DIY Eco-friendly Gift Wrap from Books

Gift Wrap vs. Thrift Wrap: Give the Gift of Love and Sustainability this Christmas

I love Christmas so much, I don't know how I didn't get an honorary cameo in Elf. They lost my invite, I'm sure. Whatever.

I promised not to unload a bunch of terrifying statistics about how Americans celebrate Christmas, but if you want to read about our consumerism, click here. If you want to know how to reduce your impact and be the envy of every Secret Santa party, keep reading my loves.

Here's the point of the Christmas gift giving ritual: letting those you love know that you care. That's no small thing, and the wrapping of your gift does contribute to that tradition, in my opinion. 

But stop spending money on gift wrap, y'all! I won't go into it, because I love Christmas, but buying new paper to be thrown away in mass is silly when you can "Thrift Wrap" and make presents like this:


As previously mentioned, I'm a master of thrift. But I also was heavily influenced by my amazing aunt, Laurie Hitzig, and uncle, Larry Wilson, whose gift wrapping blew my mind as a child. And I vowed to carry that lesson of unique aesthetics forward, so I snagged these diamonds in the rough at the local thrift store:


Let's be clear: NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY THESE RELICS. No one wants a 2002 map of Great Britian or a Fortune-Telling birthday song book. Like, ever. 

But that doesn't mean they're destined for a landfill, y'all. Take that weird birthday song book. How adorable is it, as wrapping paper??


*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. This helps me offset the enormous amount of time that goes into Compost & Cava.

I love that the discoloration of the aging paper lends a sweet, nostalgic quality to the gift, and some simple embroidery thread, rosemary, and a cinnamon stick leftover from my DIY Home Scents post finish off the look... and I have to say, this might be the best smelling gift wrap I've come across! 

Tips and Tricks for Thrift Wrap:


The map made perfect wrapping for a flight attendant friend!

  • Have fun with it! Old cookbooks, magazines, and even romance novels will work beautifully. And your friends are going to love the story behind it!

  • Larger books mean larger sheets to work with, but don't let that put you off of a lovely little find - you'll just need a bit more tape during the wrapping process.

  • Wrapping a large package? Keep an eye out for soft cover pamphlet-style materials. It's super easy to pop the staples out of the middle, so you have even larger sheets to work with.

  • Throw in unusual accessories for added aesthetic oomph. I'm a sucker for holiday scents, so I'll grab an anise star, cinnamon stick, or rosemary sprig anytime!


The butterfly book is definitely the crown jewel of the group.

I didn't feel bad ripping it apart, because what you can't see is that the back side of each page only featured black and white illustrations, and no modern child is going to want a book of black and white butterflies. 

If you have the time and inclination, think outside the box! This one looks way more time intensive than it actually was. I cut out a handful of butterflies, folded them, dunked the edges in a puddle of glue and then a heap of glitter, and then double stick taped them to the box - without even letting them dry. The whole thing took about an extra 10 minutes, and I'm smitten with the results. 


This, however, is my all time favorite.

The Amazing Animals coloring book was filled with awesome, stylish illustrations! I have a weakness for lemurs that my oldest niece also shares, so this made the most perfect, personalized gift wrap for her. And that's not even the best part!


My favorite thing about this gift wrap is that she can actually play with her present and color on it in the days up until Christmas! How cool is that? I love that even the gift wrap is interactive, but also stimulates creativity in a unique and personal way. 

So hit the thrift store and get creative, my friends! 

It's fun for you, it's cheap, it makes your friends and family feel so loved, and it's an earth-friendly option! 

Not a thrifter? Check in at the beginning of next week for DIY brown bag wrapping paper! Teaser image below.