What do we do with all the leftover gift-wrapping paper?
December 23, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

According to last years poll, a billion Christmas cards were sent in the United Kingdom alone. 17 for every man, woman and child. And the majority were tossed in the bin after the holidays. If we think of all the gifts we receive and their packaging, imagine how much paper, ribbons and boxes will end up in the trash! However, there are many things we can do to recycle this and have a great time in doing so. Here, at The Toy Blog, we wrote about how we can help protect our environment. Today, we´d like to share some tips on creative crafts we can make at home with all the leftover paper.


The prestigious online design magazine Inhabitat, whose leif motif is “Design for a better world”, suggests we do the following: recycle used paper in the corresponding bin or shred it to use as a filler the next time you send something fragile. Shredded paper can also be used to wrap your Christmas ornaments after the holidays and protect them. Pets such as rabbits or hamsters love to have a soft floor to play on and shredded paper is a good solution.

If you don´t have pets of this kind at home or you simply refuse to throw the gift wrapping paper away, even if it´s to be recycled, there are plenty of arts & crafts you and your children can make. This type of activity will not only help develop their fine motor skills and coordination but will also help them express themselves and search for creative ways of having fun.

Paper Mache

Creatures, animals, figures or piñatas. There are plenty of things you can do employing the paper mache technique. If you want to learn how to do paper mache at home, follow these simple instructions.  Would your children like to make a hat out of paper mache? How about a heart, a plate or a mask? Here are some tutorials created especially for the little ones.

Drawing Paper, Origami and Collage

At home, it seems as though children are always asking for paper to draw on or colour. The backside of gift-wrapping paper is a good option. If you gather several and staple them together, you´ll end up with a great notepad. Ideal for writing lists of things to do too.  But if your children are looking to do for something really surprising and new, why not introduce them to the fabulous world of origami? Did you know that it takes less than 2 minutes to make an envelope with origami? Here, you´ll be able to find videos and tutorials for beginners and experts alike.

You can also download your favourite templates, print them and follow the instructions offered here. Boxes, flowers, figures, animals and much more.

If you didn´t have the chance to read our post titled “Shall we make a Collage?” we encourage you to do so. You´ll learn about all the benefits this type of activity has including boosting your self-esteem, self-expression and curiosity.

Paper Boxes

Help your kids get organized. Boxes make great school supply containers. They can even store their toys in them. Make use of the boxes your gifts came in and wrap them with the leftover paper. It´s a very easy craft. You just need a cardboard box, wrapping paper, glue, a ruler, a pair of scissors and these instructions.

You could also help them make book covers. Show them how with this tutorial.


Confetti and Paper Yo-yos

Before New Years Eve, encourage tour children to make confetti with shredded paper. What about a beautiful handmade garland to hang in the living room?  Visit this page to learn how.

If your kids are looking to make a toy, they can make a fun yo-yo with recycled paper. Remember to supervise your children while making it as this crafts requires the use of scissors.

Does your Christmas tree or home need another ornament? Kids can make stars and angels with paper. Get inspired here.

Lining Drawers and Shelves

To start off 2015 anew, what better plan than to line your drawers or shelves with beautiful recycled paper? They show you how here.

What about the leftover paper rolls from the gift-wrapping tubes?  The rolls of cardboard paper that one discovers after using the gift-wrap can also be recycled. Encourage your children to make cute containers to store their pencils and crayons. They can also make fun animals and figures for impromptu theatre.

Did you enjoy these ideas? After the holidays, what will you do with all the leftover boxes and gift-wrapping paper?

Photo Credits: Permacultured

Photo Credits: Steve Snodgrass


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