You may spot a roll of vintage wrapping paper from time to time while secondhand shopping, but don't wait until then to use flea market finds as gift wrap. Once you start assessing items for their potential as creative alternatives to traditional wrapping paper, you'll find numerous paper and fabric options to personalize your packages.
Here are 10 flea market finds to use as gift wrap:
Maps of all sizes are readily available at many flea markets and thrift stores, in the form of outdated road maps, travel guides, and old world atlases. Recycle them as colorful gift wrap for your presents. Create a theme by using the same map type on all of your gifts, or look for maps that have special meaning for the recipients. For example, use a map of the London Underground for the Anglophile on your gift list.
From exotic Chinoiserie paper to mod geometric patterns, a full roll of vintage wallpaper is a major score for many home design enthusiasts. You're more likely to find scraps and partial rolls -- the leftovers from papering a room. Those leftover bits make striking wrapping paper for gifts. When looking for vintage wallpaper to use as gift wrap, opt for paper over vinyl; you'll get cleaner creases.
3. Vintage Linens
Give someone on your list a bonus gift by wrapping her present with vintage linens or fashion accessories. You can use a scarf, handkerchief, dish towel, tea towel, or napkin as a furoshiki, which is a Japanese wrapping cloth. The various furoshiki wraps include folding and knotting techniques to bundle everything from books to bottles.
Finished linens aren't the only fabric suitable for wrapping gifts. You can also turn fabric samples and scraps into custom gift wrap. If you don't have scraps from your own projects, look for vintage drapery panels, clothing, and other textiles you can use as yardage. Use the fabric to make pouches, drawstring bags, or wine bottle bags. You can also cut the fabric into squares and hem the sides to make furoshiki wraps.
5. Book pages
Recycle an old book that's damaged beyond repair by using its pages as gift wrap. The look is particularly charming when the recipient is a bibliophile, or when you're giving a book as a gift. Consider tailoring the book page type to the recipient. For example, use pages from a vintage cookbook to wrap a gift for an amateur chef. Or, wrap an English major's holiday present with a page from an old grammar textbook.
For books old enough to be in the public domain, you can even enlarge the pages on your printer for larger packages -- or if you just prefer larger text.
6. Sheet Music
If you happen upon loose or bound sheet music while secondhand shopping, consider using it as gift wrap -- especially if you find the sheet music for traditional holiday carols. The gift recipient's favorite song or music genre also works well. If the copyright has expired, enlarge the sheet music on your printer if the original pages are too small for your gifts.
Use old blueprints as wrapping paper to give your packages an unexpected look -- especially if you have architects or home decorating divas on your gift list. Blueprints are typically large enough to wrap a variety of gift box sizes, even after you trim off any tattered edges. As a bonus, blueprints are usually stored rolled instead of folded, so you won't have to work around a lot of creases.
8. Vintage Posters
Though vintage posters look terrific framed, some just have too much damage to hang them as art. If they haven't been stored properly over the years, they may have water spots or tattered edges. You can turn those damaged posters into wrapping paper. Just cut away the bad parts before wrapping your packages. Choose a poster type -- product advertising posters, movie posters, rock concert posters, etc. -- that suits the recipient.
9. Player Piano Rolls
Apartment Therapy featured an apartment wallpapered with player piano rolls, and it looked fantastic. You can also use old player piano rolls as an unusual gift wrap. The resulting packages look good under trees in both contemporary and vintage-inspired homes. Piece the paper if necessary for larger packages, and wrap it so the pointed ends of the rolls double as the package trim.
10. Shelf or Lining Paper
If you find a box containing sheets of vintage lining paper for shelves or drawers, buy it -- even if you don't need to line anything. Old lining paper makes wonderful gift wrapping paper. The old colors and patterns are striking. The paper is usually thick, like the wrapping paper once used in high-end department stores. Old lining paper creases beautifully, and it doesn't tear like today's thin, inexpensive gift wrap.
More Ideas for Wrapping Gifts with Flea Market Finds: