Reuse It . . . Custom Wrapping Paper


My younger son loves to paint, draw, color and craft. I think it’s fantastic, but it also means that we are somewhat awash—drowning, really–in his artwork.

While I am all for keeping selected samples of his artistic development, there’s only so much we can store. I feel bad though, just throwing these masterpieces away.

My solution: turn them into custom wrapping paper.

Not only does this solve the problem of throwing away monumental amounts of paper, only to go buy wrapping paper that will then be thrown away, it also solves my surprisingly frequent problem of being out of wrapping paper at crucial moments (like 10 minutes before we’re supposed to leave for the party. Ahem.)

Finally, it gives my older son a reason to actually sit down and BE QUIET. OK, it gives me a way to MAKE HIM sit down and be quiet. Artwork feels like a punishment to him. To take away the negative association, I can at least turn it into purposeful work, especially when he can decorate his paper with something meaningful to the recipient.

Here are items you can use or decorate for your own custom wrapping paper:


Construction paper

Newsprint or roll paper

Coloring book pages

Paper bags or brown kraft paper

Scrapbooking papers

Solid color gift bags (might as well reuse the ones you get gifts in)


Markers (in a pinch, I even use highlighters. Kids love the color)


Poster paints

Craft paint

Rubber stamps and ink




Twine (instead of ribbon)

Tiny action figures

Fabric scraps


Die-cut shapes (make great tags)

Art work takes a whole new meaning when it becomes handmade gift wrap. Have fun with your kids making custom wrapping paper!

Any other ideas? What other creative and thrifty ways do you put your kids’ artwork to use?

Like this ‘Reuse It’  blog post by Lisa Hensley?  Then chances are you’ll also like Creating Crafty Crayons and Heirloom Seeds.

Click here to see Lisa Hensley’s Reuse It Archive.


Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, two cats (boys), one tiny dog (a girl!) and 4 fish (probably boys). She spent more than 10 years in the Marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She serves on the Board of Directors for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.