which I would recommend finding in nature or on a fake bouquet from the dollar store, which you won’t need to worry about dying in any Christmas traveling.

And don’t miss the adorable gift tags! All you would need to do is cut small rectangles of the black poster board and write with the white-out pen or white paint pen a Christmas phrase in cursive calligraphy font on one side and the To and From on the other. Looks amazing!

Lastly, the tiny Christmas lights and tree ball details tied into the ribbon are an excellent touch and also something you can find for less than a dollar. Which brings us to the next style!

Idea #5

Brown Paper with Red and White Bows and Ornaments

Source: The Idea Room

This style looks gorgeous either with brown paper or plain old white paper. If you have a small gift you can use a simple piece of 8.5×11 printer paper, or if it is too large you can upgrade to a sheet of 11×17 paper. Or if you prefer the brown paper, go for that!

All you need to accomplish this style is some pretty red and white striped ribbon and red ribbon. You may be able to find this at a dollar store or Walmart for cheap, but if you would rather find it quickly online you can do that here.

Grosgrain Ribbon -Red and White Stripes 7/8″ Wide – 5 Yards

The large Christmas string light or tiny branch of leaves is the perfect touch on these. For some reason, it really takes them to the next level aesthetically. Your receiver won’t even realize that it took you five minutes to put it together! I wouldn’t believe it myself, I only do because I have added details like this and it truly is a breeze once you find the object you want to incorporate.

Idea #6

Simple Colored Burlap

Source: MissKay DIY
I don’t think I need to explain this one much, but I’ll give you a few pointers on where to find the beautiful colored burlap. This burlap can be used for many other crafts as well, but I think it is a fun and unexpected touch on Christmas presents.

I was lucky enough to find this particular bright blue burlap at the dollar store, but I believe it was during the spring season. Therefore I am guessing that you may need to look at Walmart, or you can find a bunch of colors in bulk on Amazon here.

Burlap Ribbon Roll Arts Crafts Supplies Wedding Party Baby Shower Decoration Set of 11 Color

Idea #7

Flowers and Twine

Source: MissKay DIY

Here is an easy and pretty way to add a pop of color and interest to your present. It’s also very inexpensive! You can buy a dozen tiny flowers for a dollar, and they can be any kind that you find the prettiest. Just tie some twine around the box (I like the look of two strands so I fold it in half and then tie it around in one direction) and tie the flowers into it. Tie a final bow and bam! Adorable.

Idea #8

Newspaper Wrapping

Source: DIY Weddings Magazine

Source: Vita Villa Villa

Yet again it is pretty self-explanatory, but still fun to see what you can do with some free paper. Just find another bow that you like, whether that be colored, light brown or black. A broche in the middle is a nice touch if you have one laying around you want to sacrifice for the good of Christmas-kind.
And there you have it. There are so many unbelievably adorable ways to wrap gifts to your friends and family (or a boss you want to impress, perhaps?) that don’t include a speck of fancy wrapping paper or expensive or time-consuming details. You truly can create the flawless creations you have seen on Pinterest, and I promise that if you do them all in one fell swoop, it will be a quick and fun process. And hey, if you have some friends that want to reach this gift-wrap level, make a wrapping party out of it like my friends and I did last year! Put all of your supplies in a pool in the middle and go nuts. It’s so worth it.

Gifts may not be the reason for the season, but they sure can add a touch of magic to someone’s Christmas. Okay, I’m done with the holiday sappiness. Be sure to subscribe in the sidebar menu for more creations on a small budget every week!