Skip the pricey gift bags and boxes this holiday season. Instead, search flea markets, antique mall, and thrift stores for decorative containers -- or for items you can use to make your own boxes and bags. With most, you won't even need to wrap them. Just add some handmade or upcycled gift trim and place the presents under the tree.
Here are nine flea market finds to use as gift boxes:
1. Painted Tins
Vintage painted tins make wonderful gift boxes. The patterns and colors rival even the loveliest gift wrap, and they come in sizes ranging from tiny to huge. Vintage tins work well for most presents if you find the right size, including food gifts. Just wash the tins and use a few sheets of tissue paper as lining before adding your cookies, fudge, or other goodies. Choose a tin that coordinates with the recipient's home decor so she can reuse it in her home after the holidays.
2. Paper Goods
Make your own gift containers from vintage paper goods. Use glossy magazine covers, dust jackets from books, and other heavyweight paper to make custom gift bags or cones. You can make the handles or hangers from vintage ribbon or twine. Or, turn paper goods of card-stock weight -- such as old album covers -- into pochettes for flat or small-sized gifts. Mirkwood Designs has a fantastic collection of pochette, box, and cone templates.
3. Hat Boxes
Hat boxes are sturdy and they come with matching lids. Though many are round, you can also find pentagon and hexagon shapes. Most vintage hat boxes are charming enough to skip the wrapping paper. They may have decorative printed designs or feature text and illustrations describing the original contents. If you use a vintage hat box as a gift box, skip the stick-on bow. The recipient may want to repurpose the box as a household decoration. Instead, tie them up with pretty ribbons and fasten the trim or topper to the ribbon.
4. Cigar Boxes
Vintage cigar boxes make fun gift boxes for small, flat presents. Whether made from wood or pasteboard, they're sturdy and have flip-up lids. Cover them with gift wrap if you wish, perhaps brown craft paper or recycled gift wrap also made from flea market finds. Or, just use them as is and add an appropriate bow or other trim.
5. Canning Jars
Old canning jars -- such as Mason, Ball, or Bell jars -- work well for food gifts. You can fill them with homemade sauce, candy, or a layered bake mix. The look is rustic and handmade, especially if you top the jar lid with a scrap fabric cover and secure it with twine or ribbon. Add a homemade label and your gift is complete and ready for its recipient.
Baskets work well for gifts, especially a gift consisting of multiple small items. Instead of buying new baskets from a craft or hobby store, opt for secondhand baskets in like-new condition. Flea markets and thrift stores usually have an ample selection.
8. Board Game Boxes
For a fun twist on the classic clothing gift box, use the box from a vintage board game. Vintage board games for sale at secondhand shops frequently have lots of missing pieces, so don't feel bad about buying it just for the box.
9. Apothecary Jars
Apothecary jars with glass lids work well for cookies, candies, soaps, fashion accessories, or any other small items that won't scratch the glass. If you want to keep the jar's contents a secret until Christmas Day, use a few sheets of colored tissue paper as a temporary jar lining. Secure the lid to the jar with clear tape to prevent accidents -- and to keep the recipient from peeking. Top a plain apothecary jar with a lush bow, or tie a ribbon around the base of a stemware-style jar.
More Ideas for Wrapping Gifts with Flea Market Finds: