The Pinterest-worthy alternative to wrapping paper you should introduce this Christmas.

Christmas Day is all about time with family, good food and, of course, presents neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree.

But it’s not long before those neatly wrapped gifts become a mess of discarded ribbons and wrapping paper strewn across the loungeroom floor.

Which is perhaps why more and more people are turning to Furoshiki – the Japanese art of wrapping presents in fabric.

It’s good for the environment (tick!) but also creates a look that is Instagram-approved and totally Pinterest-worthy.

Tracey Bailey, the founder of eco-store Biome, wraps all her gifts this way and tells Mamamia there are so many lovely benefits to furoshiki.

“Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese practice of wrapping gifts or items that you wish to carry in a beautiful piece of cloth by folding and tying it. And when it’s used for gift-giving in the Japanese culture it’s quite important what the fabric looks like,” she explains.

“Traditionally the gift-giver would take it back – but the way that gift-giving works these days is the person keeps it and they will hopefully pass it on, and use it when they give a gift to someone else.


“So it becomes this lovely item that is used again and again and passed on.”


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Think when your grandma used to carefully unwrap gifts and store the wrapping paper again for reuse – only much more practical.

It’s a great alternative to wrapping paper, which, although mostly recyclable (don’t try the metallic stuff), isn’t the most environmentally-friendly option.

“Because wrapping paper has just become so cheap and because we know it can be recycled we pop it in the recycling bin and think “I’m doing the right thing” – which we are, but it would be better to get another use out of it if you could,” Tracey says.

Tracey, who launched her lady startup in 2003 because she was inspired to promote a more environmentally-friendly culture, says that in terms of reducing our environmental impact, it’s better to reduce in the first instance, reuse where possible, and recycle as a last resort before throwing to landfill.


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In in the case of furoshiki, you could reuse the piece for decades – and if you keep it in the family it could become a beautiful heirloom piece, Tracey says.

So how do you create your fabric wrapped presents?

Tracey recommends sourcing your material second-hand if possible.

“You can use all sorts of pieces of fabric. You could go to an op shop and buy an old scarf or fabric pieces. You could use old sheets – and even tie-dye them. Ask your friends who like to sew if they have any unwanted off-cuts.”

Once you’ve got your fabric – which should be about three times the size of your present – you can use one of the many websites or videos online for instructions on how to wrap it.

Japan’s environment ministry has a great diagram here. And of course, there are lots of examples and tips on Pinterest.


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Tracey says her own hack is to fold the fabric as best she can and then do the final fastening with a piece of twine tied in a parcel tie around the present.

The key, she says, is not to give up if it doesn’t look perfect.

“Often we end up not doing something because we think ‘oh I don’t know how to do that properly’.

“I personally would let that go because the person that you’re giving it to will be so thrilled by the gesture that they’re not going to care it’s not immaculate.”

If you’re in the Brisbane area and want to learn more, Biome is hosting a furoshiki workshop by Petalplum at their physical store on 8 December.