4 Tips for Gift Wrapping With Basic Brown Paper

Have fun wrapping with brown paper. Mix and match, experiment with embellishments and color. Make it your own! (photos by Bob Farley)

Can’t find the perfect wrapping paper this Christmas? Never fear, brown paper is here. Brown paper is the best wrapping paper! It is nice and simple, cheap and easy to find, and it is tough enough to hold up in transport. Versatile in presentation, you can dress it up, and you can tone it down. I use whatever I have available when the season rolls around to adorn the gifts — ribbon, fabric strips, twine, etc. I make homemade tags by hand stamping cardboard or heavy paper stock to apply the final touch. No matter where I deliver the gifts, the recipients always know which wrap job is mine.

Here are a few of my wrapping tips:

1) Use leftover canvas from curtains, fabric backdrop, or painters drop cloths, and stitch with bright red thread (or not). Stitching the strips will control the fraying and add color. If you do not have time to stitch, just simply fray the edges a bit and trim before tying onto the package. Denim, twill, or quilting fabrics work well too. If the strips are not long enough, stitch or tie them together for increased length.

2) Make homemade paper tags by stamping a design onto card stock, cutting around the design, and punching a hole in the top of the tag. You can design and carve your own stamp or buy one. I bought a stamp kit ten years ago but I lost it in the closet and found it again the other day. If you don’t have a stamp, draw a picture, use a decorative paper stamp, or print out a fun design or photograph and glue to the tag. Fun and colorful designs from beer packaging works well too.

3) Zigzag stitch twine for an alternative embellishment. Red, green, or any other bright colored thread will add pop to an otherwise simple utilitarian string. Cut to length and knot the ends to keep the thread from unraveling.

4) Make your own envelopes with brown paper or lunch sacks. Roll and fold around the gift for a custom fit. Pinch the end, fold it in, and using the hole punch, punch holes (two or more) side by side. Ask a friend to hold the pinch in place while you weave twine through and tie it off to close.

Hand-stamped tags, stitched twine or fabric strips dress up brown paper wrapping and add unique touches.

Discover more creative and unexpected ways to wrap using brown paper and other easy-to-find materials in this photo gallery. And tell us, what are your favorite gift wrapping tips?

4 Responses

  1. It's really really creative ideas, effortless yet interesting.

  2. DCG Pac says:

    I Think Brown paper is the best wrapping paper! It is nice and simple, cheap and easy to find. We can make our gift wrapping more impressive using some colorful ribbons.

  3. Katthy 22 says:

    Loved the idea of wrapping using natural items like shells. Adds a touch of class and a personal touch. Great ideas. Thanks for the post.

  4. La Torpille says:

    I love the zigzag-edged fabric strips!


About Michelle Reynolds 


I’m a slipcover maker who refuses to fill the trash with the cutaway bits of designer fabrics, so I strive to make use of every scrap. I live with my ...

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