While very pretty, wrapping paper can be costly and is generally only used once. An alternative to the traditional gift paper is to wrap your gift in a reusable item such as a cloth tote, a baby blanket, or a flower pot; you get the idea. This is a guide about reusable gift wrap ideas.
I am really excited about this one and wanted to share this with my Thrifty Fun Family!
I have never heard of Furoshiki before and this is the absolute coolest! Not only is it a green way to wrap gifts (the cloth itself being an extra gift), but it can also be used as a purse/carrying case!
The tutorial says to use a piece of square fabric, but you can mold/fold even a rectangular piece in to a square. Hope you get as excited about this as me :-)
The first link is a video tutorial, the second link is a PDF file that gives several other gift item wrapping instructions and the third link is the history of Furoshiki
Source: A girlfriend sent me the video and I googled more about Furoshiki.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
Editor's Note: Two of the links did not work, so we have included a Wikipedia entry on Furoshiki
At the risk of sounding cynical, I wanted to make an observation. While I appreciate that a furoshiki is an ancient Japanese method of carting things about, I don't think it is particularly amazing.
Doesn't it come naturally to enclose items in a piece of cloth if no other container were available? People all over do versions of this, including children and hobos! Farmers carried their lunches into the fields tied in a bandanna, which then became their napkin. I've always bundled my laundry into a big towel or bedsheet to carry it.
Sorry to be a party pooper, but I find it astounding that now there are stores set up simply to sell colorful squares of 100% cotton so the buyer can tie the corners in knots to manipulate them into bags.
Maybe most incredible of all - did you notice the packaging of these furoshikis when the customers purchased them? Looked to me like they were placed into glossy black bags, and then those black bags were put into a paper bag with string handles. What is THAT all about?? Nothing very "green" about all that packaging of an item inspired by minimal packaging!
And in my opinion, a hobo bag made out of a square of cloth would be more trouble than it's worth to use regularly as a purse. With no structure to it, everything would end up lost in the bottom beneath the long leftover ends and the knots. Sounds charming, but not really practical.
It's not that I don't think wrapping a gift in a scarf, etc., is a good idea because I do. But it's not a new idea, and people have done it for many generations. I just don't think we need "furoshiki stores" nor do we need to twist cloth up into impractical shapes and pretend it's a great new fashion idea!
OK, you can tell me off now for my less than enthusiastic comments!
Cynicism is allowed and you're definitely entitled to your opinions, mirador ;-)
In responce to tying your lunch in a bandana. You are correct as to the practical side of wrapping things in cloth, what you missed is the art of doing the mundane with beauty and style.
I've been collecting inexpensive cloth tote bags for gifts. I buy these tote bags at grocery stores and thrift shops. They cost $1 or $2. I put birthday and Christmas gifts inside the reusable tote, instead of a gift bag or wrapping paper.
I love the holidays, but I really don't like wrapping gifts and bags can get expensive to buy.
You can use gift bags not directly related to the occasion with some ingenuity. I cut out candy images from an advertising mailing and put them on non-Christmas bags to make them more festive.
My daughter in law has been going through the granddaughter's toys and arranging them by type, like Barbie's, etc. She purchased some plastic bins of different sizes for this task.
Give your gifts in this huge wow factor container.
By Pretty cheap jewelry from California
This a great way to wrap odd shapped items. Also can be a great way to get the kids involved in helping with gifts.
Sustainable, reusable shopping bags, that all stores now offer with their logo, make great and very reasonable gift bags. The grocery bag costs $2.00 or less, decorator gift bags can cost as much as $7.00 to $10.00. The best part is the grocery bag can be reused many more time than paper. The proposed tax on traditional paper or plastic grocery bags makes this gift idea even more economical.
Source:My own idea. It started out as a joke with a Good Will bag for my sister's birthday.
By bgd48 from WI
I've actually done this myself, it's a great idea and everyone needs reusable bags! :) Thanks for sharing (06/11/2009)
I have done this several times. First time was when I bought a baby gift at BabysRUs and saw their reuseable bag. Bought the bag and put the gift in it and gave it to the new mother at the shower. I told my daughter and she's done it also since then. Great at a wedding shower too.
