Creative Gift Packaging:
Beyond Gift Bags and Boxes

Creative gift packaging ideas and instructions:
great substitutes for a gift bag or box,
that will make your gift memorable!

Many gifts come unboxed, and we don't always have an appropriate box waiting in a closet. Sometimes a gift bag isn't big enough or strong enough to do the job. And sometimes we're just looking for a unique gift packaging idea - a special container for an especially well-dressed gift.

Selecting Creative Gift Containers

Most items that are hollow or have some type of cargo space make suitable gift containers, provided they follow 3 rules:Creative packaging ideas: Chinese hexagonal box

  1. sit flat without tipping or excessive wobbling
  2. have a wide enough opening for the gift(s)
  3. are sturdy enough to support the gift(s)

One of the best creative gift packaging ideas (certainly the most common!) is a basket - the variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and uses is endless! Baskets are easy to find in many kinds of stores, and the instructions for wrapping a gift basket are easily adaptable for most other open containers.

As you look for unique packaging ideas, it's helpful to think in themes:

    Creative packaging ideas: tool-caddy
  • The occasion - (a model sleigh for Christmas; a diaper bag for a baby shower)

  • Your recipient's interests - (a creel for a fisherman; a colander for a cook).

  • The gift itself - (a shower caddy for a bath & body gift; a wheelbarrow for gardening gifts).

Creative packaging ideas: pewter stein
Take along your imagination, and you'll notice creative gift packaging ideas wherever you go. Here are a few ideas for alternative gift containers, to get you started:

pail or bucket
fish bowl
office inbox
cookie tin or jar
tool caddy
vase or pitcher
flower pot/planter
cup or mug
hat (rigid is best)
cardboard tube
apothecary jar
serving tray
toy truck
ice bucket
wooden crate
watering can

Creative packaging ideas: wheelbarrow

Preparing Your Gift Container

To stabilize a heavy/awkward gift, you may need to support it inside the container. Crumpled paper works well.

To provide a level surface within the gift container, crumple some paper into the deep spots and cover with a piece of rigid cardboard, foam core, or styrofoam.

Creative packaging ideas: a nice bucket

To elevate a gift in a deep container, so your recipient won't have to dig for it - you guessed it - crumpled paper. You may want to elevate one or more gifts so they show over the rim of an open container or gift basket.

To provide extra cushioning for fragile gifts, use soft foam, crumpled tissue paper, or a few layers of bubble wrap. A bag of packing popcorn (or real popcorn, popped) will elevate and cushion the gifts.

For multi-item gifts, as in wrapping a gift basket, use filler such as paper shred between individual gift items. This gives your creative gift packaging an attractive professional look, and the filler helps to support the gifts in an upright position.

Creative packaging ideas: toy wagon

Creative Gift Packaging How-To

The following links will take you to instructions for wrapping various gift containers other than boxes and gift bags:

Wrap a Cardboard Tube
(or other long, slender gift, with or without a container)
Make a Tissue Paper Pouch
Wrapping a Gift Basket
(or other open container)

No box? No gift bag? No problem!
Creative packaging alternatives abound,
once the eye learns to recognize them!

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Other graphics courtesy of Microsoft.