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Gift Wrapping with Linen: the Art of Furoshiki


For many of us part of the joy of giving gifts in the holiday season is in the gift wrapping. Each year we try different combinations of ribbons, butcher's string, sprigs of rosemary or gold festive stamps on brown craft paper. You name it, we've probably wrapped with it.

christmas wrapping fabric

Our aim isn't just to make our gifts look beautiful. It's also to avoid the huge amounts of waste generated from all that wrapping paper. Many Christmas wrapping papers are not recyclable as they are partly made with plastic. To test if you can recycle giftwrap, scrunch it into a ball. If it stays scrunched it's probably made from paper. If it bounces out of shape again, or has glitter or foil decorations, then it has to go to landfill.

One way to avoid these ecological dilemmas is to use fabric to wrap your presents. This isn't a new idea – the Japanese have been practising the art of using wrapping cloths, or furoshiki, for centuries. Furoshiki are squares of cloth that can be wrapped round gifts, but they are also used to make bags that can carry items like books, DVDs or shopping. We choose linen fabric for our furoshiki, due to its strength and sustainability. It's also machine washable so your gift recipient can simply pop it in the wash and use it themselves. It's basically two gifts in one!

How to make your own linen gift wrap

linen fabric for christmas

To make a DIY linen furoshiki, take a square of linen fabric - this could be new fabric or you can cut up an old linen sheet, tablecloth or linen towel that's past its best. We love our Jazz red and white stripes linen for Christmas season wrapping, but you can choose any pattern or colour. 

  1. Cut the fabric into two equal squares roughly of 36"x 36" - or any size that suits your gift-wrapping needs. You can also make rectangular furoshiki. 
  2. Place the two pieces right-side together and pin around the edges.
  3. Sew around the seams, leaving a 4' gap on one side. You can use an overlocker or zig-zag stitch to neaten up the edges but it's not essential.
  4. Turn the fabric the right side out using the gap to pull the fabric through and back on itself.
  5. Hand stitch the gap to finish.

How to wrap with a linen furoshiki

furoshiki linen fabric(Image via

Lay your linen fabric square or rectangle on a flat surface. Use a similar shape furoshiki to the gift you're wrapping, and place the gift diagonally near one corner.

Gently roll the gift towards the opposite corner, tucking under the fabric as you go, creating a long sausage shape. Lift up the two ends of your fabric and tie in a knot in the middle. Double knot if you like. 

Alternatively, place the gift in the middle at a diagonal, then fold in two opposite corners. Tie these in a knot. Then fold in the other two corners and tie again. You could print off some instructions on how to use the furoshiki as a bag, and include them in the gift so your loved one can used the fabric again. This blog has a great guide to different wrapping techniques if you really want to style things out.

So, get rummaging in your linen closet for any large linen sheets or tablecloths that can be upcycled, or browse our huge range of top quality linen fabric and buy just the right amount to have Christmas all wrapped up.

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I'm Inga and this is a space where I celebrate simple, slow living. It's a place to be curious and creative, to share ideas on how to live and work sustainably and mindfully. Being the creative force behind I also write about my love for linen and natural fabrics. Linenbeauty weaves inspiring stories of slow living with interior style features, travel and cookery tips and outfit ideas. Thanks so much for stopping by.