When you take the time to make gift wrap paper, you add a very special detail to your already perfect gift! I love making my own wrap for a few reasons: 1. It saves me some money over store bought paper, 2. It puts a creative touch on my package, and 3. Let's face it...sometimes you just run out of paper and are desparate for a homemade idea in a pinch!
Brown or White Paper
I always have a roll of brown and some white paper on hand to create unique gift wrap with. I buy a big roll of brown paper at Home Depot or Lowe's in the painting aisle. They sell thick paper to put down when you paint, and it wraps gifts perfectly! I also use this to wrap packages for mailing. Rolls of white paper can be found at craft stores, but I use the packaging paper that you would use in your boxes when you're moving. At a moving supply store (I buy mine at Uhaul), they sell big boxes of pre-cut sheets of white (well, it's slightly off white, but that's okay) paper. These are by far the most inexpensive ways to get your paper.
Now that you have the paper, you can decorate it with anything you want. Try one of these or a combination of a few:
Paint your child's hands or feet, and have them put prints all over.
Use a rubber or foam stamp. These are available in so many different designs and sizes--you're sure to find one that is perfect for your occassion.
Have your children color their own design on it.
Print out pictures from your computer on plain computer paper and glue or decoupage them (it's better to put them on after you wrap the package to avoid having to bend the stiff glued photos around corners).
Cut out design from old greeting cards or pieces of wrapping paper to glue or decoupage onto it.
Decorate with inexpensive stickers (check the dollar store).
Use paint to make your own design.
Use glue to attach buttons, gems, or other embellishments.
For smaller gifts, print out black and white or color photos on regular printer paper to use as wrap. If you have a little more time,
use this project idea
to create another type of photo wrapping paper.
Maps or Pages from Books
If you don't have any maps or books that you can use, check thrift stores or garage sales.
Use the the comics section or an area that has a pretty picture, interesting design, or related story (ie-wrap a sports gift in the sports section, a gardening gift with the outdoor section, or the stock section for someone who is interested in investing). You can print out a picture of that person--or any photo--in black and white to put on the top. Remember, you can make gift wrap paper out of just about anything, so keep your eyes open in the world around you for new ideas.