Tips and Hacks for Sustainable Gift Wrapping

Posted by Samantha Lawson, Dec 11, 2020

Tips and Hacks for Sustainable Gift Wrapping

This year we have all been reflecting about the small things we can swap out to live more sustainably, and this festive season we are a little bit obsessed with replacing landfill-bound paper that can’t be recycled. This is about sitting down with a glass of wine and your festive playlist on repeat, with super easy hacks you can add to make your brown paper or fabric look totally pro. We enlisted The Gift Wrapping Queen Jane Means (@janemneans) for help, get wrapping with her tips here and share your creations with us at @neomorganics.

Add texture

Brown paper is a go-to for recyclable wrapping, but it doesn’t have to look like a post office creation. It’s super durable so you can be really creative: for a simple way to add interest and also re-use paper that might be a little past its best, scrunch it up really tightly into a ball, then unfurl and lay flat. Voila, texture!

Speaking of looking pro, pleating is also super-effective once you get the hang of it. This works best when you’re wrapping a box, so save it for your books and NEOM candles or gift boxes. The technique:

1. First make sure you cut your paper to the right size. For a cube box, you want to end up with a rectangle sheet of paper, which is just wide enough to fold up to about halfway up your box, and with about a hand-span of extra paper on the length.

2. Place your paper wrong-side up, and take one short end. Fold it over about two-fingers’ width, making a nice sharp crease. Fold this over twice more, and then unfurl it. You should have some nice sharp fold lines that are equally spaced.

3. Flip the paper right-side-up, and pinch the crease nearest the middle of the paper at each end, folding it back on itself, halfway towards the next line. Repeat with the other two creases, so you have a pleated effect at one end of your paper.

4. With the paper wrong-side up again, place your box in the middle and fold the end with the pleats over the top of the box, so you can position them nicely. Then bring the other end of the paper up, folding it under the pleated section. The more you make sharp folds, the easier your paper will stay in place without Sellotape. Add some twine and decorations, and you’ll be crowned star wrapper!

gift wrap

Loop in some decorations

When tying up your parcels, before you tie a bow, thread in some natural decorations like dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, lavender, fir sprigs, pine cones or even twigs from one of your winter walks. Pine cones can be tricky, but if you push some twine into the cone and go round with it once, your decoration will stay secure.

Jane recommends writing your labels before you wrap and threading these on first so they lay flat underneath any other decorations you add.

Fabric tips

If you’re using fabric rather than brown paper, Jane has some super-easy hacks to take your wrapping from amateur to totally gorgeous. Firstly if you’re wrapping a box, pinch your fabric at the corners as you fold up each side over your box, to stop it bulging at the corners. For a professional-looking finish, take a few extra moments to pull a few threads out from each side of your fabric square so you get frayed edges that look lovely once they’re all tied up. Instead of tying your corners in a knot, you can tie them so they stick up like bunny ears, hello Easter tip!


Tie a bow like a pro

To cheat a bow with hessian or twine, take a length and wrap it around your fingers three times until you have a loop. Then pinch it in the middle so it looks a little like a figure eight, and simply tie it on to your gift.

If you’re using fabric ribbon, don’t feel constrained to tying your box in the middle, framing your gift is a lot easier than you’d think, and gives a super stylish finish. And when it comes to tying the actual bow, Jane’s number one tip is to check everything is in place before you tighten it. Are the loops equal size? Is all your ribbon the right way up? If you have any strands with the nicest side facing down then just flip them.

Fill a hamper

Why shouldn’t the inside of your gift look as good as the outside? Save the shredded paper from your NEOM orders because this makes brilliant, recyclable filling for any hampers or little gift boxes you’re putting together.

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