brown paper packages tied up with… handmade bows and leftover ribbon?

In past years, I have always gone overboard buying pretty gift wrap for Christmas. Of course, a $5 roll of gift wrap usually wraps 3 or 4 gifts before disappearing, so I have always ended up spending $30 or so just on gift wrap, bows and ribbon each year. This year, while carefully budgeting our money, I decided to get a bit creative and save some dough while still having some pretty little packages to sit under the tree.

I started out with these DIY instructions from How About Orange on making bows from magazine pages (or any other scrap paper you may have lying around). I grabbed an old Glamour magazine (say hi to SJP!) and got to work.

I tried to pick pages with bold colors or prints — mostly ads that had less words and more images. Working with the easy-to-follow instructions, I got down to business and had a handful of pretty bows in no time at all. (Okay… about an hour or so later.)


I had also asked Nick to pick up some basic brown postal wrap from our local hardware store. One roll of 75 square feet (30″ wide) was only $2.50! Several wrapped gifts later, we still have plenty of paper left to spare. Using the brown paper along with satin ribbon I already had on-hand from some invitation and stationery projects in the past, I wrapped each gift and topped it off with a handmade ribbon.

I also printed out some blank tags using ivory card stock I already had. I printed them so they’d have a little brown circle on which I could punch a hole to make it look like a vintage tag, but you could cut any paper down to 3.5″ x 2″ pieces and cut angled edges on one side. I hand-wrote each tag with colorful markers to coordinate with each bow.

Total cost for all of our gift wrapping this Christmas: $2.50. I’d say that’s a big “win”!

Merry Christmas wrapping to you :-)


  1. how awesome! what an great idea! i'm totally stealing this for next Christmas.. and maybe a bunch of birthdays until then :)

  2. Wow! If you didn't say that you made those bows I would never have guessed! They are AWESOME. I've been saving the comic pages from the Sunday paper and I'll be using that to wrap my son's gifts (he loves the funnies). Should be cute. I'll try those handmade bows next year too. :)

  3. Your bows turned out so pretty!!! Love this idea… I am bookmarking for next year :)

  4. Where did you find the tags? That's what I wanted this year, but wasn't sure where to look.

  5. Hi Marty,

    As I mentioned above, I actually made the tags :-) I printed full 8.5×11 sheets of ivory card stock with cutting guides (each tag is 3.5" x 2", the same size as a standard business card) and brown circles, because I wanted that "vintage" look. Once printed, I cut the tags down to size, punched holes on each brown circle and voila! – gift tags. Could easily be done without any printing involved if you're not set on having the brown circle to look more like a vintage tag.

  6. oops, thanks. Guess I got too busy looking at your great photos! -Marty

  7. ooooh I looove! This will make brian so happy since he just realized this year how much I spend on wrapping!

  8. Super cute! I'll have to bookmark this for next year or for some birthday gifts this year.

Comments are closed.