Every year 4.6 million pounds (2.1 million kilograms) of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. and about half of it ends up in landfills. While most wrapping paper is recyclable, some styles use glitter and other chemicals to create a shiny or matte effect and can't be recycled. It also can't be recycled if it's got Scotch tape on it.
You could save unused (and even used) wrapping paper for next year's gift-giving, but that's not the only thing you can do with it. Here are 9 creative ways to upcycle your leftover Christmas wrapping paper this holiday season:
1. Make Paper Bows
No gift is complete without a festive bow to top it off. If you don't have one, you can easily turn leftover wrapping paper into a gorgeous bow. Feel free to experiment and come up with something all your own or try one of these DIY paper bow tutorials.
2. Make a Pen Holder
Whether you have a desk at work or a home office, you need a pen or pencil holder to organize your collection of writing instruments. With leftover wrapping paper you can say goodbye to boring pen cups and hello to delightful holiday-themed office decor. Decorate your pen holder with some wrapping paper and a little hot glue to hold it together or repurpose old tin cans dressed up with holiday wrapping paper.
3. Turn Paper into Confetti
Paper confetti has a variety of uses, and extra wrapping paper is perfect for creating it. Just run some Christmas gift wrap through a paper shredder, then sprinkle it over the table or mantel for decoration. You can also use put confetti around boxes of cookies and other treats you might be shipping to friends and family to make the package more festive.
4. Make a Paper Wallet
Make shopping for gifts a little more Christmas-y with a wallet made from leftover wrapping paper. WikiHow has directions for three styles of paper wallets, including one for bitcoin. You'll likely be spending a lot of money this holiday season, so you might as well have a fun place to stash some of it!
5. Safely Store Fragile Decorations
After the season is over, instead of throwing out used wrapping paper, use it to help protect ornaments and fragile decor from getting damaged in storage. Take your used holiday gift paper and wrap breakable ornaments with it or scrunch it between packed decorations for some extra cushioning.
6. Frame It
Some Christmas paper is too gorgeous to throw away. Break up walls of family photos with some holiday graphics or place a picture frame in the living room with your wrapping paper on display to infuse your home with the holiday spirit. You can even add embellishments to the artwork as you would to a present.
7. Create Paper Ornaments
This is a perfect craft for families with kids. Numerous videos and tutorials online teach viewers how to make all types of attractive paper ornaments and decorations. Even if you're not Martha Stewart you can still follow these decoration tutorials from House Beautiful to create something special for the tree or mantel this year.
8. Make Decorative Tray Liners
We know that your yummy holiday treats are delectable all on their own, but they'd look even more appealing in a festive setting. When entertaining this season, line your treat trays and cookie spreads with some leftover wrapping paper.
9. Design a Paper Christmas Tree
Looking for a last-minute centerpiece for your Christmas table setting? This cute homemade paper Christmas tree can be crafted using leftover wrapping paper for a truly unique design that could even put the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to shame.