Presenting a gift in beautiful or creative wrappings is half the fun of gift giving – and receiving! Today I’ve put together Pagoda Road’s ultimate Asian-inspired gift wrapping guide. There are Chinese-inspired gift wrapping ideas, Japanese-inspired gift wrapping ideas, and even a couple of surprises. Not only will you find creative ideas here for wrapping your gifts, but also places to purchase hard-to-find Chinese and Japanese wrapping paper. Some of it is so beautiful that you may want to frame pieces of it as wall art.
At left: Here’s a clever Chinese-themed gift wrapping idea from Parents magazine: Wrap a package in Chinese take-out menus and top it with a giant fortune cookie.
To make the fortune cookie, trace a circle onto craft foam and cut it out. Fold the foam circle in half. Holding the outer edges together, push in the center of the foam until the edges meet. Tape or staple to secure. Insert a strip of paper as a gift tag and tape the cookie to the top of the package.
At right: Asian-inspired gift wrapping ideas from Martha Stewart.
Clockwise from top left : Use scraps of Asian-inspired wallpaper; Use a Chinese-language newspaper and decorate it with colored papers; Wrap your gift in a Japanese or Chinese map; Use a plain paper grocery bag and spiff it up with Japanese beads.
At left: Sheets of joss paper like this 6.75" x 7.75" gold ingot design can be used to decorate packages wrapped in newsprint or plain paper. Used in many Eastern cultures to burn as offerings to ancestors or deities to encourage wealth and prosperity, joss paper is used in the West mostly for arts and crafts projects.
At right: One of the gurus of Japanese-inspired gift wrapping is Shiho Masuda, a wrapping and space designer based in Hawaii. Her talent is amazing and I’ll show you more pictures of her work below.
But start with this idea. The wrapping paper is a Japanese newspaper that Masuda stamped in red, then trimmed with pleats and mizuhiki (decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper). You can find the directions for this design and two more at the Chopsticks New York magazine website.
At right: Here’s the way Masuda wraps a wine bottle. She calls it a “fun fan design,” I call it pretty incredible.
Below: A peacock-themed wrap she designed for a corporate client.
At left: In Japan, furoshiki – Japanese wrapping cloths – were traditionally used to carry clothes, gifts and other goods. Today they serve as eco-friendly, re-usable fabric gift wrap. Using techniques similar to origami, furoshiki are tied, not cut and taped. This wrapping cloth from Lulu Wraps, made in Portland, Oregon, is a gorgeous example.
There are many wonderful wrapping cloths on the market and many fantastic ways to use them. They can also be tied to make bags, lunch totes and more. Furoshiki.com is a fabulous resource, both for buying furoshiki and viewing free directions for a wide variety of different wrapping styles.
At right: Wrapagami: The Art of Fabric Gift Wraps, is a visual feast of modern furoshiki ideas, beautifully photographed and with clear directions. Its author, Jennifer Playford, has a website where you can watch video how-to demos of a number of furoshiki wrapping techniques.
At left: If you prefer to buy wrapping paper rather than making your own or using cloth, there are several good sources. This Chinese plum blossom reversible wrapping paper is from the Paper Tiger Wrap shop on Etsy.
Above: Whimsy Press makes some beautiful double-sided wrapping papers in Asian-inspired designs. Shown here are their Green Tea and Haiku patterns.
At left: China Sprout offers a good selection of Chinese wrapping paper for all occasions including this folk art panda design.
At right: Tomoko Khassa designs a handsome line of Japanese gift wrap for Kichi, the company she and her husband own. This pattern is called Japanesque.
At left: This Oriental Bamboo rayon wrapping paper is one of the designs offered on eBay by Dreaming Design, a South Korean shop that ships free to the USA.
At right: A number of Chinese and Japanese wrapping papers are available at Amazon.
At left: I couldn’t do a post on Asian-inspired gift wrapping without including these adorable Chinese Shirt gift bags from Oriental Trading. I just love these! They’re 6 1/2” high, come packed in assorted colors and they’re only $10 per dozen. They’d also make great party favor bags - and wonderful Christmas tree ornaments!
At right: Normally used as wedding favors, these silk brocade plum blossom slipper boxes would be such a clever way to package money gifts or gift certificates for the young girls in your life. From Asian Ideas, the boxes are 5” long and come in packages of six for $15.
At left: Giving money this Christmas? Instead of just sticking it an envelope, why not turn it into moneygami? The Origami Resource Center has links to directions for making more than sixty different money folds – everything from rings and shirts to butterflies and boxes. Fold this box and tuck a tiny additional gift inside. Maybe earrings or a key to something special?
At right: If you don’t want to do the money folds yourself, here’s a creative way to give a money gift. The Money Origami Kit comes with a book, an instructional DVD and play money to practice with. Why not give the kit with your money gift tucked inside?
Need suggestions for gifts to wrap in all these great papers and furoshiki? See my Pagoda Road Holiday Gift Guide. It contains 15 wonderful Asian-inspired gift ideas.
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