The History of Wrapping Paper

The History of Wrapping Paper

With the main wrapping season of the year coming up let’s take a look into the history of gift wrap.

The earliest forms of gift wrapping were recorded in Asia where it was generally believed that wrapping items brought good fortunes to the person who received them.

Originally cloth was used for wrapping; in Korea they used square pieces of wrapping cloth called Bojagi as early as the first century A.D and in Japan the wrapping textiles are called Furoshiki and have been used since the Edo period. Both of these wrapping cloths are still used today and elevate the art of wrapping to a ceremony. Of course, these cloths are re-useable and in today’s environmentally responsible world, it makes a lot of sense.

In the West, according to Hallmark’s History of Gift Wrap, the earliest form of wallpaper, dating back to 1509, was originally used to wrap presents, but this was short-lived as the paper was very delicate and fell out of favour.  References to wrapping gifts can be found in some publications; in 1745 The Harleian miscellany, by William Oldys, mentioned ‘brown or wrapping paper’ being used to ‘wrap up Goods, therefore called Shop-Paper’ and in 1843 A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was published, mentioning how gifts were wrapped in brown paper. When Joseph Gayetty introduced toilet roll to the world in 1857, the invention of tissue paper soon followed and by 1881 Christmas stockings filled with presents were common in the UK. The invention of the Flexography printing process in 1890 heralded the kind of mass produced, colourful, patterned gift wrap we’re used to seeing in the shops today.

At Quince & Quill wrapping presents is a highlight of sending a gift and we offer a range of patterns and colours. The papers are fully recyclable, or even better, they can be repurposed – use them to cover a book, for scrapbooking or for paper crafts.

Image of gift wrapped presents in geometric patterned papers, colours of red, green and aqua.

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