Bandanna Gift Wrap

four packages wrapped in bandannasBandanna gift wrapping came to my household through sheer desperation. It was the middle of November several years ago, and I’d just ripped the cartilage in my hip joint. I could not stand without pain. Walking was even more difficult. How was I to do all the holiday prep needed to make our winter celebration a celebration?

The gifts were largely already acquired. I’d started early. And my husband, with his background of restaurant cooking, took over both daily meal prep and holiday meal planning. But I’d always been the gift wrapper, and the regular wrapping deal was not going to work this time.

I decided to throw money at the problem: stocked some really festive cloth bags with ribbon closures. I’d seen them and coveted them, but refrained due to their pricey nature. Now, I would refrain no longer. (Although, since these would envelop family presents, they could be used again and again. So the short-term expense would likely be a long-term savings.)

I purchased a bundle of them, winced at my total at checkout, and clicked the finalizing button.

And my solution working excellently. I merely popped each gift into its bag, tied the ribbon, and safety pinned a tag on it. Done!

The ease and simplicity spoiled me for gift wrapping from then on. I didn’t want to go back to paper. The cloth bags were prettier, easier, and didn’t contribute to our overfull landfills. But . . . eight dollars or more per bag? Ouch!

I perused the reuseit site again. Was there anything less expensive? No. There were only more expensive options! But one of them gave me an idea. It was a beautiful wrapping cloth derived from Japanese heritage. The how-to video showed the simple method by which one secured the cloth around a gift. And I thought: why not use a bandanna? I can get those for a dollar each!

I never looked back. Birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings, hospitality – all these occasions feature bandanna-wrapped gifts from me. Since we have winter holidays approaching as I write this, I want to show you how I do it. Maybe you’d like to try it yourself!

First, gather your supplies: bandannas, gift tags (I use small white paper circles that I cut myself), and safety pins.

bandannas, tags, safety pins

Next, place the gift on your chosen bandanna and wrap the the cloth around it.

photos of wrapping bandanna around gift

Then gather the two pointy ends in your hands, bring them together, and tie a knot. Arrange the folds of cloth to look good. They will stay put, especially if you make the knot snug.

Now pin your tag onto the bandanna. I usually put it to one side of the knot, to make it easy for the opener to untie the knot.

hands poised to pin tag on gift

And there you have it! No cutting – and cutting too small or too big. No taping and then taping it again when the paper starts to unfurl. Just fold the cloth around your gift and tie.

photo of gift wrapped in bandanna

Bonus tip: last year we had some really bulky gifts. I bought fabric at a sewing store, used pinking sheers to prevent the edges from unraveling, and ribbons to secure the ends (like a giant toffee). No need to abandon my cloth habit, just because bandannas weren’t big enough!

Update: Videos showing wrapping with cloth here!

For more on green living, see:
Waste-Free Lunch
Green Housekeeping
Great Soap & Etcetera Quest