Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cloth Wrapping

A beautifully wrapped gift makes me smile. When you see a pretty package using cute paper and ribbon it shows the effort and thought that someone put into wrapping that package. [Pause.] But I must admit that sometimes a small part of me thinks it’s wasteful (especially with the super nice and expensive wrapping paper). While some people carefully unwrap their gift so they can keep the wrapping paper and reuse it later, many of us just rip the paper to shreds in order to get to the goodies inside. So I have somewhat mixed feelings about using pretty paper that’s just going to end up in the trash.

Perhaps this pragmatism stems from my childhood, where my parents would often wrap my brother and my Christmas presents in the Sunday comics. They wouldn’t even waste the cheap wrapping paper on us because they knew that we didn’t really care about the outside of the package; we just wanted the gift inside. No, our wrapping paper was newspaper that was just going to end up in the recycle bin anyway.

As an adult, I have a greater appreciation for a nicely wrapped package. And I do wrap presents with wrapping paper, but I’m rather reluctant to use really nice wrapping paper. [And really, I’m more likely to cut up brown paper grocery bag as my wrapping paper and decorate it so it’s a bit more festive (as it’s a practical wrapping paper option that’s always on hand).]

An alternative to using wrapping paper would be to use cloth wrapping. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for every type of package (in particular the larger ones), but it can work for smaller boxes or irregular shaped items (e.g. mug). All you need is a square piece of cloth (made of a fairly light material) with finished edges; you can make it yourself to the size you need or use a cloth napkin or handkerchief. Consider buying a cloth napkin or handkerchief at a garage sale, estate sale or thrift store, where you can get one fairly cheap.

The nice thing about using cloth wrapping is that you don’t have to deal with cutting wrapping paper and taping the package together. In addition, cloth wrapping can be reused for future gifts.

To wrap a gift:
  1. Iron the fabric (if needed). Place the graphic side of the cloth face down.
  2. Place the gift at the center of the cloth. Tip: if the gift is rectangle, place the gift at an angle (that gives each corner more material to tie with).
  3. Grab diagonally opposite corners and tie together.
  4. Grab the second set of diagonally opposite corners and tie together.
  5. Lastly, take the first set of corners and tie one last time—this should secure the package.

In this one, I used a handkerchief.
  1. Place the gift diagonally at one corner of the handkerchief and roll the fabric with the gift to the opposite corner.
  2. Double-knot the corners on either end to keep everything in place.

Alternatively, you can gather all of the corners together and tie a rubber band around it to stay in place. Use this Button Rubber Band project to add a bit more decoration to your rubber band.

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