DIY Holiday Gift Wrap and Sustainable Crafting

By: Alyssa Schauer

December 06, 2018

Category: Arts

In light of mindful giving this holiday season, Christa Von Wald, an arts educator at Silverwood Park, shared some ideas to be sustainable in wrapping gifts.

One idea she suggested was to create your own confetti by cutting up pieces of colored scratch paper and using it in gift bags as a decorative addition in place of tissue paper.

Another idea she shared was for a do-it-yourself gift wrap using a potato, some paint and a brown paper bag. A potato! How fun does that sound? Find her brilliant craft below and try making your own wrapping paper this season.

Do-It-Yourself Gift Wrap

Photo collage of brown paper bag, paint materials, and a hand stamping Christmas trees onto paper bag


  • Brown paper bag
  • Potato
  • Paring knife
  • Ink pad or paint in color of your choice
  • Paintbrush (if using paint)
  • Pencil (optional)


1. Cut paper bag along seams to create one large flat sheet, cutting out bottom of the bag.

2. Using the paring knife, carve a medium-sized, 2-inch-thick triangle out of the potato.

3. Press one side of the potato triangle onto ink pad (or brush side with paint) and stamp onto paper bag, making tree patterns.

4. Festive tip: Use the rubber end of a pencil and press in red ink or paint; then stamp in a small triangle-pattern to make holly berries.

Note: If you're feeling especially crafty, cut any of your own shapes or designs into the potato and create your own patterns for the gift wrap!

Sustainable Gifting and Crafting

This idea of sustainable gifting and crafting is very much the theme of past Make & Mingle Winter Markets at Silverwood Park. The market is usually made of of local artisans, including wood-workers, illustrators, fiber artists, jewelry makers, quilters and printmakers, who promote and sell their earth-friendly creations.

artisan necklaces displayed on a table

“The hope in teaming up is to cultivate an even more creative and entertaining atmosphere where guests can get a taste of what a few different local creatives are doing, all in one place,” Christa said.

She added that one of the goals of the market events is to showcase artisans in the community who are enriching the local culture and who have helped grow the quarterly Make and Mingle program into a success.

Make and Mingle is held on the equinox or solstice of each season and includes art activities inspired by natural themes.

For these events, staff aims to partner with and showcase artisans in the community, including artists, makers, farmers and musicians. “We choose local artists to spotlight them and how they make art, and plan an activity related to their art. The hope is to bring guests an inspired, seasonal party full of creativity, discovery and enjoyment,” Christa explained.

Some examples of crafts from past events include natural-dyed wall hangings, constellation-inspired string art and clay luminaries, and needle-felted drink cozies from locally sourced wool.

“All the vendors are diverse in their specialties. All are innovative and have helped draw in more guests, making the events unique and successful,” Christa said.

The events also follow Three Rivers’ mission to promote environmental stewardship. “We try to use recyclable materials and see what we can reuse and use in nature. For some projects, we’ve even collected pine needles and pine cones to make our own resin. And we recently started using compostable gloves, which falls perfectly in line with our ’Zero Waste Zone.’”

About the Author

Alyssa wearing a hat and flannel.

Alyssa Schauer is part of the marketing team at Three Rivers. She formerly worked as a journalist at a small-town newspaper and volunteered with the Minnesota Conservation Corps to clear and maintain trails in Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters. Outside of work, she spends time in the woods looking at everything up close (especially ferns and spiders!) and enjoys canoeing with her husband, playing Nintendo and raising a pride of four naughty, darling cats.


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