I’ve been on a 3-year campaign against traditional wrapping paper. Here’s why: when we lived in the mountains, during lockdown, trash and recycling pickup was tricky. More often than not we had to load up, haul away, and pay to dump anything that didn’t fit into our bins. It’s an incredibly confronting exercise that forced us to look at what we produce – and packaging became enemy #1. Listen, a lot of packaging around the holidays is unavoidable (and recyclable), but it’s not just that – wrapping paper can be SO expensive, just to be ripped open, cleaned all up, and thrown away!! On Christmas morning you (we) end up dealing with garbage bags full of ripped-up paper all over your house and while it’s not the biggest deal it seems kinda nuts that we all just go along with this tradition of spending a lot of money to wrap up a ton of gifts that just get torn open and thrown away in ONE DAY!!! Sure, I want to create less waste (and some papers are recyclable), but I also just love common sense and this just doesn’t make sense to me. So this year I’m making a swap (and feel so passionately about it that I’m dedicating a whole Saturday post to it). Now, this is NOT new – It’s Japanese Furoshiki wrapping cloths and it’s been around for 3000 years and is such a lovely, beautiful way to give gifts. Let’s deep dive into how to take this tradition and integrate it into our holiday this year (and save money and waste).
I had seen these before obviously, but it wasn’t until I saw these wrapping cloths on Amber Interiors Etsy Creator Collab that I actually bought a bunch. I wrapped a few presents in them and they were so easy, so pretty and I was like, ‘”That’s it…this is the future of wrapping paper”. The cloths I bought came in a few different sizes, were square, thin but busy (to mask what is underneath). I think that is key – I tried doing this with thicker fabric like velvet and it didn’t work as well – thin-ish, floppy, and colorful/busy works the best.
You simply lay the box diagonal within the square and tie two ends together, double knot them, then pull the other two together (taught) and double knot those.
I shoved in some cedar cut from our yard and a simple tag and y’all I think it looks pretty dang cute. Now a few caveats:
- Yes, these can be an initial expensive investment. My goal isn’t to necessarily give these away but keep these “in the family” per se.
- I also bought a bunch of linen yardage (also not cheap, around $15/yard) and ripped them into squares. I like the frayed edge.
- Making them would be very, very easy if you aren’t into the ripped-edge look. It’s just a seam. So you could buy 4 yards of $7 seersucker, gingham, or plaid and make 10-12 of them.
- They don’t work for all presents (the bigger ones require substantial yardage), and some more odd shapes don’t work as well either. We are supplementing with craft paper (which I love) and reusable bags (craft paper or patterns).
- My goal is to have a stack of them that I keep with the other holiday decor, are pulled out once a year, and then put back when we store everything. I’ll grow my collection over the years. They are mostly for our own family, kids’ “internal” gifts if you will.
- For gifts that I am giving away (neighbors, colleagues, etc), I might splurge on pretty wrapping paper (Target has a great collection with small artists this year like this one) and act out my wrapping paper fantasies (I do love a good ribbon move). So this isn’t a full-on replacement, but a pretty supplement that I’m very excited about.
- Vintage or thrifted fabric is PERFECT for this. I’ll be adding to my collection and because I’m very picky aesthetically, I’ll likely curate them to look good together. I’m VERY excited about this potential.
Again, if you are crafty at all you can buy yardage of thin, colorful fabric (not too thin so you can see underneath) and make a bunch yourself (just squares!). But we wanted to round up some places that are selling online. If I were more entrepreneurial I wouldn’t have written this post and instead spent the time designing my own line of wrapping cloths – there is obviously a hole in the market.
1. Blue Checkered Furoshiki Wrapping Cloths | 2. Foundation Adults Fabric Gift Wrap Set | 3. Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth | 4. Linen Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth | 5. Plaid Furoshiki Fabric Gift Wrap | 6. Large Gift Wrap | 7. Reusable Cloth Wrap | 8. Blue Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth | 9. Green Checkered Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth
Again I want to give full credit to the original inspiration – we didn’t invent this. These are inspired by Japanese Furoshiki wrapping cloths. It’s such a beautiful and chic way to be earth-friendly, reduce waste, and save some money long term. It’s an initial investment that will absolutely pay off and mixed with white or natural craft paper I think will look so pretty. I’m excited to curate a few fabrics that will look good together (because yes, that stuff still makes my eyeballs happy).
Thanks for supporting this year’s campaign towards common sense gift-giving practices:) I’m obviously not perfect when it comes to waste (no one can be) but this is a pretty easy swap that I think simply looks really beautiful. I’ll be doing it as much as I can when it makes sense, and even better I’m going to start collecting vintage fabrics – We all have our pet peeves, this one is mine. Who is into it???
*Photos by Kaitlin Green
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