Not only have we been invited to our first ever zero-waste birthday party, but I am hosting the Make it From Scratch Carnival next week, so I just had to come up with a way to make zero waste wrapping paper from scratch.
Now of course, if you want to, you could cut up old sheets, use recyclable paper, or buy some inexpensive fabric to use as zero waste wrapping, but I like to go overboard and wanted to be as zero waste as possible. So my zero waste wrapping “paper” is actually a recipe for dying play silks (yes, I know I’ve blogged about dying play silks and/or wool here, here and here) with all natural dye made from beets, water, and alum.
2 45 inch square undyed play silks
1 small bunch of bull’s blood or other red beets, greens removed
1 2 oz container of alum (you can buy this in bigger containers, which is cheaper, but I just had some grocery-store variety alum on hand from pickle-making last year)
1 large glass bowl
1 non-reactive spoon
1 grater (or food processor)
1. Put beets into a pot and cover completely with water.
2. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes or until soft.
3. While beets boil, pour some additional boiling water over the play silks in the glass bowl. This allows any residues to be rinsed away and wet silk takes on a more even color.
4. Grate beets and return them to the boiling water. Boil for an additional 30 minutes.
5. Add 2 ounces of alum to the dye and dissolve.
6. Run dye through a strainer and add strained dye to the glass bowl & play silks. Allow to sit 1 hour.
7. Rinse silks with cold water until water runs clear and hang to dry.
8. Wrap presents in silk and secure with a (reusable!) ribbon or tie silk itself into a bow, depending on the size of your package.
9. Compost the remaining beet pulp & dye, recycle your alum container, and that’s it, you’re zero waste!