How to (re)use upcycled sari gift wrap

How to use sari (or other fabric) gift wrap

infographic instructions for wrapping gifts with reusable cloth gift wrap

Method 1 (square or rectangular items like books, DVDs, boxes).

Place the item diagonally in the centre of the wrapping cloth. If the item is rectangular, then fold up the corners of the fabric on either side of the longest edges of the item. Ensure the fabric is pulled tightly and tie the two opposite corners together. Next, do the same with the remaining two corners and form a knot. Then retie the same two corners to form a knot. If the object being wrapped is square, then it doesn’t matter which opposite corners are tied together first, but follow the same steps as above.

Method 2 (square or rectangular items like books, DVDs, boxes)

Place the item in the centre of the wrapping cloth, fold the cloth over from the left or right and then repeat from the other side. Fold the top and bottom ends under the item and secure with a ribbon or pretty string or thread.

Method 3 (odd-shaped items like wine bottles, etc.)

wine bottle wrapped in sari gift wrap on wooden table
wine bottle wrapped in sari gift wrap

How to wrap a wine bottle (re)using sari gift wrap

Lay the cloth on in a diamond shape on a flat surface and place the item upright in the middle. Gather the top and bottom corners together and tie them securely in a knot on top of the item. Take the two remaining corners and wrap them around the bottle so that they cross over the back and end at the front. Make sure the fabric stays tight while wrapping. Tie the two ends in a knot. If a handle is desired, then tie another knot with the loose ends at the top of the bottle. To do this, twist the ends a little and tie a small knot with the very ends of the fabric.

Method 4 (round or odd shaped items like balls, socks, etc.)

cylinder shaped gift wrapped in sari gift wrap
rectangular and cylindrical items wrapped in sari gift wrap

How to wrap multiple or odd shaped items (re)using sari gift wrap

Lay the cloth in a square shape on a flat surface and place the item in the centre of the cloth. Gather all the cloth around the item, bunch together and pull tight. Tie with a ribbon or thread around the gathered corners.

If you want to get more creative with your cloths, check out the Japanese Ministry of Environment’s PDF guide to showcase the many ways to use (fold) furoshiki!

furoshiki examples


how-to instructions for using sari gift wrap

A good guideline for size is that the item you are wrapping should be approximately one-third of the length of the gift wrapping cloth.

Shakti.ism currently offers a few different sizes of sari gift wrap:


Medium gift wrap: 45cm x 45cm (great for books, DVDs, small boxes, jewellery, trinkets, etc.)

Large gift wrap: 60cm x 60cm (great for pretty much anything)

Long gift wrap: 35cm x 90cm (great for wine or champagne bottles, odd-shaped items)

We've also got sari gift pouches for smaller items like jewellery, trinkets, etc.

Ways to reuse sari gift wrap cloth

  • Wrap a gift and give it to someone else
  • Wrap and store small items in your handbag, backpack or pocket
  • Wear it as a stylish neck scarf, bracelet or belt
  • Wear it as a hairband or head wrap
  • Hang it on the wall as decoration
  • Line your handbag with it
  • Use it as a placemat or a reusable serviette (napkin)

Facts about gift wrap waste originally shared by Mind the Wrap

US consumers spent just over US$8 billion on gift wrap in 2018 (source).

It’s also estimated that 4 million tons of waste in the US over the holidays is made up of wrapping paper and shopping bags – this amounts to around 30 million trees cut down (source).

In the UK, around 100 million rolls of gift wrapping paper are thrown away after Christmas annually (source).

Canadians throw away about 540,000 tonnes of gift wrapping and gift bags during the holiday season (source).

Australians are estimated to use over 150,000 kilometres of wrapping paper for Christmas alone – enough to wrap around the Earth’s equator almost four times (source).

The inspiration and story behind Shakti.ism upcycled sari gift wrap

My first encounter with reusable gift wrap was on my first visit to Japan in 2013. My husband and I took a long awaited trip and I instantly fell in love with the beautiful cloths decorating shelves and walls in countless boutiques we found. I bought countless cloths of all sizes, purely based on aesthetic alone, as I had no clue what I’d use them for. I just wanted them because they were so stunning!

Gorgeous Japanese cloths in hand, I learned all about furoshiki (風呂敷), the traditional fabric cloth used for gift-wrapping. Later I found out that there is a similar concept in Korea called bojagi (보자기), and many of the cloths used are made from silk. And so the idea of silk sari gift wrapping cloths was born!

Using furoshiki or sari gift wrapping cloths is a very environmentally-friendly concept, which encourages gift wrapping items in beautiful cloths that can also be reused by the recipient of the gift. In a very Marie Kondo-esque fashion, using reusable gift wrap encourages people to really think about consumption and waste, by reducing the need to buy wasteful gift wrapping paper or bags and by giving something (in addition to the actual gift!) that can be used again and again. Of course using paper wrap is wasteful and bad for trees, but did you know that most wrapping paper cannot be recycled? That’s because it normally has tape, glue or something else stuck to it. Most of the wrapping paper we use ends up in landfill.

Using reusable wrapping cloths is a much better and eco-friendly solution than paper gift wrap. Plus they’re gorgeous! One cloth can be tied many different ways and can be used in many different ways as well – see below!

Simply put, reusable gift wrapping cloth is good for the environment, beautiful, unique, and we should all be using it!

Check out these shocking facts about gift wrap waste!

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