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Ideas & Inspiration

How to Wrap a Gift Without a Box

Paper Bundle Tied with Ribbon
Brown paper wrapped around a gift and tied with string.

With the right technique, a box isn’t always needed for wrapping a present. 

  • Unroll a large square of wrapping paper face down on a work surface and then add a few sheets of tissue.
  • Position the gift in the center and then lift each corner of the wrapping paper.
  • Gather the paper tightly directly above the gift, with the paper edges flaring outward.
  • Tie a double knot using twine or wire-edged ribbon to hold the bundle together. 
  • A bow can finish off the package, if desired.
Empty Wine Bottle and Cork
Clean empty wine bottles and corks arranged on a table.

A clean empty wine bottle can be an alternative to a typical gift box for jewelry.

  • Use a thumbtack or push pin to secure the clasp of a necklace or bracelet to the underside of a cork. 
  • Lower the necklace into the bottle and plug cork back into the bottle.
Burlap or Other Fabric
A wine bottle wrapped with burlap and tied with a ribbon.

If wine is the gift, position a piece of simple burlap to cradle the bottle and secure it with a ribbon for a rustic presentation. 

For other presents, try the art of furoshiki, the Japanese technique of wrapping gifts in fabric. 

  • Start with a roll of burlap and clippings from evergreen shrubs or Christmas tree trimmings. 
  • Pine cones, left natural or painted in chalky finish or spray paint, can be tied to the package with floral wire.
Canning Jars
Wooden utensils tied with twine to canning jars.

When the contents of a clear glass jar are visually appealing, such as the measured ingredients for baked treats or a homemade potpourri blend, your present doesn’t need to be covered up. Instead, a small ribbon or raffia bow can complete the wrapping without distracting from what’s inside the jar.

Fold and Wrap
A person tying twine around a parcel wrapped with red paper.

A box isn’t necessary if you neatly fold a sweater or other piece of clothing. Tightly fold the garment and then wrap as you would with a box. Using craft paper and tying the parcel with twine can give a rustic or shabby-chic look.

Gift Bag
A brown gift bag with a paper heart tied to the bag handle.

Gift bags are a quick and easy solution for wrapping an oddly shaped present without a box. Tufts of tissue paper can conceal the present and also add a bit of flair to the presentation. Use your own embellishments to personalize a plain bag to express your personal style.

Jarred Candles
Brown paper wrapped around a cylindrical gift with ribbon tied to the top.

Neatly wrapping cylindrical gifts like jarred candles can be done simply and with attractive results. 

  • Roll paper around the item and fasten the bottom with tape. 
  • Gather the excess paper on the top and tie it with string for a clean look.
Paper Tubes
A container of paper tubes from empty rolls of toilet paper and paper towels.

Use empty rolls of toilet paper or paper towels to create a cylindrical container for small presents. 

  • Fold in opposing edges on the ends of the tube to hold the gift inside. 
  • Then wrap paper around the tube, trim as needed and tie the ends with ribbon.
Paint Bucket
An empty and clean metal paint can and lid.

A clean paint bucket with lid is an unconventional solution for gift wrapping. 

  • Fill the 5-gallon plastic variety with car wash supplies or gardening tools. 
  • Use a smaller, gallon-size metal bucket that can be decorated for oddly shaped gifts without a box. 
  • A 5-quart metal pail designed for paint can provide the base for a gift basket that has simple rustic or industrial look.
Garden tools in the pocket of a green apron.

Wrap your gift using another functional present, such as an apron. If the recipient enjoys baking, a new set of bakeware can be wrapped with an apron or you can use one to tie up long-handled grilling tools for an outdoor cook. For a gardener, bundle tools they can use within an apron that will keep dirt off their clothes.