Wrapping with Fabric: A Wrapping Paper Alternative


Wrapping with FabricI’ve known about some wrapping paper alternatives for a while now. When we were little, my aunt sometimes wrapped our gifts using the comic section from the newspaper. Wrapping with craft paper and twine has become rustic-chic. But I wasn’t introduced to another giftwrap alternative until I moved to Japan: the art of wrapping with fabric, or furoshiki.

I first noticed furoshiki in department stores and gift shops. Many packaged items, especially common gifts or souvenirs, came pre-wrapped in beautiful and seasonal fabrics. At gift shops, I also noticed displays of fabric squares with a variety of patterns. At first, I thought they were napkins or wall tapestries. Later, I realized they were furoshiki cloths. As I made more Japanese friends, I was given many gifts artistically wrapped in furoshiki fabric.

Alternative Holiday Giftwrap

Why Wrap with Fabric?

There are so many benefits to wrapping with fabric rather than traditional wrapping paper.

  1. It looks and feels more special and luxurious to receive a fabric-wrapped gift.
  2. It’s eco-friendly, as it can be reused over and over again. The fabric can also be used for other things by you or the gift recipient: a tote bag, lunch bag, pillow coverings, decorative wraps, table cloths, picnic blankets, and more.
  3. It’s fun! If you enjoy thinking out of the box or doing simple crafts, then you might enjoy the art of wrapping with fabric.

Furoshiki Cloth

Where to Buy Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth

  • You can search for “furoshiki wrapping cloth” on Google or Amazon and find many traditional Japanese options.
  • You can buy a fabric of your choice from any craft store, as long as it looks good on both sides. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own reversible furoshiki cloth with seamed edges. Furoshiki come in many sizes, from 18-inch squares to 91-inch squares, depending on what you need to wrap.
  • You can also use other fabric items to wrap your gifts such as scarves, play silks, tea towels, or table cloths. That way, the gift recipient has two gifts in one.

Wrapping Paper Alternative

How to Wrap with Fabric

You can find many tutorials online or in books. I really like the book titled Wrapping with Fabric: Your Complete Guide to Furoshiki by Etsuko Yamada. It shows you various ways to wrap gifts of different shapes and sizes with a single piece of cloth and a few knots.

Below is a simple way to wrap the average box with one cloth and one knot. Here, I used a 35″ x 35″ (wrinkled) play silk as my wrapping paper alternative. It was a little large for this box, but I think it still works.

Step 1:

Lay your fabric square down on a flat surface in a diamond shape. Place your box in the middle.

How to Wrap With Fabric: Step 1

Step 2:

Bring the bottom corner up and over the box. Tuck the corner under the box.

How to Wrap With Fabric: Step 2

Step 3:

Bring the top corner down and over the box. Tuck the corner under the box.

How to Wrap With Fabric: Step 3aHow to Wrap With Fabric: Step 3b

Step 4:

Bring the left corner and right corner towards the middle of the box and tie them together with a simple knot.

How to Wrap With Fabric: Step 4

Step 5:

If you’d like to make it more festive, you can place some decorative greenery, a card, or an ornament under the knot.

How to Wrap With Fabric: Step 5

I’m definitely still an amateur in fabric wrapping, so I need to spend some more time on making it look neater. In the meantime, I don’t think my toddler or husband will care!

If you want to decrease your waste this holiday season or if you’re looking for ways to make your gift wrap a little more special, I hope you give wrapping with fabric a try!

Want more wrapping alternatives? Check out these Creative Holiday Wrapping Ideas from another Coastal Bend mom!