Make: DIY Phonebook Wrapping Paper

Happy Green Monday! To be honest, I didn’t really even know that was a thing until this morning – and I guess it’s just a…second Cyber Monday? Hm-kay. Well, we’re celebrating “Green Monday” with TWO, count ’em TWO simple and lover-ly holiday projects that will leave you with the cutest darn eco-friendly gifts you ever did see. So if you by chance are not standing in a line somewhere waiting to see Star Wars tonight, grab your kiddos and make these with us!

Tonight I’m finishing up a DIY wrapping and an eco-friendly gift, and they go sooooo well together!


While cleaning out the kitchen recently, I ran across a stack (not just one) of old phonebooks – the bane of my existence. Low on brown paper, and needing to get some gifts out the door, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and turn those dusty old doorstops into something cool and useful. I loved the pattern the print on the phonebook pages made and using bright colors turned something dull into something bright and cheery!

THIS is SO EASY, such a good holiday project for kids, a wonderful way to repurpose an old around-the-house item. I love putting together themes for my gift decoration, but the numerous bags of torn-through wrapping paper that end up going right to recycling every year really bum me out. When its pages from that already out-of-date enormous phonebook brick?? Not so much!

To make your own DIY phonebook wrapping paper you’ll need:


  • An old phonebook (or even just pages you never use)
  • Acrylic or tempera paints
  • A paintbrush or stamping tool or even just little fingers!


  • Raffia, string, ribbon, and/or plant cuttings to decorate
  • Small stones or something you can use to weight down your painted pages while they dry

Recycled Phonebook Wrapping Paper Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies

    Especially if you’re working with kids, you’ll want to gather your supplies on a large, flat surface and lay out some newspaper you can dry your wrapping paper on. Phonebook pages are light as air and the slightest breeze can blow one around, so I found it helpful to gather up a bowl of small stones we could place on our pages to hold them down as we painted. Believe me, when drying time comes, you’ll be happy you put everything right there at the ready beforehand.

    Recycled phonebook DIY holiday wrapping paper craft for kids via barley & birch

  2. Paint!

    Use an acrylic or tempera paint and brushes of different shapes and sizes to paint fun patterns on your phonebook pages. We painted on the back of old cookie sheets because they’re super easy to clean off. This also makes it easier to move them if I need to do that for drying.

    Recycled phonebook DIY holiday wrapping paper craft for kids via barley & birch

  3. Let dry for 24 hours

    Leave PLENTY of time for drying – there’s nothing worse than getting wet paint on a new gift. (*shudder!*) After they’ve dried completely, flatten out any crinkles by letting them sit underneath a few heavy books for about 20 minutes – the paint I used didn’t stick, but you may want to put some wax paper between pages when you do this depending on the type of paint).

That’s all there is to it! You can use these pages as-is, or use a glue stick at the edges to make a bigger square for larger-sized gifts.


VOILA – super fun upcycled custom gift wrap! And the phone company generously supplies you with a gazillion pages! 🙂  I like to “garnish” with some green clippings and twigs from the yard and twine – super simple and super cute.

For another fun twist on this, recycle some old crayons instead of using paint to make DIY melted crayon wrapping paper!

More eco-friendly holiday DIYs for kids

Loving the earth-friendly handmade holiday theme? Get into the green spirit of things with some more of these recycled gifts, DIYs, and crafts the whole family can make together…

  • Visit Part 2 of this post to see the mini crocus and paperwhite garden gifts with full instructions to make your own. The greenest little gift you ever did see (and a bright spot of color come January)!
  • For more kid-made holiday wrapping paper ideas (among other things!) check out our “Craftmas” collection of holiday kids crafts
  • Got boxes? Recycle a cardboard box and get into the holiday mood with our cardboard Christmas tree – a simple collaging activity and tabletop tree your kids will adore decking in their very own style.
  • If you’re doing a cardboard tree, you might as well make a whole cardboard holiday village to go with it, right?
  • Use up felt or fabric scraps making your own colorful DIY holiday garland – if you can tie a knot, you can make this beauty in under an hour!
Recycled phonebook DIY holiday wrapping paper craft for kids via barley & birch


Enter your email address below to have our latest kids projects delivered right to your inbox!

Leave a Reply

Copy link