Target's bags are really pretty. Makes a lot of sense and saves money to boot. (06/20/2010)
I have done this for years, first with the paper and now with the plastic. If I don't care for the logo, I make something fitting and glue it on. Looks better than bought! (06/20/2010)
Great Idea! I've been making my own reuseable grocery bags from crocheting, making some out of Tshirts and other things which would normally be given away or tossed. Your idea has given me a way to share what I am making. Two gifts for one! (06/20/2010)
deethundercloud, making and gifting Reusable shopping bags is a great idea!
This is a great idea. I am a reuser at heart; can't believe I never thought of this. Especially good if you are bringing groceries to someone's home to cook or bake something for them. (06/20/2010)
I can't claim to have done this before, but wish I had thought of it and I will do it now because it is a fab idea! (06/20/2010)
"Great mind's think alike" ; ) I'm been doing this myself for sometime. Perhaps others will catch on as well. Nice to see it posted. (06/20/2010)
Great idea! I have begun to see some stores don't have their actual logo on the cheaper bags. Gonna do this one! (06/20/2010)
Such a good idea. I will definitely use this tip! Actually, I quit buying the gift bags last year. I started buying the clearance tote bags and started putting the gifts in those. They can be reused and are great for picnics, overnight bags, book bags or whatever and cost the same as a gift bag. I hated paying $5-10 for gift bags, using them once and having them thrown away. This store bags are an even better idea. (06/20/2010)
Three thumbs up. Thank's for posting this great idea. (06/20/2010)
Have you ever heard of a "furoshiki"? Basically it is a square of soft fabric - like a large bandanna - that can be used in many ways for carrying items.
I have used this in various ways over the years, after learning of it during the 4 years I lived in Japan. Daily, I use one to wrap my lunch. I simply set my lunch items in the middle of a large cotton square, and tie up the opposite corners, leaving a little bit of slack for a handle. When I get to the cafeteria, I can open it up and make a placemat, and then when lunch is over I can fold it up and tuck it in my pocket. It is easy to throw in the wash if it gets soiled, and very lightweight. When I used to have to go to the laundromat, I would bundle my laundry in a very large square, leaving enough slack to sling it over my shoulder. The cloth could be thrown right in the wash with everything else, and then I would spread it out, fold the laundry into it, and carry everything home.
I have made them for people and used them as giftwrap, so the wrapping was something useful to them also.
The link below shows tying diagrams for carrying everything from watermelons to wine bottles - all with just a square of cloth.
By Regina from Rochester, NY
That's really cool! To think that I could have one to match my outfits if I wanted! Or color coded for different uses -
How big of squares would I need for the different purposes? Thanks ! (07/19/2007)
There is no one set size for furoshiki, they can range from hand sized to larger than bed-sheets. The most common sizes are 45cm and 68-72cm.
I just use large bandannas for my lunch - about 18 inch squares I would estimate, and the laundry one was about a 3 foot square. (07/20/2007)
Sounds like the lunch sack "Opie" on the old Andy Griffith Show used to carry on a stick when he went fishin'. How small the world really is. (07/20/2007)
In Africa, we called it a kanga, and one of the great uses for it was as a bathrobe, and another one was to carry a child in one. You tie it over one shoulder, drop the baby into it, and the weight of the baby is shared by a hip and the opposite shoulder. Good biomechanics for the spine. Thanks! (07/20/2007)
Why buy packaging boxes for money? Instead of throwing away packaging boxes, I save them for use in gift wrapping any items that need boxes.
Instead of investing in paper gift bags, that are usually used one time, I purchase re-usable totes from various stores!
s I am not a gift wrapper, I usually buy my Christmas gift bags from the Dollar Store, and of course they are $1.00 each.
Instead of using wrapping paper or paper gift bags I use reusable grocery tote bags. I watch for bags which do not have printed advertisements on them.
For Christmas gift wrapping this year, I purchased some of the recycle bags that stores are selling now, canvas and usually green, the cost is usually a dollar.