5 Minutes or Less: Cheap and Easy Wrapping Paper

May 9, 2012 | by Jocie (email) |

“5 Minutes or Less”  is an on-going series dedicated to quick and fun crafts and DIY projects that you can do in five minutes or less. This segment came to being because in our busy life it was difficult making the time for the involved and time-consuming projects that I love. We would love to feature your ideas too, so don’t forget to take lots of pictures of your next “5 Minutes or Less” DIY and send ‘em our way!

Ethan’s birthday was just last week and on his birthday I realized I hadn’t bought wrapping paper to wrap his presents. So it was either Christmas paper or get creative! He probably would have enjoyed the humor of Christmas wrapping paper just as well, but I could not have handled the shame of it! lol! Here’s my super cute take at DIY wrapping paper.


  • Paper bag
  • Paint
  • Circular sponge brush
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Ribbon, bows, etc.

Step 1: Wrap Your Gift

I grabbed a paper bag from our last Trader Joe’s visit and wrapped Ethan’s new PS3 games. So simple and FREE! I guess technically you could paint your paper before you wrap it, but either way it works.

Step 2: Paint

Using a circular sponge brush and acrylic paint, Izzie painted polka dots on the wrapped gift. Perfection is not necessary! Afterwards, I added a few dots wrapping around the corners so it looked covered. If we had time, we would have done the back also, but no one even noticed. Izzie had a BLAST painting and was so proud to give Daddy a gift she contributed to.

Step 3: Finishing

After the paint is completely dry, add ribbon or bows and your gift tag. This wrapping paper will definitely be noticed and loved!

Ethan loved the wrapping paper…Okay, he loved the games inside the wrapping paper. In fact, as I write this post, Ethan is sitting next to me playing one of his new games! Seriously thought, the paper was a hit and essentially free! Here are a few pix of Ethan on his birthday, opening his presents.

What do you think? How do you personalize your wrapping on gifts?

As Always, thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check out our weekly Link-up Parties on Fridays, where you can submit your own DIY projects and crafts!

18 Responses
  1. Love this idea! My kids would think they were so BIG if they got to help by painting.
    Hugs, Jen @ f5

  2. Kim says:

    Evidence of the difference in personalities on our site: Fred opted for the Christmas wrap, so Ethan’s gift from us had shimmering snowflakes around it!

  3. Blondeerin79 says:

    Looks nice! We’ve done the same using a basic kitchen sponge cut into whatever basic shape the kids wanted at the time 🙂

  4. JustME says:

    What a neat idea. I’ll have to see if I can watch our grandson Saturday so we can make something for his Mommy to wrap in paper he made too! Thanks Jocie!

  5. blynn says:

    Great idea! I remember as a kid, my aunt giving us those Bingo board markers, essentially a marker that just made round dots. You can get them from the dollar store still, so that would be even easier and dry faster than using acrylic or poster paint!

  6. Karah @ thespacebetweenblog says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Ethan!!! I love this easy upgrade. Great project!

  7. Kellie says:

    Great idea! Love that the kids can help!!

  8. Icarus says:

    very cool. I remember using paper bags as makeshift book covers in school.

    • Paul&Aundrea says:

      We did that too! I loved being able to color all over the book cover and make it my own. As a teacher, I also used dish towels and had kids put their hand prints on them. Once they are dry you can wrap up whatever mother’s day gift the kids created and you get personalized wrapping paper AND double your gift.

  9. MissFixIt says:

    Great way to get the kids involved and I just love Izzie’s curly hair I want hair like that! so cute.

  10. frazzled5 says:

    Brilliant- pinning for later!

  11. tommyo says:

    Awesome and simple. Another thing our family does is save the comic section from the weekend newspaper. The comics make great, free and colorful wrapping paper. Our friends even know to save their copies for us. some people scavenge for coupons but we look for the comics to save on wrapping paper.
    Home improvement and hardware store ads make great wrapping for fathers day and guy gifts. Might as well repurpose the paper before its sent to the recycler.

    • JustME says:

      Oh wow that brought back a long ago, very long ago, memory of using comics as wrapping paper. Thanks for the memory Tommyo. I like your idea of hardware store ads for Dads too. If we had any single guy friends I could use the Victoria’s Secret Catalogs we get. LOL Our daughter shipped some clothes here before she came back from S.Korea so they keep sending us their catalogs.

  12. katieQ says:

    I love the home decorated wrapping paper. It adds such a personal touch.

  13. MiniDee16 says:

    Things like this always start off as a 5 minute thing but end up taking such a long time because something always has to end up going wrong haha. It is such a lovely idea though

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