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What colour fabric should I wrap my gifts in? The psychology of colour

Updated: Feb 16

Indeed, gone are the days of exclusively assigning colours to genders, but when it comes to the beautiful plastic alternative wrapping fabric known as Furoshiki, colours still play an important role. Furoshiki has been used since around the year of 1336 (read more about it here), and many of the wrapping in fabric traditions and techniques continue finding its glory in today’s world.

We’ve prepared a few technical tips on how to combine colours with gifts. We hope you’ll find it useful.

How to use Furoshiki

Wrapping items using the furoshiki technique is simple. People have been doing it for thousands of years. Regardless of the occasion, a present wrapped in fabric goes a long way. It’s considered an environmentally friendly alternative to wrapping gifts in plastic or paper, but furoshiki is far from limited to gift wrapping only.

Furoshiki is also used to:

· Make sustainable clothes

· Make sustainable handbags (watch our youtube video here for a quick and easy tutorial)

· Make alternating accessories

To use Furoshiki for whichever purpose you intend, all you need, believe it or not, is just one piece of a beautiful and high-quality fabric (a range of which can be found here), and you are good to go.

So, what colours are best for my gifts?

Colour is the first thing we see and we instantly have an emotional reaction. It can have an influence on our mood, feelings and behaviour. So choosing wrapping fabric with thought and meaning can make the moment of receiving a gift filled with joy and happiness.

According to a study that was published 15 years ago by Daniel Howard, professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University in Dallas “Gift wrapping, through repeated pairing with joyous events in people’s lives, has utility in cuing a happy mood which, in turn, positively biases attitudes.”

When it comes to colour psychology, every colour has positive and negative psychological qualities so it not only has an effect on the receiver. It can also express how you are feeling towards that person. For example, wrapping a gift in pink expresses your caring, loving side or the love you have for that person. Wrapped in red can express excitement, celebration or passion.

Red fabric for furoshiki wrapping

In China for example, gifts are typically wrapped in red as this is the cultural symbol for good fortune and prosperity.

In the world of furoshiki, red and pinks are commonly used to wrap gifts offered at happy and monumental celebratory events - such as weddings, graduation ceremonies and house warming parties. This is because reds and pinks are bright, bold and conspicuous colors and are therefore associated with grand and happy times.

Yellow or gold fabric for furoshiki wrapping

Yellow and gold, similarly to red, is also used to wrap gifts for joyous events. They symbolise courage, beauty and refinement, aristocracy and cheerfulness.

Yellow is also the most luminous of all the colours of the spectrum. It's the colour that captures our attention more than any other. It symbolises happiness and optimism, enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring.

Green fabric for wrapping

In western culture red and green is used at Christmas time to signify Christ’s blood, shed during his crucifixion and the green to represent eternal life, specifically the evergreen tree and how it remains green throughout winter.

In the Japanese tradition, green is a positive colour and represents fertility, eternal life, youthfulness and freshness. Olive green is said to symbolise dignity.

Blue fabric for wrapping

Have you ever received or seen a woman’s reaction when they receive a ‘robin egg’ blue box? We all know that means Tiffany & Co. We get excited because we know there’ll be something beautiful inside. According to the japanese tradition, blue is a soothing colour that represents everyday life, purity and cleanliness. It’s also regarded as a feminine colour.

Purple fabric for wrapping

If you live in the UK you may have seen the Cadbury’ s Christmas commercial where they’ve wrapped an entire street in their ‘brand’ purple like a giant present. It certainly shows how you can take the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary with colour.

Due to the scarcity of purple ink many years ago, only the richest in society afforded purple clothing. Consequently, purple fabric is now associated with status and is used to show gratitude towards others.

White fabric for wrapping

If you're attending a wedding, christening, or any event to do with a new beginning - white is the colour for your wrap. Throughout history, the colour white has always represented purity, cleanliness and harmony. So if you want to deliver your gifts with clearly good intentions, pick a white fabric to wrap your gifts.

And of course, if you have no idea what colour to pick, if you wrap someone’s gift in their favourite colour you can’t go wrong.

Here is a recap of colours and some of their positive psychological qualities:

Purple– luxury and opulence

Silver– elegance and sophistication

Gold – luxury and high quality

White – represents all that is pure, as snow

Red – warm, stimulating, making your festivities full of life!

Green – calming, balancing.

If you’d like to learn more about fabric gift wrapping, subscribe to our next webinar (hyperlinked to our next eventbrite). We’ll see you in 3 weeks!

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