Washi Paper: A gift box Makeover

When you walk into a craft store in Japan, you usually see not only fabrics and craft notions, but also long horizontal pull-out shelves showcasing handmade washi paper. Washi paper is traditionally made from the bark of three native plants: the konzo, mitsumata, and gampi. Others natural fibers include abaca, hemp, and horse hair. The paper very flexible, almost fabric-like. Washi paper is also very durable making it the ideal material for covering boxes, picture frames, glass beads…

I recently decided to makeover a dollar store gift box by covering it with washi paper. You could use the same technique to cover a desk set or pictures frames. It is surprising easy to do! However, I will warn you that I did not use the traditional rice glue, but decided, for convenience sake to substitute a glue stick.

What you will need:

Washi Paper

A glue stick


A ruler or measuring tape

First, measure your box, (If it is a square box) beginning on the outside one side of the lip and up and over the side of the box, and about an inch over the other lip. If your box is round, like mine, just wrap the paper around the box, allowing about an inch overlap on the top and bottom of the box. Cut the paper to your measurements and rub the glue stick on the box. Press the paper to the box taking care to smooth out any air bubbles.

If your box is round, you will need to make little cuts about half an inch apart before you fold down the overlap. If your box is square, you should only have to do this on the corners.

Use the same technique on the lid of the box. Voila! Wasn’t that easy? You can cover your box in varnish, if you wish.

Now is the fun part! First, I embellished the box with kanzashi flowers. Here’s a tutorial from minisweethearts for the black and white flower.

Then I tried pinning vintage brooches on the ribbon.

The possibilities are endless. Upgrade your gifbox and send me a pic!


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