For centuries in Japan and Korea gifts have been wrapped in fabric. Find out why this ancient Eastern tradition is now gaining popularity in the West.
1. It’s faster
You may see some beautiful fabric wrapped gifts on Instagram and Pinterest, but I’ll let you into a secret… many of those gorgeous gifts actually just use super simple wrapping techniques which take under 2 minutes. That’s right, an Insta worthy gift in less time than it takes to go find scissors and sticky tape.
2. Fabric wrap is Zero Waste
In the UK alone, estimates are that we use 227,000 miles of paper gift wrap each year, plus 40 million rolls of sticky tape. And if that wrapping paper is glittery, or foil printed, or is the type that springs back in your hand, it’s unlikely to be recyclable either. Big companies are increasingly starting to reject glittery and non-recyclable gift wrap, which is a step in the right direction. But even with recyclable gift wrap, there’s an environmental footprint. It takes an awful lot of water and energy to mix and mash all that old paper down and re-form into new paper. Good quality fabric gift wrap will last for years and can be reused and re-gifted again and again.
3. It’s not just gift wrap
Fabric wraps can be used as makeup bags - spread them out to see all your lippies and shadows, then tie back up into a bag again when you’re done, no more rummaging. Or use your fabric wrap as scarf; tied into a handbag; a mini picnic blanket/table cloth; storage bag for phone chargers and cables; or a home décor accessory. The ways to re-purpose are endless. You’re only limited by your imagination, and that can always be fixed with a quick google…
4. It’s easier
Because fabric is so much softer than paper, it flows and folds round gifts like a dream. No awkward corners tearing the wrapping, or bunching of paper round oddly shaped gifts. I think you need just 3 simple techniques under your belt to master any shape present i)1 for wrapping a rectangle, (a book / box) ii) something cylindrical (a candle / cake tin / cookie jar), and 3 for wrapping a bottle (wine bottle, toiletries). Just pick the nearest shape and you’ll soon have a fab looking gift.
5. It’s an extra present
Even if inspiration has failed you and you’ve resorted to buying Aunty Jane yet another box of chocolates for her Birthday, with a pretty fabric gift wrap as a part of the present your gift looks thoughtful, and just see reason number 3 above for all those ideas Aunty Jane can re-purpose her gift wrap for. Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to get your gift wrap back on your next Birthday.
6. You can get creative
Yes, fabric gift wrapping can be super simple and super quick. But if you want to expand your wrapping repertoire, there are hundreds of extra wrapping techniques you can use, to make neat pleats, intricate knots and extravagant bows. Or just let your creativity really flow and free-style. You can even use foliage and flowers tucked in for extra effect.
7. Easy to store
If you love organising and have (or dream of attaining) Marie Kondo style cupboards and drawers, you’ll love fabric gift wraps. They fold neatly away anywhere. I have loads and they all fit in one tiny drawer. No more long rolls of paper gift wrap poking out from behind the wardrobe, or rolling out of the cupboard, or wherever else you try and stash them. Just a flat pile of neatly folded fabric, and you can even organise by colour if you’re a true organisational adherent.
8. Build a family tradition
Every home has them, maybe you have a few treasured decorations that go on the Christmas tree every year. In our house we have a Birthday banner (nothing expensive, I actually think it was just from a supermarket), but if it didn’t hang over the fireplace every family Birthday, my boys would be so disappointed. Keep a few special fabric gifts wraps which you really love, or have special significance for you, just for your family’s presents.
Remember, you don’t have to switch to fabric gift wrap all at once. You might just try out fabric gift wrap for your eco conscious friend first. Or decide just to keep your fabric gift wraps for your own household and see how you go.
But I bet soon you’ll be wondering why you ever wrapped in anything other than fabric.