Repurposed Kid-Made Wrapping Paper Ideas
Repurposed kid-made wrapping paper is a great project to encourage creativity and give a second use to materials.
The blank insides of cardboard boxes and brown grocery bags are perfect canvases for kid-made wrapping paper. Repurposing materials is not only a little better for our planet, it also gives us an opportunity to get creative and personalize our gifting.
Repurposed kid-made wrapping paper takes some advance planning – decorating the paper takes time (especially if using paint that needs to dry) and saving wrapping paper and ribbons requires storage.
Depending on the age of your kiddos, this wrapping paper will DEFINITELY look kid-made. Especially if the kiddos also help wrap the presents (an activity our kiddos love). Relatives usually appreciate the effort and we sometimes share with friends that the paper is kid-made with love to explain the mess (I mean art).
Creating wrapping paper means we can customize for the recipients. Our Disney-loving kiddos enjoy making Mickey wrapping paper for gifts to each other.
Looking for some gift ideas, check out our favorite kid craft kits for ages 5-7 or 5 great toddler gifts.
After the gifts are opened and the dust has settled, set up the kids with another stash of art supplies to create kid-made thank you cards.
Check out some more kid-art projects:
- Create Outdoors: Ideas for Kid Art on a Hike
- Elevate Kid’s Painting With a Bold Outline
- Ikea Kid’s Squeeze Paint Ideas
- Basic Needlepoint for Kids
Here are a few ideas for repurposed kid-made wrapping paper:
Materials for Repurposed Kid-Made Wrapping Paper
Re-Use Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags
Whenever possible, we save large pieces of wrapping paper from presents given to us, along with any gift bags and ribbons. When a gift needs wrapping, we check to see if there’s anything in the stash that will work. The only downside is having to store the wrapping goods.
We keep a supply of various sized cardboard boxes; flattened to reduce storage area.
When we’re ready to gift wrap, tear or use a utility knife to loosen the overlapped seam that holds the box together and flatten the box. Re-form the box with the writing on the inside and secure with hot glue or tape. With clean sides, the kids add decorations right to the box, eliminating the need for any wrapping paper.
Brown Paper Grocery Bag
Even though we take reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, we somehow end up with a HUGE supply of brown paper grocery bags. These make a great base for kid-made wrapping paper.
Cut along seams to flatten the bag and let the kiddos loose decorating the unmarked, inner side.
Another way we like to re-use brown paper grocery bags is for a DIY piñata.
Re-using fabric works best for family gifts, so the fabric can be saved and re-used. Check your fabric supply for medium or large pieces that aren’t earmarked for a project. Also consider saving old pillowcases and sheets. Try to avoid cutting fabric into smaller pieces; instead, fold fabric to reduce the size. Secure with regular plastic tape, which easily removes from the fabric.
Scrap Construction Paper
Construction paper projects often leave good sized remnants. Save those remnants to create multi-colored, original wrapping paper. Tape or glue remnants together to cover the gift, then add drawings or a hand-written greeting.
Newspaper or “Junk” Mail
There are lots of fun images in newspapers and junk mail. For sports fans, use the sports section. Comics are great too. We got lucky and found some snow photos – perfect for Christmas gifts!
Decorating Repurposed Kid-Made Wrapping Paper
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- washable project paint or acrylic craft paint
- washable stamp pad
- OOLY chunkies paint sticks
- OOLY presto chango erasable crayons
- OOLY unmistakables erasable colored pencils
- OOLY rainbow sparkle glitter markers
There’s really no limit to the number of ways to decorate the paper base materials (paper bags, cardboard boxes, or scrap construction paper). Start by setting up the workspace with some essentials for minimizing art mess – smocks, oilcloth tablecloths, paint palettes, and washcloths.
The vivid colors of bold markers and paint sticks show up great, even on brown paper. They also dry really fast, so this is a good method for same-day wrapping. Abstract designs and patterns work well for wrapping paper, since it gets folded up and around the gift.
We always love a chance to paint, but this requires some advance planning since the paint needs to dry before wrapping. Test the paints in advance on brown paper. With some thinner paints, the color dulls against the brown. Generally, acrylic craft paint works well (but isn’t washable so make sure to protect the work surface and kiddos’ clothes).
Our kiddos are huge fans of stamping, especially the ancient stamps I saved from my teen stamp phase.
Homemade stamps are a lot of fun and may work better with paint instead of a stamp pad. We’ve used all sorts of random objects like LEGO Duplo blocks and plastic animals (they make adorable footprints). If using an object you want to keep paint-free, use washable paint and clean the object as soon as the kids are finished painting.
DIY stamps are easy to make from old corks, but will need an adult to make the stamp. Use a craft knife to cut a shape into the top of a cork, then sand to get a smooth and flat stamping surface. We’ve made stars, hearts, and letters.
This year, we stamped Mickey Mouse heads using two different sized stamps. The “magic” ratio of ears to head is 3:5.
Nature objects also make wonderful stamps. Go on an outdoor stroll and pick up acorns, leaves, sticks, or rocks.
Give them a quick clean to remove dirt and let dry. Dip the object in paint or use a brush to apply the paint. Then apply to the paper or box.
We don’t add ribbons for gifts outside our family very often, unless we have some previously used ribbons hanging around from prior gifts. For family gifts (where I’ll be able to save and re-use the ribbon), we decorate with fabric ribbon – the kind usually used for sewing projects.
For a little extra pizzazz, add fresh greens or flowers (best for gifts that will be opened soon after wrapping). Cinnamon sticks, candy canes, and construction paper gift tags are also cute and have a longer shelf-life.
Let us know how your repurposed kid-made wrapping paper turned out!