Help your gifts stand out this year by making your own sustainable wrapping. Instead of using paper, give old fabrics a new lease of life with natural dye and decorations made from foliage. Family and friends will love the effort you have gone to and they can reuse the fabric themselves in the future. Instead of getting tangled in a flurry of sellotape, take inspiration from the traditional Japanese ‘furoshiki’ style of fabric wrap.
Words and pictures: Becki Clark
You Will Need
linen (1 metre), Any natural fabric will work, such as cotton or a linen mix
avocados (2), the stones and the skins
Carefully remove the flesh of the avocados so that you are left with just the stones and skin. You can freeze stones and skins until you’re ready to use them. If you intend to dye a large amount of fabric, collect the stones and skins over a few weeks, freezing them as you go.
Wash the stones and skins thoroughly to remove any flesh on them; this is really important and will save you fishing out bits of avocado later on. Place them in a saucepan and cover with cold water (I used two litres of water for two stones and skins).
Bring the water to the boil and simmer for one hour to create your dye.
Place a sieve over a large bowl, then pour the dye into it to catch any avocado flesh.
Leave it to cool, then place your fabric in the bowl. The longer you leave the material in the dye the deeper the colour will be. I left mine in for 30 minutes to create a deep blush tone.
Once dry, cut your fabric into squares large enough for your gifts. Wrap your presents by bringing the diagonal corners of the fabric together and tying in an attractive knot – this is the Japanese technique of furoshiki. Secure some pretty foliage into the knot and your eco-friendly wrapping is complete.
With natural dye, the fabric often requires a mordant: a fixing treatment to make sure the dye stays permanent. Avocado stones contain tannin, which acts as an excellent natural mordant and binds well to natural fibres.