Because unexpected gifting occasions happen.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated November 13, 2018
Gifts wrapped in butcher paper - gift wrapping alternatives
Credit: Dmytro_Skorobogatov/Getty Images

Gift wrapping is all fun and games—until you realize there’s not a roll of wrapping paper to be had. Or, even worse, there’s plenty of wrapping paper and other gift wrapping supplies, but it’s all racecar-themed and you need to wrap a bridal shower gift, stat.

Whether you’ve just used up the holiday wrapping paper and there’s one more gift to wrap or you forgot to pick up some new paper with the gift, Alton DuLaney—the world’s most famous gift-wrap artist—has you covered. When it comes to gift wrapping, DuLaney has seen it all, and he has plenty of gift wrapping ideas and solutions for gifts that must be wrapped, no matter what’s at hand.

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Gifts wrapped in butcher paper - gift wrapping alternatives
Credit: Dmytro_Skorobogatov/Getty Images

1 Pull out the butcher paper

Butcher paper makes excellent wrapping paper, especially if twine or thin rope is also available to finish off the rustic look. Add drawings, ribbons, sketches, stickers, or other decorations to give it a little life.

2 Use wallpaper

If you’ve recently renovated (or are planning a reno) and have extra rolls of wallpaper lying around, use them as gift wrap.The patterns will pop, and it’s unlikely anyone else’s gift will have the same look. Just be patient while wrapping: Wallpaper’s thickness can make it a little difficult to fold.

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3 Shake out the newspaper

Newspaper is super affordable and almost always available. DuLaney will flip through for a page with a great photo, the comics page, or a page with heavy text; if the gift is to celebrate someone’s achievement, he likes to use any coverage it may have gotten in the paper as the wrapping.

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4 Cut off some fabric

DuLaney sometimes uses fabric—everything from canvas to more luxurious materials such as velvet and brocade—to wrap gifts, using tassels and thick decorative ribbons as adornment. Leftover fabric from new curtains, a Halloween custom, or another DIY sewing project will work just fine with standard ribbon, too.

5 Flip out-of-season gift wrap

Most gift wraps have white or neutral, solid-colored backs. DuLaney recommends flipping anything with unsuitable patterns—like Santa-print wrapping paper for a child’s birthday gift—so the backing is exposed and then wrapping with that. The neutral base can easily be dressed up with ribbons, stickers, and more, if needed.