Fastest Zero-Waste Gift Wrapping Using Cloth

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

What if I told you that you could not only save money on gift wrap, but your wrapping chores could be done in mere seconds as well? It’s simple enough for children to do and the results are beautiful and eco friendly too. 

Eco friendly zero waste gift wrapping using cloth and furoshiki tying. #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Gift Wrapping A Time-Consuming Chore

My mother loved to wrap gifts with a creative flair. And she was good at it too! Her gift wrapping was beautiful and unique. A sight to behold!

But I’ve never enjoyed gift wrapping. Hauling out the paper, ribbons, scissors, etc. Finding a place large enough to spread it all out, cut, wrap, crease, tape, embellish. Then put it all away until next time. It’s all just so… fussy.

So I often look for ways to present a beautiful gift while streamlining the wrapping itself. 

How To Reduce Gift Wrapping Waste

I’ve always hated the large amount of trash on Christmas morning. Pretty paper and bows covering a gift one minute, then a pile of trash the next. And a lot of it!

I’ve worked over the years to reduce (or in some cases completely eliminate) gift-wrapping waste. It’s easier than you think and it can actual simplify gift wrapping. Mama always said “Presentation is half the gift” and mama’s always right!

Zero-Waste Giftwrap Option – Wrapping Gifts In Cloth

But there’s a simple way I make our Christmas morning as zero waste as possible.

I started wrapping our gifts furoshiki style.

That’s the Japanese method of using cloth fabric tied decoratively around the gift. I even make the ‘bow’ on the gift just by the way the cloth is tied.

It’s simple to do and takes only seconds. And it’s easy enough for children to do.

Check out the video below where I show you exactly how quickly a gift can be wrapped!

And after gifts are opened Christmas morning if you’ve used cloth, the wrappings are simply folded and stashed away until next year!

Think about it – No wrappings to buy every year, no tape, ribbon or bows. And most importantly – no trash!

Furoshiki Gift Fabric Folding Techniques

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many out there who are certainly much more furoshiki talented than I!

It’s true I venture out with more unique tuck/fold/tie methods from time to time. But my go-to simplest furoshiki tying method is to simply place a gift in the center of a cloth (I love these large deep-red napkins) and tie opposite corners into a knot. Then bring the remaining corners in & fold/tuck them decoratively.

Furoshiki Cloth Wrapping. I celebrate Christmas using low-waste wrappings. It's easy & beautiful to adorn your gifts without contributing to the landfill! #TexasHomesteader

How To Wrap Shirts In Cloth

Take these new long-sleeve T’s I bought for RancherMan. They were easy to wrap – no scissors, tape, ribbons or bows were needed. Truly this gift was wrapped in seconds.

This simple furoshiki style is my go-to for wrapping gifts. Furoshiki reusable cloth zero-waste gift wrapping diagram. #TexasHomesteader

RancherMan’s shirts were already folded. So I folded them over again into a tight-ish shape. You want the gift inside to be able to support its own weight.

Then I placed his shirt in the middle of our larger cloth napkin. I brought up two opposite sides and tied the corners in a knot. Then tucked one of the remaining sides beneath the ties and slid the other remaining corner through and fluffed it into an interesting embellishment. EASY!

Furoshiki reusable cloth napkin zero-waste gift wrapping. #TexasHomesteader

How To Wrap A Book In Cloth

Here’s how I wrapped a book I bought for my father recently.

I used a large, lightweight scarf for this one. I placed the book across the bottom corner and folded the fabric over it. Then I flipped the book repeatedly to wrap the fabric around the book, ending with tying the remaining tails together in a bow in the corner of the package. Pretty!

Zero Waste gift wrapping in cloth - this book wrapped Furoshiki style in bright festive reusable fabric. #TexasHomesteader

Wrapping Bottles Of Wine With Fabric

Sometimes I like to gift bottles of wine. There’s even a furoshiki wrapping method for those!

Set the bottles in the middle of the cloth side by side. Then lay them over and start rolling your cloth around them. 

When you get to the end of the cloth, stand the bottles back up and tie the two tails together. Pretty!

Zero-Waste ways to wrap gifts using cloth and Furoshiki wrapping. #TexasHomesteader

Many Simple Cloth Gift Wrapping Styles

So you see, just because you don’t use disposable gift wrapping doesn’t mean your gifts can’t be absolutely beautiful and festive beneath your tree!

There are many different and interesting ways to fold your gift decoratively in cloth. I found this Furoshiki graphic online on the Japanese Ministry of the Environment website.

Furoshiki zero-waste eco friendly reusable cloth wrapping for gifts diagram #TexasHomesteader

It demonstrates different and unique ways to fold various shapes and sizes of gifts. You can even fold a carrying handle for your gift!

