Leggi questo post in: Italiano
Welcome to the first installment of my Eco Gift Wrapping Guide! In my introduction to this series I mentioned my thrifty mother and how she would get the most out of any wrapping paper or materials that came her way. But her wrapped packages didn’t look as if they were from reused materials; they were always gorgeous! I quite honestly don’t generally have the patience to dress up my presents as nicely as she did, but I do use one of her techniques which is super quick and easy: making recycled gift tags from old greeting cards.
You of course don’t have to use cards for this, but any sort of upcyled card stock, so keep your eyes open for cool colors, pictures or graphics on postcards, cereal boxes or other packaging. Another thing you can do is make use of your children’s artwork. I know we all love to save our kids’ amazing creations, but I certainly can’t save every piece.
Watercolors or other paints on thicker watercolor paper is wonderful for this project. If not, you can always glue nice images on thinner paper onto the back of a cereal box to make it sturdy enough.
Ok, gather your materials: old cards (artwork, etc) without writing behind the picture, a hole punch, scissors and string/ribbon/twine.
Cut around the part of the card that you like. If there’s writing on the back of the card, glue it onto some other paper to cover it up before cutting. If you have fancy paper punches, that would make these look super cute. They’d be darling in regular circles, scallop edged circles, hearts, stars… but I have nothing of the sort, so I just cut them out with regular scissors. We’re going to be punching a hole in the cut shape, so be sure to leave a space for it.
Punch a hole in your shape.
Cut a piece of string, ribbon, twine or whatever you want to use to attach your tag to your gift. For medium or large tags, I’d suggest about 30 cm (12 inches) but you’ll probably want it shorter for smaller ones. Fold the string in half and tie a knot in the ends. Then slip the folded end into the hole in the tag.
Pull the folded end through so as to make a loop. Slip the knotted end through the loop and pull to tighten the knot on the tag.
Here you can see the difference in how it looks depending on what direction you slip the folded end through the hole. It was inserted from behind for the tag on the left, while for the one on the right it was inserted from the front. I actually prefer this second way, but it really doesn’t matter.
Now make a bunch more.
Write the name on the back of the tag, and it’s all ready!
Now let’s attach our tags to our gifts. I’ve already mentioned that I save all my old wrapping paper to wrap other gifts in, but another thing I often use to wrap gifts up with is Easter egg packaging. Here in Italy kids get gargantuan chocolate eggs with a surprise inside (like you can see at the end of this post). Usually they’re wrapped in shiny metallic wrapping which gets very wrinkled and therefore doesn’t look nice for wrapping larger gifts (the outer edges work well for smaller packages, though). But sometimes you will see eggs wrapped in that type of papery fabric that you often see used for reusable shopping bags. This type doesn’t hold the wrinkles and folds as well, so is fantastic for wrapping larger gifts. This one above, from an AltroMercato Easter egg, is one of our favorites and I’ve been using it for a few years. The ribbon was salvaged from a plant someone gave me. I just love blue and orange together, perhaps because, being an alum of Syracuse University, whose official color is orange usually paired with blue, I got that color combination drilled into my brain.
Anyway, I don’t cut up these pieces because they’re useful for medium-sized packages. I just wrap the piece around, hold the folded parts down (tape doesn’t stick to this type of fabric/paper), and wrap a ribbon around it to keep everything in place.
Slip the tag string under the ribbon and stick the tag through the loop. This is why you don’t want to make the tag string too short if you have a largish tag, or else it might not fit through.
If you want to hide the knot of the string around the ribbon, you’ll need to tie it around the ribbon knot before tying a bow. Now you have a pretty way to keep track of who each gift is to and from that makes your package look prettier… much more so than those preprinted adhesive tags or just scribbling a name on the paper. They’re also easy to remove from the package to save for the next occasion.
Let’s say you just want a quick tag or you know that the recipient will just throw it away along with the rest of the packaging. In these cases, I dig into my box of salvaged wrapping paper and ribbons and wrap up the gift normally. (In this case I used a real ribbon because I know I’ll get it back from the recipient. But in these situations I generally reuse plastic packing ribbon.) Then I just make a simple tag with a hole punched in it.
Tie the ribbon around the package and slip one end through the tag’s hole. If your ribbon is wide, just fold up the end enough to fit through the hole.
Slip the tag down towards the knot and tie a bow or curl the plastic ribbon over it. Easy peasy, right?
It just takes a few moments to make a pretty tag that adds color and character to your package. But the best part is that it doesn’t cost a cent, it uses only upcycled materials, and it can be used year after year! Except just a little suggestion to those of you with little children: you might want to make the simpler version of these tags that can be thrown away for gifts from Santa Claus or you child will get mighty suspicious of your saving them for next time. Just ask me how I know this…!! 😉
If you liked these recycled gift tags, make sure you check out the other great eco-friendly gift wrap ideas of the Cucicucicoo Eco Gift Wrap series!