How many rolls of Christmas wrapping paper does your family use every year? How much do you spend on wrapping paper? Unfortunately, most wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in the landfill.
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One of my favorite parts of Christmas is looking at all the wrapped presents under the tree. The shiny paper and crisp outlines of the boxes were so beautiful to me. Every year my brothers and I would tear the paper off and throw it aside. I never really thought about what happened to the paper after our gifts were unveiled. As time went by and I grew older, I began to notice how wasteful wrapping paper was. After Christmas with my family, we would throw out a bag or two stuffed full of wrapping paper. Then on to my husband’s family and there was another bag. After that, on to his grandparents, and both of my grandparents’ houses. That’s another 5-6 trashbag full of wrapping paper. Just between both of our families and extended families, there were at least 7-10 trash bags full of wrapping paper!
So much waste on a single day. Now add that to your family. To each of your friend’s families. Now we can start to see the big picture and how much we waste on a single day of the year. None of this could be or was recycled. Everything was going to the landfill. I decided I wanted no part of that. I wanted to find an alternative to wrapping paper. Something reusable and still cute. Luckily, the Japanese had this problem solved over 1,000 years ago.
Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese art of cloth wrapping. It was originally used to help transport clothing from the public bath houses and then later used by merchants to transport and decorate gifts. Today it primarily used to wrap bento lunch boxes in Japan. It is starting to become more popular again since people, like me, have decided to look for a way to wrap gifts with reusable materials such as cloth.
How to make reusable gift wrap
Before we get into how to do furoshiki wraps, let talk about how to prepare cloth for gift wrapping. It is very, very easy and can even be done without sewing.
What you will need:
- Cloth (preferably something natural like cotton)
- Pinking Shears
- Thread & Needle (optional)
1. Lay out your cloth
You want primarily squares. Rectangles can work and, depending on what you are wrapping and the size of the cloth, you may have to use a rectangle. Bigger is better when it comes to cutting out cloth for gifts. You will be limited by the width of your cloth so always opt for the larger sizes.
2. Cut out a square
To determine how to get a square in your cloth is the same as when you are making a square with a piece of standard printer paper. Take one corner and fold it up towards the top of the cloth until you have a triangle. Use your pinking shears to cut out the square.
3. Trim the edges
Now you will want to go around the entirety of the cloth with the pinking shears. This helps keep the cloth from unraveling.
4. Hem the edges (optional)
Another option would be to just hem the edges instead of using a pinking shear.
How to do furoshiki wrapping
There are many different ways you can wrap an item using cloth. Just search “furoshiki wrapping techniques” and you’ll find dozens of ways you can wrap things. Some are really easy and some are rather complicated but pretty. Here are the top three that I primarily use.
Yotsu Musubi- for square items
This can be used with just about anything but works best with square items. It’s rather simple but knowing how to do a square knot is helpful for most of these wraps. The yotsu musubi wrap is often tied twice at the end, though I only did it once above. It just depends on how much cloth you have available and if you like it better with one tie or two.
Sao Tsutsumi- for rectangular items
Sao tsutsumi wrap is very pretty and great if you’re wrapping books. This wrap can be done with a rectangular piece of fabric but most of these wraps work better with square fabric cuts.
Bin Tsutsumi 2- for two bottles
This one is one of my favorites to do. Bottles are so hard to wrap without having to put them in a box! Unfortunately, you end up having an idea of what’s under the fabric as it very clearly looks like bottles. But you still have some mystery. Is it wine? water? empty bottles? Who knows! Looks at bin tsutsumi 1 if you want to wrap just one bottle.
If you have pets…expect this to happen…
Furoshiki wrapping is a great eco-friendly alternative to disposable wrapping paper. It does take some time and practice to get the wraps down but it is well worth it.
Do you use reusable gift wrap? Comment below and share your favorite furoshiki wrap!