Reusing old materials in creative ways is called upcycling. Upcycling worn out neckties by turning them into reusable gift wrap is an easy, eco-friendly craft project. The silky fabric makes unique, colorful, and festive wrapping paper.
Upcycled necktie gift wrap is also more durable than traditional wrapping paper, so it can be saved and reused many times. This cuts down on waste from torn and discarded wrapping paper after presents are opened.
To transform old neckties into wrapping paper, you will need:
- Old neckties made from silky fabric. The more patterns and colors the better.
- Scissors to cut the ties into shapes.
- Ruler (optional) if cutting precise squares or rectangles.
- Iron to press out any wrinkles.
- Gift box or item to wrap, to test sizes.
Look for neckties made of polyester or other silky fabrics. Avoid ties made from wool, cotton, or textured fabrics that won’t lie flat.
The scale and pattern of the tie designs will enhance the wrapped gifts. Bold, colorful prints work best.
Gather a selection of sizes and patterns for variety. Ask friends and family members to donate their unwanted ties. Check secondhand and thrift stores for inexpensive tie options.
Cut the Ties Into Shapes
Once you have a pile of old neckties, you’re ready to cut them to size. This step takes a bit of experimenting.
Consider the size of the boxes and items you typically wrap as gifts. Cut some squares or rectangles to match those needs. Or go for more abstract shapes.
To cut the ties:
- Lay the tie flat on a cutting surface.
- Use a ruler and fabric scissors to cut straight edges if desired.
- For organic shapes, just cut freely.
Try to utilize the full width of the tie when cutting. Avoid leaving skinny strips that won’t adequately cover a box.
Mix up the scales of your reusable wrap pieces. Cut some larger sheets to wrap bigger gifts. And make some smaller swatches for tiny presents or gift bags.
Iron Out Wrinkles
After cutting ties, they will likely be wrinkled. Use an iron on the silk or polyester setting to press out any creases or wrinkles.
This helps the fabric lie perfectly flat and look crisp when wrapped around gifts.
If you don’t have an iron, try weighting down the fabric overnight to flatten it out. Books or heavy cans placed on top of the fabric will press it.
Now the fun part – it’s time to test out your handmade reusable gift wrap!
Gather some gifts to wrap using your custom necktie paper. Square or rectangular boxes are easiest. For oddly shaped items, play around with angles and creative folding.
Use tape or ribbons to hold the paper in place. The silky fabric slips into position nicely without the need for tape all over.
- Place the box in the center of the fabric.
- Pull the corners of the tie up the sides of the box. They can meet at the top or leave an open fold.
- Tape or tie ribbons in place.
- Make a bow with leftover fabric or ribbon for a topper.
The possibilities are endless with various prints and folds! Let the tie patterns and colors shine through for a vibrant, reusable wrapping paper that recipients will love.
Care and Storage
To reuse the gift wrap, carefully remove any tape and smooth out the fabric. Refold it to store for the next occasion.
Over time, the edges may become frayed with repeated handling. Simply trim off any ragged bits to keep the wrap looking fresh.
To care for necktie fabric:
- Dry clean if it gets noticeably dirty or stained.
- Hand wash ties in cold water if needed.
- Lay flat or hang to dry. Do not put in the dryer, which could damage silky fabrics.
- Press with an iron before reusing to keep it crisp.
Store the fabric pieces flat in a drawer or box, or hang on skirt hangers. This prevents wrinkles from setting in.
Rotate through your tie stash to mix up the prints. Keep some wraps packed away so they feel new when you pull them out each year.
Get Creative with Upcycled Ties
Beyond gift wrap, consider other ways to reuse old neckties:
- Sew into bows or hair accessories
- Cut into strips and tie onto gift bags for a pop of color
- Layer tie fabric inside gift baskets for a liner
- Craft ornaments by bunching fabric into shapes
- Stack multiples into a bouquet for a table centerpiece
Let your imagination run wild! Upcycling ties reduces waste while adding cheer to the holidays.