Make: DIY Phonebook Wrapping Paper

Enjoy process painting fun and green your giving with this kid-made DIY phonebook wrapping paper – reduce, reuse, recycle and GIVE!

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 our DIY wrapping papers and an eco-friendly gift, and they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Small stacks of packages wrapped with our recycled DIY phonebook wrapping paper sitting on a wooden board.

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 DIY is SO EASY, such a good holiday project for kids, and 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 When it’s pages from that already out-of-date enormous phonebook brick?? Not so much!

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

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*



  • 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 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.

Our DIY wrapping paper laid out with holiday package supplies.

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 on watercolor paper instead of using paint to make DIY melted crayon wrapping paper!

Small stacks of packages wrapped with our recycled DIY phonebook wrapping paper sitting on a wooden board.

More eco-friendly holiday crafts 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 to make your own colorful DIY holiday garland – if you can tie a knot, you can make this beauty in under an hour!

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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