Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Lead Image

Whether you’re in need of holiday wrapping paper, birthday gift wrap, or unique packaging for someone special, DIY wrapping paper can add the personal touch that turns a present into a gift.

The best way to start your DIY wrapping paper process is by looking around the house to see what you already have. Large desk calendars, old newspaper, cardstock, Kraft paper, and other miscellaneous items might just surprise you with how great they look when turned into wrapping paper. You can also look around the house for items like Popsicle sticks, string, soda caps, and old erasers—even tinsel strands can come in handy when you’re getting crafty with your gift wrap.

Stamp it Up

Take a simple base paper and stamp it with your basic acrylic paint for some fun, unique patterns and shapes. The trick to creating wrapping paper that stands out is getting creative. Find objects like Popsicle sticks, wine caps, erasers, foliage, or even chunks of fruit, and dip them in paint to create your own stamp. First, test the stamp out on a sample paper and then, once you’ve perfected the shape, go to town on your wrapping paper.

a hand applying red heart stamps to brown paper

You can also create a customized stamp with a potato and a knife. Cut the potato in half and carve the raw side of potato with the shape you want to be stamped jutting out of the potato. Then simply use the potato as you would any other stamp. It may take a minute to figure out the best way to carve up the potato, so you may want to have a few extra on hand. Our secret potato stamp hack? Use cookie cutters on the raw side of the potato to help you create a fun, clean stamp shape.

Splatter Paint

Similar to the stamped paper, all you need for splatter painted wrapping paper is a base paper and some acrylic paint. Lay your base paper out and dip a medium-size paintbrush into paint liberally. Splatter the paint across the paper by swinging your arm or flicking the paintbrush. Try standing closer and further from the paper, and at different angles, to achieve different splatter patterns. Whether you go full Pollock or keep it simple, let the paper dry for about two hours before you use it.

If the simple splatters don’t feel festive enough, try adding a fun gift tag or bow. You can use a strand of tinsel, a fun ribbon, or even a cut section of a plastic grocery sack to tie up the package and give it some fun personalization.

Printable Paper

If you don’t have time to splatter or stamp, printing might prove prudent. There are several places online with free printable wrapping paper patterns and the best place to search for them is Pinterest or Etsy. Printable wrapping paper works best on a lightweight, but sturdy base paper. If you have recycled paper, this texture works great for wrapping paper and absorbs the ink quite well. Printable wrapping paper only works for smaller packages though, because you must be able to wrap it with one sheet of paper to get a seamless look. If you have a typical printer, the largest you can print at home is an 8.5x14 (legal paper). If you want to print any larger, you'll need to go to a specialty print shop.

hands tying sparkly ribbon on a gift wrapped in green with holiday greens nearby

If you want to make printable wrapping paper a little more DIY-ish, try creating your own design on the computer and printing it out. If you are working with a small enough paper, you won't need to make the design seamless.

Bubbled Wrap

Not to be confused with your handy, dandy packing material, you can make a fun DIY wrapping paper with actual bubbles. You will need sixty-pound paper, bubble solution, and food coloring. Take your paper and lay it on a flat surface. Then take your bubble solution and dump about a half cup into a clear container and add in a generous amount of food coloring.

You'll want the bubble solution to be fairly dark. Take your bubble wand and blow different sized bubbles onto the paper. As the colorful bubbles land and pop, they leave behind a unique texture and pattern. After you’re done with the bubbles, let the paper dry for about two or three hours.

a present wrapped in newspaper with gold ribbon and bow

Newspaper

You may think of newspaper wrapping as a last-minute, gag-gift wrapping paper, but there is a fun way to class it up. A big part of using newspaper or magazines to wrap gifts in is to be just a little more earth-conscious, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and cute as well. When selecting the section of the paper to use, avoid ads or sections of the paper with lots of pictures.

Usually, the best portion to wrap with is a simple section covered in words. You can personalize the wrapping by specifically selecting a section of the paper based on the likes and interests of the person receiving the gift. You can also let the bow on the package take center stage by picking a paper section that's nice and simple.

As a word of caution, newspaper can bleed onto your hands and anything you are wrapping, so make sure that whatever you are wrapping is covered by a box or a layer of tissue paper.

Now that you’re a wrap master, it’s time to start crafting your next great gift. And if DIY wrapping paper doesn’t quite seem like your thing, maybe give gift baskets a go!