Where To Find Fabric Furoshiki Supplies

It’s not hard to find reusable fabric gift wrap. You can even *Buy Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth Online.

They’re typically lightweight fabrics so they’re easy to fold/tuck/tie. And they come in such pretty designs too, as well as many different sizes.

But you don’t have to buy reusable gift wrapping fabric. I often use bandanas for a festive and colorful flair.

Cloth bandanas make a great reusable gift wrap option for smaller gifts. #TexasHomesteader

And I also like to repurpose my red or green cloth napkins for furoshiki wrappings for RancherMan’s gifts. They all look so pretty under our tree.

And you can use various fabric items as part of the gift itself. Pretty napkins, dish towels, bath towels, washcloths, etc. all work and can add a little sumpin’ to your gift.

 But keep in mind that thinner fabrics are easiest to fold/tuck/tie. Those cloth napkins I use are about perfect!

You can use thicker fabrics as well such as those bath towels I mentioned. Just keep in mind that the thicker a fabric is, the harder it is to tie. So for thicker fabric you may need to use a ribbon to tie them closed.

Other Zero-Waste Gift Wrap Options

When our grandkids were young they used to get large fabric Santa-sacks to hold their gifts.

They had no problem handing those large fabric sacks back to us after the gift was opened to be folded and used next year. 

Large reusable fabric Santa sacks for zero-waste gift wrapping. #TexasHomesteader

(NOTE: we now do experience gifts with them so no wrapping is required)

I also have a large holiday-themed tablecloth that I use if I have a larger gift to wrap. If it’s not needed this year it’s actually wrapped around the tote that holds our Christmas decorations to become a decoration itself. It looks like a huge gift!

That way the tote is hidden in plain sight until I need to store our Christmas decorations back in the attic after the holiday is over. The tablecloth is simply removed, folded and placed inside the tote with the rest of the decorations.

How To Get Your Reusable Wrapping Returned

My family has never had a problem handing the reusable cloth wrappings from their gifts back to me. But some readers have voiced concern about the awkward moment you ask for your wrappings to be returned.

The easiest thing to do is use reusable wrapping only for gifts for immediate family that are actually living in your home.

That way there’s no awkward moment of asking for wrappings to be returned. Those reusable cloths will just all be gathered up, folded and stored away until next year.

If, like me, your extended family knows of your crunchiness it’s still easy to get those reusable gift wrap cloths returned as well. If you will be present when they unwrap their gift (as opposed to mailing it to another state, etc) then they can just return the wrappings after their gift is opened.

As I mentioned, my family knows I’m crunchy and they’re happy to return the wrappings to me. Heck the typical option of years gone by was just wadding up disposable paper and throwing it in the trash anyway.

And many in my family have even begun using reusable fabric wrapping themselves. Aaaah, the power of example…

Less Wasteful Giftwrap Using Used Gift Bags

But what about those times when you might feel uncomfortable asking for your cloth wrappings to be returned? Well there are a couple of solutions for that too.

Sometimes for gifts for friends I’ll just reuse a pretty paper gift bag I’d received in the past.

Those decorative gift bags are also more apt to be reused again by the gift recipient. So at least it’s a lower-waste than wrapping with disposable wrapping paper.

Cloth Wrapping As Part Of The Gift Itself

But for some gifts the reusable wrapping cloth can actually be part of the gift itself.

  • Wrapping In Bath Towels – Bath-type gifts such as body spray or bubble bath can be wrapped in new washcloths, hand towels or bath towels – whichever size is most appropriate.
  • Wrapping In Kitchen Towels – A gift for the kitchen can be wrapped in pretty kitchen towels.

For instance, one year I was giving a french press coffee maker and a couple of sample packs of different flavored coffees.

They were wrapped furoshiki-style – the French press in a new blue/white kitchen towel and the coffee flavor samplers in a pair of matching dish cloths.

Furoshiki cloth gift wrapping french press and flavored coffee in kitchen towels and dishcloths #TexasHomesteader

  • Outdoor Grilling – Grill accessories can be wrapped in a grilling apron.
  • Cold Weather Gifts – New driving gloves wrapped in a matching scarf.

You get the idea. The wrapping can actually be part of the gift!

I love that our outbound Christmas morning trash has been significantly reduced to nearly zero. So has the cost of gift wrapping supplies for me.

Eco friendly zero waste gift wrapping with furoshiki. #TexasHomesteader

Plus, folding the wrappings after Christmas morning & tossing them in the basket for next year takes less time than gathering up the masses of trash & hauling it to the curb to be whisked off to hang out in the landfill for eons. Win/win for me.

Give it a try this year!


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