Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper

Making Christmas wrapping paper with natural materials

For recyclable Christmas wrapping paper that looks personal and is eco friendly, why not use natural elements from the garden? Words Ali Bell, photographs Jason Ingram

Finding Christmas wrapping paper can often seem like a throwaway, last minute job. But getting a generic two-for-one roll from the shop is not great for the environment, especially when it’s unlikely to be eco friendly Christmas wrapping paper. And when there’s so much of it discarded after use, that’s definitely not great.

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What’s more, a gift can feel so much more special if you’ve spent time on its wrapping. Everyone loves receiving a present in immaculate Christmas wrapping, all bound up with with charm and style.

Below are several suggestions for how to make Christmas wrapping paper, and most of the elements are fully recyclable which makes most of these suggestions recyclable Christmas wrapping paper too. It will make the underneath of your Christmas tree feel all the more tantalising and special. Let’s not forget that making your eco friendly Christmas wrapping paper is also a lot of crafty fun.

If you don’t have all the same plants as the below, why not improvise and replace with some you do have to hand? It’s all about appreciating what’s out there in the natural world and making sure things don’t go to waste. Each of these Christmas wrapping paper ideas can be used with any paper you like – but make sure it’s recyclable, or better yet, compostable, so it can all go straight on the compost heap.

For more Christmas inspiration and decoration ideas, why not try to make a Christmas wreath, or bake some Christmas biscuits. Looking for Christmas gardening gifts to go inside your wrapping paper? Try our bumper Christmas gift guide for gardeners. 

How to make Christmas wrapping paper

Festive foliage Christmas wrapping paper

Bound foliage wrapping paper

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

After wrapping your Christmas present in brown or red kraft paper, use a natural jute cord to bind evergreen foliage in place in an attractive way. Use textured leaves, such as Viburnum rhytidophyllum, or classic and tactile Christmas evergreens, such as Pinus sylvestris.

Thuja wreath

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Make a circle from covered florists wire. Using a glue gun attach ten pieces of Thuja plicata, with each piece overlapping, until all the wire is covered. Loop baker’s twine around opposite sides of the wreath and tie securely at the base of the package. Repeat, looping the twine at the top and bottom and again secure in place. A beautiful Christmas wrapping paper decoration.

Pine needle tassels

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Select a few tips of Pinus pinea, which have long, elegant needles, and strip into two equal-sized bundles. Secure with a band, then bind with natural coloured bindwire, creating a hanging hook. Tie to your gift using more bindwire, making a bow for decoration. This should add extra texture an scent to your Christmas wrapping paper.

Scented herb bags

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Make folded brown bags out of kraft paper. Add your gift and fold over the top, punching in eyelets with a punch plier. Tie jute bows through the holes and decorate with dried kumquat wreaths or herb posies of thyme, rosemary and bay. Christmas wrapping paper never smelled so good.

Sparkling Christmas wrapping paper ideas

Glittery pine cone flowers

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Spray a gift box gold and wrap with silk ribbon. Glue six Larix decidua cones in a star shape and fix one more in the centre. Add six Alder cones into the gaps created. Spray sparingly with gold glitter. Attach to the ribbon, along with pressed Hedera helix leaves. Once you’ve used the boxes for one Christmas, you can use them again and again.

Gold leaves

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Guild sections of leaves or other plant material, using imitation gold leaf. First apply acrylic gold size to the leaf, let it dry for 15 minutes, then add the gold leaf using a dry brush or tweezers. A simple but beautiful homemade Christmas wrapping paper.

Macramé bottle with gold pine cone tassel

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Cut seven lengths of jute twice the height of your bottle, fold in half and attach to a smaller length that will tie to the neck of your bottle. Space evenly to give seven paired strands and knot the strands together making diamond shapes and tie off ends. Attach gold-sprayed Picea abies cones to the jute using brass eye screws. An easy way of wrapping all the infusions you’ve been making throughout the year.

Sprayed gold foliage for Christmas wrapping paper

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Soak Pteridium aquilinum leaves in a solution of one part glycerin to two parts water for two to six days. This preserves the leaf and adds flexibility and strength, so it can be sprayed gold and attached to a gift. Similarly preserved Acer palmatum leaves can be added to kraft paper to make a dramatic patterned Christmas wrapping paper.

Sticking power

Natural names

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Use large letter templates to attach over birch bark or Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ leaves, then cut out with a scalpel. Use as gift tags and finish with a rosette made of photocopied vintage maps as rosettes for your Christmas wrapping paper.

Herbalist pillow boxes

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Using a template, cut box shapes from photocopied vintage botanical prints. Score and fold into shape. Bind in baker’s twine and decorate with tiny brass jingle bells.

White card poinsettia for Christmas box decoration

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram

Cut a circle out of card along with eight large petals, eight medium petals and eight small ones. Fold in half lengthways and starting with the largest petals, stick them on to the circle using a glue gun, evenly spaced. Finally, wire some gold glittery beads together for the central cyathium. Looks good used to decorate a round Christmas box.

Botanical bunting

Christmas wrapping paper: making Christmas wrapping paper
© Jason Ingram
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Using a hole-punch create circles from the left-over materials. Either group them together, or place them in sequence. Machine sew them together leaving about a finger’s width between the circles. Wrap around presents as you would a ribbon.

Head to our Christmas hub for more inspiration