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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 4, 2007

That's a wrap

By Chris Oliver

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Don't buy wrapping paper — use the stuff you're reading! Newsprint is a good match for wrapping books. Use different pages — like the crosswords or comics — for various effects.

Photos by ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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1. Use double-sided tape to secure ribbons; it hides between, and strongly bonds, the two layers of wrapping.

2. A warm iron (NOT hot!) will smooth wrinkles from used paper and ribbons.

3. Use fresh garden leaves such as kukui for an attractive "label."

4. An old trick worth (re)mentioning: Use last year's holiday cards for tags. Cut out the motif from the card's cover (avoiding any writing on the back). A hole punch and twine turns it into a label.

5. Use a paper shredder to shred old colored tissue paper and create attractive packing pulp for gifts.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Not only do plain white boxes look chic, they’re more eco-friendly than shinier material and can be used all year long.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Tin Containers.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Fabric bags make for easy, gracious wrapping, and they can be reused over and over again.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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It's tempting to spend on cards and wrapping paper at Christmas, but it doesn't do the planet any favors. Enterprising gift-wrapping in recycled or reusable products are a kinder option. Here are five simple wraps with recycling in mind. With a little imagination, you can make them your own.


Good for: Keeping it simple. Rather than opt for shiny patterns on virgin paper, go for simple, recyclable materials. Choose white or brown wrapping paper and plain boxes. Boxes come in one piece and assemble in seconds. They're smart, stylish and can be easily jazzed up with colorful ribbons, decals or your own designs. Unlike Santa-studded gift-wrapping, white paper can be used beyond the holidays.

Time involved: Depends on how much ribbon you use!

Where to get them: Large and small plain white boxes at Ben Franklin from 50 cents. Rolls of paper at USPS, Hardware Hawaii, Longs Drugs from $2.99.


Good for: Filling with cookies, toiletries, sewing notions, craft items, Hot Wheels cars, or collections of almost anything. A secure fastening and handle keeps the lid firmly closed.

Time involved: Under 5 minutes.

Where to get them: Small, medium and large tin containers start at $4.99, from a selection at Ben Franklin.


Good for: Wrapping books. Choose a theme, for example, for crossword lovers, copy and enlarge a newspaper crossword to 11- by 17-inches to wrap a puzzle book. Wrap travel books in maps with a luggage label, cookery books in wall charts or recipes. The comics pages, especially the double spread of Sunday Comics, are great for wrapping kids' items.

Time involved: 5 to 10 minutes.

Where to get it: It's in your hands.


Good for: Multipurposing, since the wrapping material can be reused as a gift itself. Wrap a small gift such as Tutu's favorite jam in a pretty table napkin, or wrap a set of six napkins in one. Wrap a fresh loaf of bread for a party hostess in a new apron. Or give a bottle of wine wrapped in a festive dishtowel (add a wine cork for good measure). "Good taste and tastes good."

Time involved: Under 5 minutes.

Where to get them: Table napkins $3.50 each at Pier 1. Dishtowels $9.95, Island Treasures, Under a Hula Moon.


Good for: Reusing material on hand, and holding pretty much anything. The relaxed nature of fabric bags lend themselves to all shapes and sizes. Add a festive ribbon and you're done.

Time involved: 2 minutes.

Where to get them: Elizabeth Kent recycles old kimono into beautiful gift bags, $3 each, $5 for two at Balcony gallery, Kailua, and Na Mea's gallery at the Hawai'i State Art Museum. Or, make your own.


Eco-friendly Christmas gifts..

Reach Chris Oliver at coliver@honoluluadvertiser.com.