16 DIY Gift Wrap Ideas for Books

Sometimes the effort that goes into wrapping a present feels just as important as the gift itself—especially when books are involved. While it’s easy to wrap a heavy square or rectangular package, these gifts are quickly identified as books, which can take away from the surprise and thrill of gifting. Time to explore the art of fun and adventurous gift presentations.

There are many easy ways to add a personal touch to your gift book and get extra points for creativity. Even better, designing your own gift wrap or using recycled materials is also good for the environment. Check out some of our favorite DIY gift wrapping ideas.

DIY Gift Wrap with Goodies

Adding a small, meaningful object or ornament to your package is always better than a bow, and it’s super easy. Bonus points if your add-on relates to the book theme or category.

1. Add a toy animal

Top off your gift with a tiny stuffed animal or charm of a character from the book. It’s a playful way to accent children’s books, pet photo books, or any collection that features wild creatures.

2. Spice it up with herbs or plants

Who needs store-bought ribbon when you can make your own DIY gift bow that smells good too? A bundle of fresh herbs, evergreen trimmings, or flowers can make a beautiful gift even more appealing. Try this gift wrap tip for cookbooks, gardening books, recipe journals, or nature photography books.

3. Garnish with tiny treasures from the kitchen

If you’re gifting a cookbook, try adding cooking or baking utensils for embellishment. Think wine charms, measuring spoons, an egg timer, or a wooden spatula. You can’t go wrong with two great gifts in one.

4. Use a photograph as a gift tag or teaser

Turn that special snapshot from a birthday, holiday, or road trip with friends into a unique photo card. It’s a perfect way to personalize your gift wrap and hint at the book inside.

5. Make a gift topper from edible treats

Whether you’re gifting a book of recipes, holiday photos, or travel memories, there’s a way to work tasty treats into the packaging. From homemade cookies and candies to tiny jam jars or liqueur bottles, add a food item that ties into your gift and they’ll get twice the joy when opening it.

Make Your Own Gift Wrap Paper

6. Turn coloring pages into gift wrap

Take a cue from coloring books, and use a black marker to draw a design on a large sheet of paper. Use your playful pattern to wrap the book, and add a bundle of colored pencils or crayons on top. Artists of all ages will enjoy making (and unwrapping) this homemade paper.

7. Create hand-stamped DIY wrapping paper

It’s easier than you might think to apply a traditional stamping technique in a modern way. Using a basic ink pad, stamp a pencil eraser to create polka dots on blank paper, or cut out shapes from a sponge to make textured prints. Your homemade wrapping paper will be one of a kind (just like the gift inside).

8. Wrap it up in a map

Nothing says travel photo book or personalized travel journal like using a map of the featured country or city to wrap up your gift. Maybe you even want to draw a personalized map with special landmarks. You can finish it off with string, ribbons, or a mini flag.

9. Use stencils to personalize your design

Premade letter stencils give you a quick way to embellish plain wrapping paper with a message of your own, using ink, paint, or colored pencils. Use cookie cutters as a shortcut for making holiday patterns. Want to get fancier? Cut out your own paper or cardboard stencils for tracing.

Mix Up Your Gift Wrap Materials

Instead of spending money on fancy gift toppers, get creative and “upcycle” the colorful odds and ends around your house. You just might surprise yourself (and the gift recipient) in the process.

10. Use fabric or cloth bags for packaging

Turn those textile scraps or a cloth bag into a stylish and durable wrapping for a custom gift. You can easily dress up plain fabric with paint, beads, ribbons, or hand-stitched designs.

11. Find alternative papers or bows

You don’t have to use the funny papers or the Times, but those are cheap and easy options. Why not color in some graph paper? For an elevated DIY gift wrap look, wrap a cookbook in craft paper (as a nod to the butcher paper they use at the deli), then tie it up with twine. Colorful string, thread, buttons, pipe cleaners, and tissue paper can all be used to make crafty dots, bows, and flower accents.

12. Create a clue with words

Keep it playful and spell out a clue for the recipient that refers to the book title or topic. Glue extra Scrabble tiles to the wrapping paper, or create your own lettering out of paper, fabric, or paint. Use EXPLORE for a travel book, DREAM for notebooks and journals, or LOVE for wedding books and anniversary albums.

13. Replace the ribbon with a filmstrip

Here’s a fun way to embellish any kind of film or photography book—whether it’s a family photo album or a limited edition made by the artist. Use 35mm film in place of ribbon to create a festive and book-appropriate bow.

Think Outside the Box

There is no limit to all the fun, creative ways you can disguise the size, shape, and heft of your gift book. Plus, you can reuse boxes and craft supplies from your own closet—which is good for your wallet and the environment.

14. Hide the gift book in a product box or container

Your packaging could be as simple as a tin canister or laptop box, or as innovative as a hollowed-out book that fits the real one inside. Paperback books give you more opportunities to camouflage your gift, like rolling them in a poster tube.

15. Create a cardboard cutout in a different shape

Cut out two identically shaped pieces of cardboard to create a “sandwich” for your gift book. Basic triangles or circles can be fun, or you can get creative with an animal, plant, or abstract shape. Place the book inside, wrap your unique design, and no one will ever guess it is a book.

16. Include a second “decoy” gift

Wrap a home décor book inside a throw blanket or accent pillow, tuck a cookbook inside a tablecloth or place a small book inside a vase—anything to create a surprise reveal for the recipient.

When it comes to homemade wrapping paper and surprise gift wrap ideas, the possibilities are endless. The next time you’re sharing a book for a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, you know what to do for that next-level gifting experience.


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