I enjoy wrapping gifts beautifully. But gift wrap and ribbons always seem overpriced to me. Where are some cost effective places to shop for these items?
I buy all mine from Paper Mart. They have good prices on many other things too!
Here is a link that might be useful: Paper Mart
The various dollar stores have supplies, too.
Make your own.... I convert all that junk mail we get into homemade paper (lots of how-to information on-line; and a good use for an old or garage-sale purchased blender). I make my own gift tags, envelopes, greeting cards, book covers, decorative arts, etc., from homemade paper.
Instead of bows and ribbons, add some natural embellishments like twigs, dried rose buds, cinnamon sticks, dried orange/apple slices, evergreen sprays, pine cones, holly, acorns, eucalyptus..... Attach a homemade ornament, hand-crocheted doily, ribbon roses.... Inexpensive jute/twine, twisted paper and raffia all make great additions.
Buy it after Christmas when it is 50-75% off. Look around, you will find that some of the paper is generic enough to use year round. You can also find a lot of curly ribbon and the wire edged fabric ribbon on sale then too in Christmas and non-Christmas colors and patterns.
If you use curling ribbon, I think the larger spools (the kind used by balloon places) are your best bet--they cost several dollars to buy, but contain virtually a lifetime supply. I've got several different spools of different colors, have been using them for many many years, and I don't think I've ever used one up.
Check for the little independent places--we have an independent dollar store that has great gift wrap, ribbon, etc. Theres another place thats only open about 4 days a week, that sells artificial flowers, paper/party goods, and whatever other odd lots of things they get their hands on--they have an entire aisle of ribbon by the yard at unbelievable prices. I think, if you look hard enough, you can find little places like that.
Lots of time, rather than waste money on gift wrap and ribbo that will jsut be tossed after the gift is opened, I make fabric tote bags. Especially when I'm giving an afgan or child's quilt. That way the bag can be used over and over. For the same reason, when I'm using paper wrap, I lean toward paper gift bags--most people save them to reuse, so I figure they're much more worth the price than throw-away wrapping paper. Can't recall the last time I actually wrapped a gift with paper and scotch tape, actually.
Everybody says, buy Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas. Well, I've done it and it wasn't useful. I don't have a proper storage place for paper, so I just stacked the rolls of paper in a closet. It got beat up for a year, when I went to use it I found it all wrecked with tears and creases. I ended up having to discard half of each roll-just plain dumb! In the future, I would only buy if I had a proper way to keep the paper clean and dry, where it wouldn't be disturbed every time someone grabs for an umbrella.