Save Those Scraps! What To Do with Extra Wrapping Paper

Ever feel like you’re drowning in wrapping paper and ribbons galore while gift wrapping? Instead of tossing all those scraps after cutting down your paper to the right size, try this project that recycles them and turns them into art with your kids! This is something I’ve been doing since I was a kid myself, so I can vouch for how fun and creative this can be.

When the wrapping paper has a fun pattern on it, I cut out the designs and characters and offer them to my kids. This is especially easy if you’re buying paper geared towards kids or just general Christmassy cuteness, like Santa figures, penguins, candy canes, and so on. The cutting can be a little time consuming at first, but I just do it as I wrap so it feels spread out. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect!

Once my little artists have their hands on these cut-out characters, they go to town gluing them to paper and creating imaginative scenes. A snowman might be placed next to a cup of cocoa twice his size, or Santa might be found standing on top of a giant poinsettia, or Christmas dinosaurs might be lined up to see snow coming down on a drawn-in volcano… all so much fun to create and even more fun to talk about after!

These collages can be supplemented by stickers or hand drawings to make them exactly how your kids want them to look. You can also include ribbon, bows, string, or other decorating odds and ends however you see fit. Even patterned paper that is too abstract to cut out makes for good backgrounds or just mosaic-style collaging. Kids’ creativity knows no bounds! For babies who aren’t old enough to wield their own glue, I follow the Busy Toddler method of just letting them rip wrapping paper scraps to their hearts’ content– it’s great for motor skills!


If your family does anything creative with leftover wrapping paper, I’d love to hear what you do!

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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