Christmas wrapping ideas

ZERO WASTE: Look after the environment this Christmas by wrapping your presents in an old bed sheet or any other type of cloth. With a few added extras the finished product can look quite stunning. Photo: Shutterstock
ZERO WASTE: Look after the environment this Christmas by wrapping your presents in an old bed sheet or any other type of cloth. With a few added extras the finished product can look quite stunning. Photo: Shutterstock

Reduce, reuse and recycle.

Most of us know the three Rs of environmental conservation, but many of us are unaware that there's an easy way to apply them when wrapping our Christmas presents this year.

Enter eco-fabric wrapping.

Derived from the more than 1200-year-old Japanese tradition furoshiki, cloth wrapping has become increasingly popular in western culture.

It's quick and easy if you know what you are doing, and best of all the fabric can be used time and time again.

If you are getting into eco-fabric wrapping for the first time this year, don't rush to your nearest fabric store, instead search for scarves or tea towels in op-shops, find fabric at second-hand stores, or cut up an old bed sheet or calico.

Pre-loved clothing can also work, but keep in mind you will have to cut it to resemble a squarish shape, and you may even have to hem the seams.

For smaller gifts, you may even be able to get away with using offcuts from previous sewing projects, so don't forget to check what you have stashed away.

When choosing a fabric, make sure it isn't too thick, as it will become too hard to tie, but at the same time, make sure it's strong enough to hold your gift together.

If the only material you have on hand is a thick one, then you could tie it up with some natural hemp cord or twine instead.

It's still eco-friendly but will save your fingers hours of fiddling to try and tie a knot.

The general rule of thumb for sizes is that the object should be about one-third of the furoshiki's diagonal line.

Again, if your piece of material is too small, then a quick fix is to tie it up with some string.

And now for the fun part - decorating the wrapped up gift.

Once you have your gift all wrapped up, you can add your personal touch with some fancy name tags, foliage, and even some dried fruit slices or cinnamon sticks.

Try adding some holly, eucalyptus or pine to give it that real Christmas feel.

If you are using recycled bedsheets or calico, you can also decorate these using dyes, fabric paint and fabric pens before starting the wrapping process.

Ensure your fabric is completely dry again before you place your gift in it.

While we see more cloth wrapping under our Christmas trees, it's still a relatively new concept in Australia, so don't forget to include instructions on how to tie a furoshiki as part of your gift or give the gift-receiver a demonstration.

This will ensure your fabric has a high chance of being passed on year after year and spreading an eco-friendly fabric wrapping message on its journey.

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