How To Upcycle Newspaper into Wrapping Paper

One thing I really can’t stand is buying wrapping paper and/or gift bags. Sure, they make the present look pretty… until the recipient rips it to shreds and immediately throws the wrapping in the trash. Frankly, I’d rather spend the extra few bucks on getting a nicer gift. So whenever my kids get invited to a party, we make our own. They love to paint, it looks cute, it is inexpensive (practically free!) and the parent of the birthday kid thinks you are amazingly creative. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.

Here’s how to do it. Super-easy, and the kids will have a blast!

newspaper wrapping paper tutorial

Materials: something to protect your work surface, newspaper (I always try to use the travel or entertainment section – front page news typically isn’t kid friendly), paint brushes, craft paint, hairdryer (optional)

  1. Place your newspaper on your protected table and pour drips of color on the page. Try to use colors that will blend nicely, and try to avoid colors that will get muddy. Confused about what colors will blend nicely and what colors will turn to mud? I have a handy-dandy graphic here that will help. Don’t bother getting out a palette or anything fancy. Literally pour paint directly onto the paper. Tell the kids to spread out the paint with the brushes (or get crazy and use fingers!) to cover the newsprint.
  2. Let the paint dry. This step is important to prevent muddy colors later. If you (or your children) are impatient, you can speed up this process with a hairdryer.
  3. Repeat the process of dripping & pouring paint onto the paper. This time, use color combinations you didn’t use before. In this example, we were able to use red and purple paint on top of the green and it didn’t get muddy since the undercoat was dry. Cover all the paper with color.
  4. Let dry.

That’s it! Tie up the gift with a fancy ribbon, add a tag, and it is ready for giving.

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6 Responses

  1. Heidi says:

    Fantastic idea! (The funny thing is that it will be tons easier for me to find leftover paint than it will be to find newspaper!) This is my first visit to your site (via pinterest). I’d love it if you linked this up at One Creative Weekend (

    • Liz says:

      Hi Heidi! Thanks :) I know this will seem silly, but how do you “link up”?

      • Heidi says:

        I’m glad you figured it out, Liz. I didn’t see your question until now. I wonder why it didn’t appear in my email. I’m so glad you linked up! Thank you! My children will love this project.

        (I know why it didn’t show up. I didn’t check the “notify me of follow up comments by email box.”)

  2. Eve says:

    Me too. Love it cheap and easy.

  1. October 15, 2012

    […] I wrote a post a while back about creating wrapping paper by painting discarded newspaper (see it here). That post got pinned on Pinterest over 3000 times. I was floored! I just couldn’t believe […]

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