I have two teen daughters. The older one is 15 almost 16 and the youngest one is 14 years old. They are now at that age where all of their friends are either having quinceañeros or sweet sixteen parties. Yep! That means lots of gift shopping and wrapping.
If you are anything like me, your main goal is going to be to please the birthday girl while at the same time not putting a hole in your pocket the size of China. I like to present nicely wrapped gifts not only because it makes the person feel special but because gift wrapping allows me to be creative. Nope, I am not the mom that can put a gift in a bag with some tissue paper and out you go. I have to over complicate things and come up with something different. If the birthday girl tells my daughter that it is so pretty that they don’t want to open it, I feel accomplished.
However, if you are not resourceful, gift wrapping can certainly add up and mess up your budget. Contrary to popular belief (my husband thinks I spend a fortune), I don’t spend a lot of money on the actual gift wrap. I thought I would share with you some of my material sourcing tips:
1. Be organized – I have collected through the years a lot of ribbon, paper, fabric, knick knacks, etc. from my girls’ school events. Like any other school kid they always have some sort of project going on, from Valentine’s Day favors to costumes for their musicals. Organization is key for two reasons, one it will help you remember what you have on hand so you don’t have to buy again and two because you will always know where to go for a button (button jar) or a ribbon (ribbon basket or baskets in my case).
2. Anticipate – Why pay full price for a pink or red ribbon if you can pay almost nothing for it after Valentine’s Day or a nice pastel color ribbon after Easter? A pretty pastel yellow or blue can be used for a baby shower later. Who cares if the ribbon has hearts or the word love on it. Love is an all year long sentiment you know.
2. Know where to shop –
My money saving favorites are:
Marshall’s – Gift wrap paper with nice designs and usually great quality (thicker). They have pretty tissue paper and every now and then you can find ribbon and other decor supplies at a good price from the clearance section.
Dollar Tree – Ribbon, tulle, tape, boxes, unusual containers. All for the fabulous price of $1.
Goodwill – Favorite place for inexpensive baskets and craft materials from people that decided to quit their hobbies (ex. yarn).
Walmart – You can find pretty much everything (glue, paint, jewels, ribbon, fabric, glitter, etc.) when you are on a bind because you didn’t do your homework and stocked up in other places while the supplies were on sale. Their clearance section is pretty good to.
Flea market – Buttons, jewelry, fabric, weird materials, etc.
Target – Pretty labels and embellishments in the $1.00 – $3.00 section at the front of the store.
3. No such thing as overage – I don’t throw away fabric, paper or ribbon. Even if you have only a couple of inches from your project left, keep it. You can do a loop for a bow or cut a strip to add an accent to a gift tag.
4. Deconstruct – We all have clothes, shoes or purses that we don’t need or like anymore and that are ready to be trashed. Have you looked at those things with a different set of eyes? Maybe they don’t fit anymore or are out of style but it doesn’t mean that you can’t remove nice buttons, strings or jewels, cut a couple of swatches of fabric if it has a nice design or cut a nice pocket from a pair of old pants or shirt. The flea market and the Dollar Tree are my favorite places to let myself go in terms of deconstruction. The idea is to find inexpensive items that you can break to use its individual parts. I have bought dollar tree dish sponges only to break them and use the mesh! Check my daughter’s blog here for a picture of the dish sponge headband I did for her Little Mermaid’s musical.
4. Containers – You don’t always have to put the gift in a box. I have used in the past candy dispensers and butterfly nets from the Dollar Tree to use as containers for gifts. See them here and here. When it comes to containers the only constraint is your imagination.
5. Take a walk – Literally some of my best ideas I have gotten while walking around the neighborhood. A pretty leaf or rock can be used as an accent in its natural way or changed with paint or covered with something. The combinations are literally infinite and the best part is that they are free!
The materials for this gift:
- The paper I bought at Marshall’s for a wedding a couple of months ago. The grey paisley motif with tones of silver is very elegant by itself but it can take a more juvenile appearance when you add a plaid pattern and some pink. What girl doesn’t like pink?
- All of the ribbons are scrap from other projects, to the point that I couldn’t event cut the ends nicely as they were the last of it. The stress!
- The butterfly and chain came from an old blouse during a spring cleaning. I added the center jewel to the butterfly to give it a bit more of a pop. The jewel I also already had from an old Halloween costume.
- The tag is a plain manila shipping tag that I applied black glitter to. Both the tags and the glitter I had from one of the girls’ s birthday parties.
Cost of wrapping the present: $0.00. I am a very happy lady.