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Fabric Gift Wrap: Your Unique Wrapping Alternative

Fabric Gift Wrap: 14 Ways to Uniqeuly Wrap

One beautiful and sustainable alternative to traditional wrapping paper is fabric gift wrap. This unique gift wrap idea is reusable for many years and can be very affordable. And it adds to the room's aesthetics when the tree is piled high with your attractively wrapped gifts.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you get started:


If every American family wrapped just one gift a year in fabric gift wrap, the paper saved could paper 15,000 football fields!

  • Don't worry about replacing your wrapping paper all at once. But stay committed to expanding your collection of fabric gift wrap each year until you're completely free of paper.
  • To make this affordable, it will probably be necessary to only use this for gifts within your own home. But if you do wrap gifts for friends of loved ones outside your home, be sure to explain that the wrapping is part of the gift!
  • Use all-natural fabrics, such as organic hemp, silk or cotton. Organic cotton is best, since cotton fabric can be genetically-modified and highly sprayed.
  • Don't be afraid to use recycled fabrics. Old t-shirts or sheets can easily be turned into unique gift wrap.
  • Get creative! If you're repurposing a simple sheet or using plain fabric, try an applique, some embroidery or even stencil, stamp or paint decorative designs.
  • But keep it simple. Don't fill your fabric gift wrap collection with holiday themed fabric that won't look as nice used for birthdays, anniversaries or other gift-giving occasions.

Creating Your Own Fabric Gift Wrap

The process is really very simple. Depending on your level of craftiness, there are several options.

The first option is to use new or recycled square or rectangle fabric pieces and do a little bit of sewing around the edge of the fabric. Nothing too extravagant is necessary; you're just sewing a simple, straight line to prevent fraying. Sewing with a serger is another option to give a nice finished look.

Instead of sewing the pieces you can opt to use fabric that doesn't fray, such as jersey knit material, which is still lightweight and easy to use.

Using pinking sheers to create a zigzag pattern along the edges also prevents a lot of fraying in most cotton fabrics. Fleece and felt also do not fray but will be too bulky for some wrapping some gifts, so invest in this type of fabric sparingly. (You can also allow your fabric to fray as part of the look.)

To make wrapping simpler, you can make or purchase cloth gift bags instead. They can have a drawstring or the tops can be bunched and tied with a reusable ribbon.

pinking sheers and drawstring gift bag

Pinking sheers to create a zigzag edge and a simple drawstring gift bag

Determining Fabric Sizes

This does not need to be complicated (although free feel to make as many specific sizes as you'd like).

Although your gifts will obviously vary greatly in size, having a few basic gift wrap sizes is the best way to go. Don't worry about having too much fabric, as it can easily be wrapped around the gift a few times (unless, of course, you're using a sheet to wrap a baseball).

Of if you'd like to really keep things simple, you can commit to a few sturdy gift boxes that can hold a variety of different sized gifts and then use the same size wrapping fabric. This will help you to make sure you don't run out.


Approximately 4 million tons of waste each year is attributed to wrapping paper, shopping and gift bags.

Keep in mind that although every yard of fabric is 36 inches long, the width will vary depending on the fabric, but the ideas below are based off the standard 44 inches.

You can use one yard of fabric to make four or more small to medium size pieces or nine small pieces for things such as DVDs, CDs, small books, toys or games, and other small handheld gifts.

Use one full yard of fabric for medium sized gifts, such as clothing, shoe boxes, basketballs, skateboards or other items of a similar size.

For large and extra large gifts, such as electronics or a bicycle, opt for a new or used flat sheet of varying sizes (twin and queen are good bets). Yes, it will be harder to wrap, so you may want to skip it and just add a bow right before presenting your gift.

pinking sheers and drawstring gift bag

Simple, Unique Gift Wrap

A Truly Unique Gift Wrap Technique

You can really do this as simply as you'd like. But if you're interested in truly making this an art form, be sure to investigate the Japanese tradition called, Furoshiki.

Furoshiki has been around in one form or another for many years, but has gained momentum with the environmental movement. Below are some beautiful examples of ways to wrap your any size gift with fabric, courtesy of the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan.

ways to fold fabric gift wrap

Don't Forget the Bow!

Using the furoshiki method above, the fabric also acts as a bow. But there are other sustainable options as well.

You can be pretty creative with this one, tying a "bow" out of a new belt or tie. Or you can use reusable cloth ribbons and bows, shown in the first photo on this page.

Because ribbon will likely need to be cut to fit the package, though, you may want to just use it to tie up the top of your fabric gift wrap, and add a bow for decoration.

And if you're looking for more creative gift wrap ideas, click here!

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