This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and choose to make a purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. See our disclaimer/disclosure policy for more information.
Inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap can be a challenge but I have risen to the occasion many a time. There are many creative ways to wrap gifts! Yes, I have been the person who realized just as we are running out the door to a children's birthday party that not only did I not wrap the gift yet, but we have no wrapping paper.
Even the best organized homes can have those panic moments when you need to be somewhere first thing in the morning, your gift is bought and is ready to go and you just realized that there is not a scrap of suitable wrapping paper anywhere in the house.
Your choices are either wrap Uncle Edwards 65th birthday gift in bridal shower paper or think of something else pronto.
Here are a bevy of ideas for emergency wrapping paper using regular house hold items. Some of these are so clever they just might become your signature wrap.
Whatever you decide to use to wrap a gift the actual wrapping has to be superb. It doesn't matter if you are using $10 sheets of the highest quality wrapping paper, if your corners are sloppy, your folds crooked and your taping job a mess then presentation of the gift will look terrible.
You have to take the time to wrap a gift properly; do not try to do this on top of your car around the corner from the party. It takes about 15 minutes to wrap a small gift nicely, including adding the bow or ribbons, you have to add extra time if you are making the wrap, bows or ribbons (and even more time to run around the house looking for supplies).
Maps can be used to make inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap.
They can make wonderful wrapping paper especially if the person receiving the gift has a love of travel or the gift itself has something to do with travel.
It's more fun if you can use a map of an area that is relevant to them, like the area that they grew up or the country of their ancestry. If you don't have either of these don't panic, use what is available.
Try to position the wrapping so the front of the gift has the nicest part of the map. You can make ribbon from the edge numbers of the map as I did here and also make bows from the map.
The curly ribbon bow was done simply by cutting thin strips of map and curling them by pulling them across the edge of dull scissors.
Colored paper is the perfect for inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap.
It is great to use in a pinch for small gifts but you will have to double it up so it is not transparent.
It will be easier to wrap the gift twice other than to double up the paper because you will not get nice creases.
For larger gifts you will have to overlap the paper to get the size you need. Try to overlap in areas that won't show or that will be covered by ribbon.
To decorate you can use ribbon if you have it and make a bow of ribbon or use silk flowers for a bow or you could make a very simple bow using a strip of paper.
Newspaper, while this old trick has been around for a long time for inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap, most of the time it doesn't come off looking very good because there is no thought to it.
If you are giving a gift to someone who has dealing with the financial markets, or is at a stage where they are about to enter a more financial way of life then it can look clever if you use the stock market section of the paper as it has a very graphic look to it.
If they are looking for a new home or just moved into a new home then the classified ads could make nice wrapping or if they are into sports the page with the sports statistics.
Once again you can make curly bow from strips. If you have black ribbon or seam binding from your sewing box it can look very sophisticated on the newspaper. I made a little enclosure card by gluing newspaper on white paper with a glue stick, trimming it and folding it into a card.
Wallpaper is one of my favorite inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap.
This is best if you are using wallpaper that is not in your home currently. The wallpaper is much thicker than regular gift wrap so you will have to pay extra attention to make clean crisp edges.
If you have a box with a lid and a solid colored bottom then you could only wrap the lid or you could use plain paper and have the wallpaper go around the gift as an over-sized ribbon.
You will often find wallpaper in close outs if there is only one roll left or if the roll has been damaged in any way. Wallpaper that had been poorly printed will have the color fad to the edges and is virtually useless as a decorating medium, since no one looks at the edges of wrapping paper it would be ideal to use. Read Inexpensive Gift Wrapping Ideas Using Wallpaper.
White printer paper is always around for your inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap.
On its own this can look too sever and will just look like printer paper but if you print a design on it or the recipients name with a greeting this can look quite posh.
Try a swirly graphic, or an engraved style design. Polka dots (here is my Free Printable Polka Dot Gift Wrap) could also look fun. Like colored paper it is thin so you should wrap the gift twice, once in plain paper and then over wrap it in the printed paper.
If you like the look of just plain white paper you can brighten it up by making a ribbon of paper on your computer that says Happy Birthday or some other appropriate sentiment. The ribbon could be printed on coloured paper to give more contrast.
I glued the Happy Birthday paper together with a glue stick to make a large enough piece to wrap this gift. Here is a list of my own gift wrap that you can print off.
Grab a clear plastic bag when you need inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap. You can use clear plastic bags with some colored tissue inside of it to hide the gift.
Have the tissue paper extend well above the plastic bag and gather at the top of the plastic bag with a tail of curling ribbons in a matching colour.
If you have plastic zipper bags with no printing on them then trim off the zipper part. Place the tissue paper so it is U shaped so it doesn't shift and expose the gift.
If you don't have any tissue paper you could use wallpaper, plain paper, or plain paper printed with the something like the word Surprise!
Tissue paper actually makes very nice wrapping paper as it often comes in great solid colors that you can't find regular gift wrap in! In adding just a few interesting details like a white band of paper around the gifts, a circle with the initials of the gift recipient and part of the gift sitting on top, like this bear with a spoon, the focus is taken off the wrapping paper and put on the extras.
Paper napkins can have an interesting textures and designs. Even if you only have white paper napkins available these can look great if you add a matching paper napkin flower as a bow.
If you have a bit of time then you could dip the edges of the napkin flower in red food dye to add some contrast. You would either dry this with a hair dryer or leave it for several hours to dry.
As napkins are very thin you would have to use several layers or first wrap the gift in white paper.
The napkin flower is very easy to make.
If all else fails and the gift is just too large to use any of these ideas then as a last resort you could place your gift into a white plastic garbage can liner and have an enormous bow and spectacular card to try to divert attention away from the garbage can liner. (Never leave children unattended with plastic, be sensible).
While this would be woefully out of place on a gift table at a wedding for a casual party you could pull it off.
You will need two garbage liners as they are very thin. For a liner 20 inches by 22 inches first cut out a piece of heavy cardboard 12 inches by 7 inches.
Place the cardboard on the bottom of one liner and then pull the other liner on (do this carefully as they tear and snag very easily). Hold the bags up from the top and tuck the side bottom ends under the bag and tape in place.
Place your gift inside, if the gift can still be seen through the thin plastic then put in a piece of white paper front and back. I crumbled up some more white paper and put it on the top of the gift so when the bags were closed the plastic would stand upright.
I used blue curl ribbon to make the bow and printed their name in bold letters on a piece of white paper that I folded sideways to use as a card.
Inexpensive easy gift wrapping ideas when you have no gift wrap are fun and innovative and they will make your gift stand out amongst a sea of regular wrapping paper. You might decide never to go back to regular gift wrap again!