HOME & LIVING
10/31/2011 02:55 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

New Uses For Gift Wrap (VIDEO)

With the holidays just around the corner, there's bound to be an excess of, well, everything. One such item is gift wrap. We've all been there when we're reusing gift wrap from the previous year on top of new rolls. Here's a clever solution: When it comes to leftover gift wrap, don't keep it stashed away in a drawer. Instead, use it to make instant placemats that are unique and visually captivating.

Entertaining expert Elaine Griffin suggests laminating or applying clear contact paper, making them perfect for big group gatherings or get-togethers that involve small children. If you're truly in a pinch for time, you can also just cut the gift wrap to whatever placemat size you want and use it as is. You can dress up the table by mixing two patterns of placemats and alternating them for every other seat or, for a more graphic approach, have a different gift wrap placemat for each spot for a fun and cheery look. if you're looking to jazz up your table with more than just individual placemats, the same technique can be used to create runners. You can either use a long one for the table or create two or three shorter ones that are evenly spaced apart.

For a more utilitarian approach, cut them to the size of specific drawers and use them as lining. Or if you're up for a bigger project, use gift wrap to line the backing inside a bookshelf. Simply cut a piece of gift wrap and contact paper to size, apply the contact paper to the back of the gift wrap and smooth it over the back surface of the bookshelf.

And finally, gift wrap doesn't have to be relegated to just surfaces. An artful alternative for making the most out of leftover gift wrap is to frame them. It can be cut to size and placed in a frame just like wallpaper. Group a few of these frames together and hang them on a wall to create an instant focal point in a room that's unexpected yet easy on the eyes.

Want even more ideas for wrapping paper? Check out these great stories...

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