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There is something oddly satisfying about neatly wrapping gift boxes in paper. My inner neat freak feels many of you nodding in agreement. However, the joy of gift-wrapping can quickly deflate when the patterns of wrapping paper do not line up, your gift is too oddly shaped to be wrapped normally, the paper roll got accidentally smashed in your closet and now has wrinkles all over it, or you tried to use that too-small remnant of wrapping paper and it rips.

Enter the wrapping cloth! Wrapping cloth, which Koreans call Bo-ja-gi, is a versatile item that can be used to wrap just about anything – including Christmas gifts!

There are several advantages to using wrapping cloth:

  • It results in less trash. Yay neatness! No need for tissue-paper stuffing or sticky tapes! All you need is a length of fabric and some elastic bands, and both of those are reusable.
  • It is versatile and quick. Fabric can wrap around odd shapes and soft items, and does so in a matter of seconds without finicky measuring.
  • It will have a second (or third) life, always. Wrapping cloth can always be reused for gift-wrapping, but it also makes a fantastic cape, a bindle, a tent, or a tablecloth for a very small table. I speak from experience.

Now, I will show you some easy ways to use the wrapping cloth. To use wrapping cloth, you will need:

  • Fabric (any kind will do, as long as it is big enough. When in doubt, bigger is usually better.)
  • Candle and matchstick (optional)
  • Iron (optional)
  • Elastic bands (optional)
  • A pinch of creativity

Before you proceed, you will need to prepare your fabric. About 1 yard x 1 yard is a good size for a wrapping cloth, but smaller sizes and rectangular shapes can work, too. You can iron and hem your wrapping cloth if you so desire. If it is made of synthetic material that melts, you can quickly and easily hem it by briefly running the edge of the fabric over a candle flame. The fuzzy ends will melt and seal the edges.

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Method # 1: The Basic

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This method works with any shape of wrapping cloth.

  1. Lay out your wrapping cloth flat on a surface, and put your gift item in the middle of it.
  2. Grab two opposite corners of the wrapping cloth and tie them together in the middle.
  3. Grab the other two opposite corners and tie them together.
  4. Done!

Simple, isn’t it? You can just leave it as it is, or try one of the following variations:

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Left: Tuck the ends under the knot.

Middle: Braid the ends together.

Right: Twist each end of the wrapping cloth until it curls on itself.

 

Method #2: The Butterfly

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This works well when your wrapping cloth is square and the gift is oblong, like the box of spaghetti noodles shown here.

  1. Lay out your wrapping cloth and your gift item in the middle of it. Notice the length between the side of the item and the corner of the wrapping cloth. On two sides, it is long, and on the other sides, it is short.
  2. Grab the long ends first and tie it into a knot. If the difference between the long and short ends is great, you will need to tie the knot twice.
  3. Grab the short ends and tie it into a knot.
  4. Now you have “The Basic” form. Notice that there’s a pair of long ends and a pair of short ends.
  5. Grab the long ends and tie a knot again over the short knot.
  6. Twist and fan out the ends into the form of a butterfly.

 

Method #3: The Basic With Pocket

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This can work with square or oblong wrapping cloth.

  1. Lay out the wrapping cloth and your gift item in the middle of it.
  2. Take one corner completely over the gift. Take the opposite corner and fold it halfway up.
  3. Fold it up again, this time over the gift. This makes the “pocket.”
  4. Take the remaining 2 corners and grasp them firmly in your hands. (For the neatest results, grab it as close to the gift as possible.)
  5. Tie a knot.
  6. Tie a knot again.
  7. Take each end and tuck it under the knot. Insert a card or a note into the pocket.

 

Method # 4: Flower

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This works well with a square wrapping cloth and a square (or close to square) gift. You will need an elastic band for this.

  1. Lay out your wrapping cloth with the gift in the middle of it.
  2. Gather the four corners together and hold them pinched in one hand, over the gift.
  3. With your other hand, tuck in the excess fabric (think of making a pyramid).
  4. Grasp the fabric into one hand and tie an elastic band around it. Push the elastic band down as close to the gift as possible.
  5. Fan out the ends so they look even.
  6. Take each end and poke it into the middle.
  7. You now have a pretty flower on top of your gift!

 

Method # 5: Candy roll

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This works great with oblong wrapping cloth, but it works as long as your wrapping cloth is long enough to go around your gift at least 1.5 times. You will need two elastic bands.

  1. Lay out your wrapping cloth. Put your gift on the middle of one of the edges.
  2. Roll it up.
  3. Tie an elastic band at each end of the gift, and you are done.

You can also try some variations with the Candy Roll:

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Left: Use a smaller wrapping cloth or a bigger box so that your “Candy Roll” has short little stumps at the end. I tried doubling up the same wrapping cloth from above, and used a cube-like box.

Middle: Fluff up the end to make it look like a flower. This looks good when you use a long wrapping cloth that can wrap around the gift multiple times.

Right: Roll up the end as you would a pair of socks. This works only if you have plenty of excess fabric.

 

Method # 6: Twist and Twist

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  1. Lay out your wrapping cloth, and put your gift on the middle along one of the edges, as for Candy Roll.
  2. Roll it up.
  3. Grasp the excess wrapping cloth. (For the neatest results, grab it as close to the gift as possible).
  4. Twist it once across the top of the gift.
  5. Twist again.
  6. Tuck the ends under.
  7. Done! No knots here. Note or card is optional.

Now, doesn’t that look easy and fun? What’s more, there are no hard and fast rules about using the wrapping cloth. Please feel free to take my guide as a mere suggestion, and experiment with the wrapping cloth on your own. Merry Christmas to y’all!

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