Whether you live in Ecuador or not, don’t spend big bucks on gift wrapping this holiday season. I promise you don’t have to.
In fact, you can have more fun and make a more lasting impression on friends and family by packaging from trash you have cluttering your house—stuff that can be up-cycled into simply smashing wrapping.
Did you know that over the Christmas holiday Americans generate 25% more trash than they do on an average week? It’s sad but true.
However, if you wrap with trash to begin with, you not only save money by not buying paper and ribbon, you can help make the planet itself a happier place, as well.
Last year I did a similar post that focused on using recycled trash available in US. This year I’ll use scraps I’ve found in Ecuador, also.
(Note: In Cuenca we don’t have mail delivered to our home, so here I replace the junk mail I might wrap with in the US, with flyers handed out on the street. Wherever you live, you will have the kind of trash listed below that you, too, can transform into fantastic packaging.)
Some of the supplies you might need/want:
- Maps, junk mail, or fliers
- Bottle caps
- Popsicle sticks
- Decorative duct tape
- Green painters’ tape (even masking tape, perhaps)
- Recycled red ribbon (or any other color you like)
- Hot glue gun
- Buttons (any color you have)
Below are instructions for wrapping a gift with trash found in Ecuador. (Following that are step-by-step instructions for doing something similar in the US.)
Step 1 for Ecuador Project
Salvage a flyer you might have been handed on the street and make it the paper you wrap around the outside of your gift.
Step 2 for Ecuador Project
Use recycled red (or any other color) ribbon to decorate.
Step 3 for Ecuador Project
I added a strip of Japanese paper tape. (I’ve seen some in the local, Coral Super Market.) You can also use an additional piece of ribbon.
Step 4 for Ecuador Project
I added a piece of green painter’s tape in the opposite direction. You can use duct tape, also. (It’s available at Coral in many colors.) If you have neither of these, try a scrap of green ribbon.
Step 5 for Ecuador Project
I recycled popsicle sticks, painted them green, and used them to create a star. (You can find pre-painted popsicle sticks at Coral for a few cents a piece.) I drilled holes in my sticks and screwed them together. However, you can also use a hot glue gun to assemble your star. Or you can put holes in them using a hammer and nail, if you don’t have a drill.
Step 6 for Ecuador Project
Next, I attached the lid from a beer bottle to the green star, flattening and “ruffling” the lid’s edges using needle-nose pliers and a hammer. I drilled a hole in the lid so I could screw it onto the star. You could also use a nail to hammer a hole in the beer cap, or you could attach it to the star using a hot-glue gun. (Note: In Ecuador, the lid from a “Pilsener” beer bottle would work just as well. I happened to have these Heineken caps from when I was in the US.)
Step 7 for Ecuador Project
I recycled a red, plastic lid for the base of my “star” and drilled a hole in it. You can hammer a hole in it using a small nail, as well. You can then screw the star to the red lid, or you can use a hot-glue gun to attach it.
Step 8 for Ecuador Project
I added red dimension to my star (or flower petals) by cutting the ends off of wooden “spoons,” painting them red, and gluing them to the green popsicle sticks. (In Cuenca, you can recycle these “spoons” from ice cream sold in Parque Calderon.)
Step 9 for Ecuador Project
I, finally, applied tabs from Coke cans to the red pieces of wood. I used Elmer’s glue I happened to have on hand; you could use a hot-glue gun here, as well.
Step 10 for Ecuador Project
Attach the completed star to the gift using a hot-glue gun or wire.
Next, I’ve included instructions for doing a similar kind of project in the US.
Find an out-of-date atlas or any other kind of map you might have discarded as no longer useful.
Cut the map to size and wrap as you would any other paper.
Use duct tape as ribbon.
Add green painters’ tape and recycled red ribbon from last Christmas.
Hot glue popsicle sticks to create a star.
Decorate the star with green buttons.
Hammer the edges of a discarded coke cap flat to create a ruffled look.
Hot glue the coke cap to the center of the star.
Hot glue a discarded, screw-on coke cap to the underside of the star to give it height and dimension.
Hot glue the completed star to the center of your package.
Try your own extreme gift wrapping. You, too, can be package-proud and planet-friendly this holiday season.
Have you done any extreme gift-wrapping, yourself? What’s the most unexpected item you have ever used to wrap a gift?