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Create and Sew Your Own Furoshiki Gift Wrap

Create and Sew Your Own Furoshiki Gift Wrap main article image
Posted on January 4, 2023 by Christy Madokoro

As the holidays draw nearer, many of us are rushing to fill those last-minute wish lists and stuff stockings full of random gifts and treats so that we may finally rest when the magical morning arrives.  It’s wishful thinking at its finest. After the excitement and joy of sharing gifts is finished, you must contend with the overwhelming amount of clutter that is now littering your home, preventing even the most organized person from moving freely.

Before even thinking about holiday dinners, you must first deal with the wrapping paper scattered about your living room.  Questions arise: recyclable or not?  While plain wrapping paper may be recycled, those with metallics, glitter, or those velvety patches must go in the trash.

Whether you’re trying to be greener for the holidays, seeing all that expensive paper you paid extra for go to waste (literally), is something to regret.  Consider how many more cups of hot chocolate that paper could’ve been. Rather than dwell on the fleeting beauty of wrapping paper, consider a reusable source, one that can double as a gift to be used year-round.  If you love to sew, chances are you have a fabric hoard of your favorite prints, just waiting (possibly years) to be part of the perfect project.  Using the art of furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, you can use your fabric, wrap your presents, and then reuse the fabric all year long!

Guide: Create and Sew Your Own Furoshiki Gift Wrap

Homemade furoshiki of varying sizes was used to wrap these gifts.

  • Furoshiki cloth is square and can be found in a variety of sizes.  The most common sizes are 17-inches by 17-inches or 28-inches by 28-inches.  They are used in gift wrapping, for carrying objects, protecting precious items, and much more.  A 17-inch cloth would be useful for small gifts, like pen boxes.  Depending on the size you create, it can even double as a handbag!
  • Don’t have the perfect print for your loved one?  Try sublimating a favorite photo or design to white polyester fabric and create your own furoshiki cloth.
  • For a simple, low-sew project to sublimate and create your own cloth gift wrap, follow the steps listed below.  However, keep in mind some of these steps will vary depending on your printer and heat press sizes.

Design software with new artboard set to dimensions of sublimation paper.

  • Open your photo editing or design software such as Adobe Photoshop.  You can draw your own image or message, import a photo, or use one of the many backgrounds available on Creative Fabrica to create a beautiful motif to apply to your fabric.  Green is a favorite color in my household but finding the right pattern and colors in wrapping paper is always difficult.  I opted to use the Mystic Garden Backgrounds along with the Gold Flower Butterfly with Black Orchids I found on Creative Fabrica to create the look I wanted in my furoshiki cloth. Lovely background and butterfly image found on Creative Fabrica applied and stretched to fill the artboard.
  • My sublimation printer paper is 13 by 19 inches, but my heat press is only 12 x 15 inches.  I set my artboard in my design software to 13x 19 inches to fill out the entire paper.  If you’re using a Cricut EasyPress on a flat surface and know that you’ll be able to press in sections without your artwork shifting, then go ahead and set your design to use as much or as little paper as your wish.  I will have to print two full pages and will need to secure them in place to cover the size of the furoshiki cloth without it shifting.

Print using your sublimation settings.

  • Once your design is finished, save it and print using your sublimation settings.  I prefer not to flatten my image before saving just in case I want to make adjustments later.

One of two printed sheets of sublimation paper

  • Next you will cut your fabric.  Look for one hundred percent white polyester fabric for the best sublimation substrate.  The fabric I chose to use has texture incorporated into its weave.  It gives the sublimation ink a faded and worn look.  If you want a vibrant color, try a smoother fabric, or adjust your image to be more vibrant than the default colors.  You’ll also want to make sure the fabric is not too thick so that it can be easily tied when using it.

Creating a cardboard pattern.

  • To cut my fabric, I made a template from cardboard first.  It’s an optional step that I find useful, as I use the cardboard to keep my fabric and sublimation paper in place.

Use the cardboard to cut your fabric (optional)

  • You can prep the cardboard with baking paper so that the cardboard will not discolor or damage your fabric.

Prepping the cardboard with baking paper to avoid damaging the fabric.

Surface of cardboard after prepped with baking paper (taped down on the backside)

  • Then place your fabric on the prepared cardboard and cover with your printed sublimation paper.  Due to the size of my fabric, I needed to print two 13×19-inch sheets, and then trim the blank parts off and put them together.

2 Sheets of trimmed sublimation paper taped on the back and ready to be centered on the fabric.

Fabric on prepped cardboard with sublimination paper centered on top.

  • Next, center your design on the fabric, trim off any overhang, and use heat tape to hold into place.  Cover with a protective layer before pressing.  I used baking paper as my layer.  Follow your heat press guidelines for pressing polyester fabric, and if the fabric is too large for your heat press, as mine was, carefully adjust your fabric and design between pressing to be sure that you’ve transferred the design completely onto the fabric.

Excess trimmed off and taped to cardboard using heat tape.

Fabric and sublimination paper covered in a protective layer of baking paper.

Carefully pressing the fabric with the cardboard stabilizing the design.

  • If you don’t care about having rough edges, then you are finished; the cloth will be ready to use right away.  However, for a cleaner look without fraying edges, you’ll need to hem each side of your fabric.  Be sure to fold the fabric over the same width seam allowance on all sides.  You may need to trim the corners to get them to lay flat while sewing and reduce excess bulk on the corners.

Fabric with design sublimated on it.

  • Fold each edge over ¼-inch and then ¼-inch again.  Hem each side, and then you’re ready to use your furoshiki cloth to wrap your gifts.

Hemming the raw edges of the cloth.

  • The final cloth prepared is being used to wrap a small box.  A simple way of wrapping it would be to put it in a corner and wrap the bottom edge around the box.

Lay a small box in the corner of a 17-inch furoshiki cloth

  • Continue flipping it over until a small bit of the top corner is left, and tuck and fold that neatly down.

Top corner is neatly tucked and folding on top of the box.

  • Fold the sides in and tie into a square knot.  Adjust the edges to create a neat bow.

Neat bow after tying a square knot to hold the gift closed.

  • Furoshiki cloth can be used year-round and not just for the holidays.  They make a good wrap to carry bento boxes or tied to create a decorative wrap to gift wine.  The cloth can be paired with purse handles or tied off to create a spacious handbag.  There are many books and online tutorials on how to tie the furoshiki to fit your odd-shaped gifts and packages.  If sublimation is not your thing, you can cut a square from any of your favorite fabrics and hem the edges.  It’s simple, lovely, and adds an extra special touch to any gift.

Large furoshiki folded to create a deep handbag.

Different uses for furoshiki include wrapping, bags, and smaller ones can even be used as cloth napkins.

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