Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wrapping Cloth - No More Paper

I want to start a wrapping cloth movement, will you join me?

Wrapping Cloth examples

I loved wrapping with cloth this year. No cutting, no tape, just a quick fold and a knot, or maybe two. It was really lovely. I still have to figure out the best way to attach tags... ideas welcome.

And I've got all this wrapping cloth ready for next year and just a small bag of garbage (from Santa who couldn't figure out cloth this year but promises for next year, and from packaging and Amazon):

Used wrapping cloth and a small bag of garbage

The government in the UK is recommending that people use cloth, like the Japanese, to wrap their presents. According to a recent article in the Telegraph, the total waste from wrapping paper just in the UK could reach to the moon if laid end to end (that's more than 200,000 miles of wrapping paper). Not only that, but some wrapping paper can't be recycled because it has foil, and when people do try to recycle it anyway, it contaminates the other paper that can be recycled.

According to Plenty, Americans throw out an extra 5 millions tons of waste during the holiday season, along with 10 billion brown paper bags of which only 10-15% get recycled.

When I went shopping at my favorite toy store, instead of paper, they offered to sell me a cloth bag. I thought it was a great idea and was pleased that they were taking such an active role.

If we can bring bags to the grocery, and decline bags whenever we don't need them, how about stopping using wrapping paper?


  1. It's a good idea, but got any extra cloth? I suppose I could wrap things in old bedsheets and fleece jackets but it's not a very festive look. ;-)

  2. If you go to fabric stores this time of year, you can get festive fabric for super-cheap... 70-80% off. I get a little every year. Or just go to the clearance section of JoAnns any time of the year and look for the right colors (or pleasing colors). It's not much more (and is often less) than wrapping paper you only use once.

  3. Liz, I LOVE this idea. I have watched the video of the man making a handbag in a shop in Kyoto several times, totally hypnotised. I would love to do this, even if it's just a little bit.

    But something tiny is bothering me about this movement: what do you do when you give a cloth-wrapped gift to someone and they either open it in front of you but in their own house (and in front of other people) or, as is the case often with kids, they open it later, after the party, when you're not even there.

    I mean, how do you ask for (and get) the cloth back?

    This is Mireia by the way! X

  4. Hi Mireia:
    I tried asking for it back a couple of times right at the beginning when I was just experimenting, and it felt really awkward. I think the wrapping cloth becomes part of the present and you have to just hope that they want to do it too and pass it on (or back!).

    So, it's easier with Christmas because it all stays in the family :)


  5. I hate to be ignorant, because I REALLY love the idea of using cloth. But how do I figure out what size to get/have cut? I know the small size is easy, I can figure that one out, but how do I figure out the right size to make sure it will cover the gift and tie correctly?

  6. @marnster You really have a lot of leeway, it doesn't have to be exact. Most of mine are about 2 feet square and then I just fold over more times if it's too big. Then I have a couple of bigger ones for bigger things, but not too many. Experiment! :)


More of my books