Give your holiday packages a custom, vintage look by trimming them with flea market finds. The look is far more charming than you'll get by buying another big bag of store-bought bows, and turning vintage finds into gift trim costs less than buying specialty gift trim and toppers.
Here are 10 flea market finds to use as gift trim:
1. Millinery Supplies
The exquisite trimmings once used to adorn ladies' hats also look gorgeous as gift trim, if you can bear to give them away. If you find a stash of vintage millinery supplies for sale at a flea market or other type of secondhand shop, expect to see thick ribbons, lush silk and velvet flowers, and sprays of berries. If you're lucky, you might even find a few plump, artificial birds. You can also find vintage millinery by searching online auctions, or just buy a few vintage hats for their parts.
2. Paper Goods
Recycle paper goods into custom, handmade bows or blossoms to top your holiday packages. You make traditional gift bows, paper blossoms, or flat Dior bows. Good paper types for homemade bows include old magazine pages, newspaper, brown paper bags, vintage wallpaper, and the pages from damaged old books.
3. Vintage Buttons
Cluster vintage buttons in the center of a handmade bow or blossom. Or, string them on thread or fishing line to use instead of ribbon. Mix all sorts of buttons together on one package for an eclectic look, or select a single button style or type for each package.
4. Felt Flowers
Search thrift stores and flea markets for inexpensive woolen sweaters and scarves, and then turn the knitted wool into felt. Then, make felt flowers and leaves to top your holiday packages in place of traditional gift bows. Crafty recipients can reuse the flowers on a brooch, pillow, or hair clip.
5. Vintage Picks
Use kitschy vintage picks as gift trim to give your packages a fun, festive look. Whether you find floral picks or those once used for topping cupcakes and cakes, expect to see vintage picks depicting elves, Santas, reindeer, snowmen, berry clusters, Christmas trees, and tree ornaments. You can tuck vintage picks behind the ribbons wrapped around your packages, or just use them in combination with brightly colored bows.
6. Rag Balls
For rustic package trim perfect with country-inspired Christmas decorations, cut or tear fabric samples and scraps, vintage linens, or vintage clothing into strips. Then, wrap the strips around Styrofoam balls to make rag balls to top your packages. Use additional fabric strips, preferably with torn and slightly frayed edges, instead of ribbon. Include hangers on your rag balls so you can attach them to the packages -- and so your recipients can reuse them next year as tree ornaments.
Use a vintage Christmas tree ornament as a package topper for a friend who collects them -- or jump start a collection for someone who's expressed an interest. Depending on the recipient's taste, opt for antique glass ball ornaments, retro Sputnik stars, or kitschy Christmas elves.
8. Board Game Pieces
When you find a vintage board game with too many missing pieces for play, turn the remaining game pieces into package trim. Though the look is well-suited for children's gifts, adults who remember playing the game may enjoy it even more than the kids.
Punch holes and string twine or raffia through paper and cardboard game pieces. Use double-sided tape or glue to attach wood and plastic pieces to the tops of packages. If you think the recipient might want to save the piece, attach it with rubber cement; you can usually remove it without damage.
Vintage jewelry looks stunning when displayed in your home. It looks equally stunning as gift trim. Choose an intact piece to make the jewelry a second gift, such as a sparkly brooch used in place of a traditional gift bow. Or, use the individual beads and baubles to make your own package toppers. For example, string loose beads or pearls on wire, and then twist the wire into a flower or bow shape. Then, finish your topper by gluing a single, sparkly earring in the center.
10. Filmstrips or Photo Negatives
Thrill the shutterbug or future Spielberg on your gift list. Top her holiday present with a bow crafted from photo negatives or filmstrips. Because filmstrips are typically long, you can also use them as ribbon. Choose gift paper in a solid color to let the film take the starring role.
More Ideas for Wrapping Gifts with Flea Market Finds: