Wedding Gift Wrapping Tutorial: Japanese Pleats Design

Have you ever wanted to create a memorable gift wrapping for someone’s special day?

From my experience as a gift wrapping designer, weddings are one of the most popular occasions people wanted to have extraordinarily gift wrapped presentations.

In this video tutorial, I used a symmetrical pleating design which gives an aura of an authentic and elegant wedding style. The decorative paper I used is called “Ribbon & Leaves”, purchased from The image is printed on unryu-shi, a thin mulberry paper that is ideal for creating artistic designs. I accessorized the package with double bows using sheer ribbons, purchased from BB Sheer ribbons have a soft and romantic feel, perfect for weddings.

Here is the video, hope you enjoy!


Japanese Pleats Gift Wrapping ~Basic Pleating Design~

Japanese Pleating design is one of the great ways to create a memorable presentation for your gift wrapping.

Traditionally, odd number pleats are used for happy occasions while even numbers represent sad occasions like funerals. Today, many designers improvise their own pleating styles to enhance the art of gift wrapping.

Pleating Styles

Linear pleating design is the very basic style. You can adjust the width and numbers of the pleats depending on the size of your package. Here is the tutorial video, enjoy!

Origami Box Gift Wrapping Tutorial

Growing up in Japan, origami was often a part of school activities and the first memorable origami piece I created was a white lily, which I proudly presented to my mother.

Origami, “folding paper” in Japanese, started becoming popular after Buddhist monks brought the paper from China in the 6th century. The first period of Japanese origami was primarily used for religious ceremonies due to the high cost of handmade paper.

During the Heian period (794 – 1185), origami played a significant role in the lives of Japanese people. For example, origami butterflies were created to represent the bride and groom during shinto weddings and folded strips of paper (Noshi) were placed on gifts for good luck when samurai exchanged official greetings.

origami butterflies

Origami butterflies by spin jenny (flickr photo)


Shinto wedding photo by Mark Brown

Simple origami boxes were one of the first folding styles we learned during elementary school. We would put little gifts like candies & hair accessories in the boxes and give to our friends. It was during these childhood experiences, I think, that I realized how important the presentation is in gift giving and that it is a part of the gift.

So here is my new video, origami box gift wrapping. It’s perfect for any light-weight gift items like jewelry and other accessories.

To ladies and gentlemen who would like to wow a special someone, this can be an interesting gift wrapping idea for this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Gift Wrapping Video: “Kimono Style”

In Japan, traditionally women give gifts to men on Valentine’s Day, in return, men give gifts back to women on “White Day” one month later. Valentine’s Day has been growing popularity there. According to Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo, Valentine’s Day related revenue will rise to a three-year high of about 40 billion yen ($485 million). Chocolate is the number one sale for Valentine’s day and during the month of February, the department stores are packed by women buying boxes of chocolates for their romantic interests, male co-workers and bosses.

valentine's day

Valentine’s Day sale at a department store in Japan
Photo Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Click image to read their story

What do you plan to do this Valentine’s day? Whether you give flowers or chocolate, it’s always nice to make an extra effort on gift wrapping. So here is one of my Valentine’s gift wrapping tutorial videos for boxed items…may this presentation help your Valentine’s Day be extra memorable…

How-to Craft Video: Japanese Style New Year’s Decoration

Growing up in Japan, my sister and I used to enjoy many craft activities during the New Year celebrations. We created calligraphy, handmade New Year’s cards and other craft decorations.

Here are a few examples of New Year’s crafts created by other designers…

handmade new year's card from:

handmade new year’s card from hankoya



east side tokyo さんの手作りカードとぽち袋

Making this video brought back childhood memories :)  Here is the video, enjoy!

Furoshiki Gift Wrapping Video: How to Wrap Wine Bottles (3 Styles)

Have you ever heard of “Furoshiki”?

It’s a square wrapping cloth, originally used for wrapping clothes and items when going to public bath houses (hot springs) in Japan. Furoshiki became extensively popular during the Muromachi period in the late 14th century and since then people used the material to carry various items, transport merchandise, interior decoration and mostly to wrap gifts for weddings and other occasions.

After the invention of many fashionable and functional carrying bags and pretty wrapping papers, Furoshiki’s popularity has been slowly fading…but the more you learn about it, the more you realize how versatile and eco-friendly it is.

Recently I was at UNIQLO, a Japanese clothing store, doing Furoshiki gift wrapping demonstrations. Many people had never heard of Furoshiki before, and it was great to see their reactions on learning what you can do with a piece of cloth. (Thanks so much to everyone who came by my demo table!) With that experience, I wanted to share ideas on Furoshiki art with many more people through my craft videos. So this is the first of my Furoshiki series. Hope you enjoy!

Holiday Gift Giving with Mizuhiki Decorations

Chopsticks NY featured two design works of mine for their December issue.

In this article, “Spice Up Your Gift Giving with “Mizuhiki” Decorations, you can learn how to create a cute holiday gift wrapping package and a handmade card using Mizuhiki, a special decorative paper cord.

Gift Wrapping with Mizuhiki

Gift Wrapping with Mizuhiki by Shiho

Handmade Card with Mizuhiki

Handmade Card with Mizuhiki by Shiho

Chopsticks NY is a popular local magazine whose mission is to provide the best guide to Japanese culture. If you are interested in giving a unique Japanese gift this year, you can check out their 2012 gift catalog.

If you are in tri-state area, you can pick up the magazine at numerous restaurants, cafe, shops and other businesses. Click here for their distribution list.

Furoshiki Demo at UNIQLO

I’m in New York City joining the Furoshiki event at UNIQLO this weekend!

I’ll be demonstrating how to wrap wine bottles, boxes, books, etc using Furoshiki. UNIQLO is giving a free Furoshiki for customers who purchased over $75, or you can buy one $5 a piece.

Demo Schedules: Dec. 7th (Friday) 3pm – 8pm / Dec. 8th (Saturday) 1pm – 6pm / Dec. 9th (Sunday) 1pm – 6pm

Locations: 5th Avenue Store (5th Ave. & 53rd St.) / NJ Garden State Plaza Store

I’ll be at 5th Avenue on Friday & Sunday and at NJ Garden State Plaza Store on Saturday! Happy Holidays!

Chopsticks NY: Gift Wrapping with a Japanese Touch

Mizuhiki Gift Wrapping

Only 3 more weeks to Christmas! Have you already purchased holiday gifts?

Due to the nature of my work, I often think about gift wrapping designs even when purchasing gifts. This year, I’d like to share a few holiday gift wrapping ideas with a Japanese touch.

Hope this can inspire you to try some Japanese style gift wrapping!


Mizuhiki is a special decorative string that is created from tightly rolled rice paper. It’s used in a variety of craft designs including gift wrappings, handmade cards, hair accessories and table decorations.

Holiday Gift Wrapping Class

I love having gift wrapping classes during the holiday season. Everyone’s motivation is somewhat higher, and the whole class is filled with the holiday spirit.

For the holiday gift wrapping class at the Nippon Club, I taught 3 different styles:

Kimono Style Gift Wrapping

This fancy folded design resembles Japanese Kimono style. You can insert a message card to the top V-shaped fold.

Ribbon Rose (with Wine Bottle Gift Wrapping)

Wine bottle is one of the most popular holiday gifts, and I was often asked to give a tip to fancy-up the wrapping other than just putting the bottle in a paper bag. This time, we wrapped the bottle with a sheet of cellophane paper. Then using a strip of ribbon, we created a rose for an ornamentation.

Pleating Designs

Popular Japanese gift wrapping style. I introduced 4 different pleating designs.

We used 3M‘s pop-up tape throughout the class. This sleek wristband dispenser makes your holiday wrapping a lot easier. You can free both hands while wrapping and holding the papers. It’s a very convenient tool and all my students loved it.

Thanks for everyone who came to the class! Happy holidays!