How can I reuse or recycle Christmas gift wrap bows?

gift wrapping bowsWe’ve had a question from fishcake on our Suggestions page:

how can i recycle christmas gift wrap bows? I have a few bags worth and was thinking of decorating the fridge but maybe this site can find some more ideas.

There is of course always the option of donating them to a charity show or Freecycle for someone else to use for their original purpose but by the sounds of it, fishcake fancies reusing them at home.

In bow form, the only ideas I can think of are decorative like fishcake’s own fridge idea – but I suspect there will probably more ideas for reuses if they can be opened out into a long ribbon thread than in their bow shape.

Anyone got any suggestions for the bows as bows and/or in opened-out ribbon form?

(Photo by dafunky1

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle Christmas gift wrap bows?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    I know this is too obvious, but I always save them for Birthdays and of course the next Christmas. I haven’t purchased a bow in years.

  2. Moneypenny says:

    Maybe weave them for next years Christmascards?

  3. Kerry says:

    I use them for cat toys. They are OBSESSED with them!

  4. Trish says:

    Most of these can be used for MANY holidays/seasons. Just organize your bows into color schemes.

    I know a woman who uses them to make bouquets for brides to use during their rehearsals. Ideally, you use the bows from your bridal showers, but if you don’t have one, or you don’t have many bows you could do this. Same could be done as a wrist corsage.

    Make a wreath. Buy a Styrofoam ring at a local craft store. Hot glue the bows all around it, it looks best if you wrap some large ribbon all around the wreath first. If you have many of the same colors, you can even make a pattern. Finish off any “open” spaces with trinkets or even wrap a few small cubes and put some “presents” on the wreath.

    In high school, we made a huge banner that said Happy Holidays with bows. The art teacher kept it, and reposts it every year.

    Hats. I LOVE to wear funny hats on holidays. Find an old ball cap, or a sun hat works best. Glue the bows all over it. Bonus if you have a strand of battery operated lights around that you can attach to it. :)

    Picture frames. I have a few old wooden frames that are banged up pretty badly. Glue them around the frame (you want ones that aren’t going to “overflow” into the picture area) and either give as a gift, or a seasonal frame.

    Baskets. I decorated my flower girl’s basket with the left over pieces from other flower arrangements. I would think you could do something similar with bows. Especially as a way to store your Christmas cards.

    Hair bows. Buy some clippies or other clip in hair accessories at a craft store, glue bows and ribbons to them. Also works for jewelry buttons. Buy/find some old buttons and glue bows to it.

    Use as just decoration. Fill a jar with them and place as a splash of color. It can easily be changed to reflect new color choices or seasons.

    “Bead curtain” Use some wide ribbon and glue ribbons to both sides. Attach 1 end of the ribbon to either another piece of ribbon or even cardboard. Hang in a door way as a festive decoration.

    Use them as wrapping paper. Wrap a gift in some plain, or otherwise “trash” paper. Cover it in bows.

    Flip flops. Use some plain wide band flip flops. Glue to the band. Will also work on shoes if you have a lot of “junk” shoes that are still comfy, but worn out. (AWESOME for “tacky” parties if done with tennis shoes!)

    Disco ball decoration. Use an old rubber ball, or stryofoam balls from a craft store. Attach a string to hang, cover with bows, hang.

    If they’re very small, they make clear Christmas bulbs that you can fill.

    Earrings. Great way to also recycle your old earrings that you’ve either lost one of, or just don’t wear anymore. I wouldn’t recommend this for expensive jewelry. Glue bows to the front.

    Leis. You can either A: use some ribbon and glue bows to each side, or B string them together through the middle, it looks better if you do them back to back instead of all facing 1 direction.

    Kleenex covers. Either make, buy, or reuse a dust cover.

    Make some garland for the Christmas tree.

  5. Rebekah says:

    I am another who never (needs or wants to) buys new giftwrapping supplies. But I did reuse a beat up red bow to attract hummingbirds to my feeder. Unrolled into a long ribbon and tied it to the string- it blows nicely in the breeze and the birds are attracted to moving red things. Looked pretty too.

  6. Rachel says:

    put dowels or sticks on them and turn them into fun flower arrangements

  7. nelly says:

    i dont know if this will work but u could attach them to clips to put in your hair

  8. george washington says:

    weave them for next years Christmascards

  9. I pull the squashed rosettes apart and use them in my work as I would with other ribbon, rolling it with TY wire then coiling it on itself.

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