As Christmas approaches this year I’m planning ahead beyond the gifts I’m buying. I’m talking about the environmental footprint I, we, leave behind. Mindful of the amount of waste created by the tons of paper wrap each year that can’t be recycled, I’m turning to a sustainable, reusable gift wrap with thousands of years of history.
This traditional Japanese art of wrapping cloth has been used for more than 1,200 years under various guises. It’s originally thought these fabric wraps were used to protect valuable for emperors and the very rich, however, by the 1300s they were used in bathhouses to bundles up bathers’ clothes. It was in then they picked up the name Furoshiki – “bath spread”.
The art of gift-giving or is an integral part of Japanese culture and can be viewed as rude and disrespectful not to wrap and beautifully present it first. If you’ve ever visited the country you’ll no doubt have seen stores dedicated entirely to “tsutsumu” – the art of gift wrap, with endless fabrics to choose from.
What I love about this eco-friendly wrapping cloth is that you can reuse what you have at home. You could repurpose a cotton or linen pillowcase, fabric from an old dress, a tea-towel even. And the best part is that you’re giving the gift of gift wrap as an extra, to be reused over again. There are also reusable Furoshiki wraps that you can buy. The wraps used in this post are from Projekt Henri. I used the Traditional Tie in my photos below.
How To Tie FUROSHIKI Fabric Wrap
Place your gift in the centre of your fabric diagonally so the flat sides face the corners.
Fold over two opposite corners flat over each other.
Tuck in the edges of the other two opposite corners, bring them together in the centre and tie with a simple knot.
If you’d like to add am embellishment on top, tuck in a sprig of greenery inside the knot.
I’ve created a Furoshiki wrap tutorial reel (here), so you can see how it works.
Simple Roll Tie:
Start by placing your gift at one corner edge of your fabric square.
Tuck the corner over the gift and roll it over until the box is fully wrapped.
Gather the remaining two edges into the centre and tie them.
How To Make A Furoshiki Fabric Wrap
Furoshiki can be made from a variety of fabrics including silk, cotton and other synthetic types but it’s best to choose the cloth to support the gift you’re wrapping. Generally, a sturdy, cotton that isn’t see-though is perfect so long as it’s soft enough to tie easily. I love to use plain fabrics but there are endless possibilities for pattern and colour. Whatever catches your eye.
The most common size is square and between 70-90cm wide. Your fabric should be approximately three times larger than your gift.
No-Sew Fabric Wrap:
If you want to avoid sewing, find a fabric least likely to fray such as jersey (unless you like the look) and use a pair of pinking sheers to create a crimped edge around your material.
Easy-sew Fabric Wrap:
To ensure your fabric doesn’t fray, hemming the edges is your best bet. In my opinion, it also looks more intentional as a separate gift.
Simply cut your fabric into the desired square approx one inch larger than desired. Fold over an inch of fabric on each side and press with an iron. Fold the outer edge in half underneath to face the inside crease and press it again. With your hem pressed in place (and pinned if you need to) stitch a simple running or zigzag stitch along the edge of your pressed edge. That’s your hem complete and your Furoshiki is ready to use.
I absolutely love the level of creativity involved in this, from choosing the perfect fabrics to the effect you can achieve from a few simple knots. The best thing of all is the guilt-free feeling you get knowing your eco-friendly Christmas gift wrap won’t end up in landfill. I’ll be making lots more of these in the coming weeks, ready to put under the tree come Christmas. Do share yours with me over on Instagram if you try it out!
You might also want to check out my post 3 simple ways to wrap a Christmas present. I love adding foliage to my gifts to personalise them. This year I’ll be using dried flowers instead of my usual eucalyptus and pine branches. The reason for that is of course, that I unfortunately I won’t be seeing family this year, so I’ll be sending gifts to them and want to make sure they’re even more special that normal.
The reusable wraps in this post were gifted by Projekt Henri.