IT’S A WRAP: Gift Wrapping for the DIY Guy


You’ve found the perfect what? I don’t know about you, but it’s the wrapping part I don’t enjoy so much. We may not take as much pride in an impeccably wrapped gift box as our female counterparts, but it’s a necessary evil in order to deliver the surprise. Some of us don’t have the time or resources––and others just don’t have a creative bone to pull off something unique. Either way, we’ve put together some ideas you can work with.  You’ll be surprised at what you can do with a few items around the house.


Maybe you’re not a fan of battling the crowds in your nearby superstore. Maybe you thought you had some leftover wrapping paper. Or maybe you’d prefer to save a tree.

Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered with some last-minute saves and wrapping-paper replacements.

We’re all too familiar with the wrapping paper backup of choice: newspaper. My go-to was always the comics section, which is colorful and fun for kids’ gifts. Plus, it doesn’t get any easier than slapping some tape against a classic scene. However, you might appear more worldly with the international news section or, better yet, wrap with a map. You can even tap into some nostalgia if you select an area you’ve visited with family or friends. But, if you don’t have an old map under the seat of your car, and don’t subscribe to the daily paper anymore, aluminum foil is perfect for small boxes or odd-sized gifts (plus, it doesn’t require tape). You can also rely on the old standby––a brown paper bag.  Just like a classic white shirt, you can dress it up with the right accessories to deliver a classy look. Speaking of shirts, yes, you can even wrap with a shirt. You’ll get the best look with a crisp, button-down shirt, but you can go with just about any style––you just need long sleeves to tie at the ends to keep the wrap from unraveling. If you don’t have enough slack to tie it, you can also secure the sleeves with a binder clip or a spring clamp. Another unique idea is to encase a bottle of wine with a shirt sleeve, complete with cufflinks. Just cut the sleeve from the body of the shirt, slip over the wine bottle and gather with a pin or tape at the base. If done right, this method will even impress your crafty sister-in-law.


If you’re in a bind or just want to get a bit creative with your wrapping, you can substitute tape with a number of alternatives found at home. The easiest replacement is clear packing tape, that still serves the purpose of an inconspicuous adhesive. You can also use a roll of trusty duct tape. This definitely takes away from your overall presentation and gives the feeling of “it’s the thought that counts”. After all, it is the thought that counts, right? Duct tape has experienced a resurgence recently, becoming a trend in the world of school supplies, so you can find some fun patterns and colors if you are stuck on this method. You can also find masking tape in a variety of colors. But if you’re really looking to work with what you have, a no-brainer is painter’s tape. Most come in blue to add a bit of color to your gift wrap. To make your taping strategy appear intentional, you can add additional tape across the package to serve as a makeshift ribbon. Other ribbon replacements include measuring tape, extension cords or zip ties.


The standard finish on a gift is the ribbon, but unless you have a craft cabinet to raid, you wouldn’t know the first place to even find gift ribbon. The simple replacement for such ribbon would be to wrap your gift in twine. However, if you’ve gone down the newspaper or paper bag route for wrap, you might want to add some color or interest. For small packages, tie a bright colored shoe lace into a bow. If you want to get really creative, use a belt across the package and buckle at the top. For a more formal look, the same would go for suspenders or a tie (extra long ties work best and are available at DXL…hint, hint). All of these options are masculine, yet easy to execute. They also add more value to the gift and could be a part of the gift itself (if you are giving your dad a tie, you can use it to wrap another gifted item).

For gift tags, there’s no easier solution than the ol’ sticky note. You can also personalize the gift with an old photo and writing a thoughtful note. Or add some color with a paint sample strip and cut it into a simple shape like a tree. For a ready-made tag, repurpose your tree-shaped air freshener by Little Trees, in Royal Pine scent, of course.

The trick to keeping your gifts from looking like an afterthought is to pick a color palette and stick to it. Select no more than three colors and opt for solid hues with complementary ribbon. If you’re willing to get a bit creative, no one will notice that you dug up all your wrapping supplies from the basement.

So, what did we miss? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever used to wrap a gift? Tell us in the comments section.

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