Gift wrapping with flax

17 December 2007

Click here to visit an upgraded version of this blog post on my new website at

star-1Have fun with gift wrapping by using flax for decoration on your gifts! Shredded flax is great for ties, flax stars with curled flax ribbons are an ideal decoration for Christmas gifts and, of course, flax flowers are an appealing addition to any gift.

star-2To make a star with flax, you will need four strips of flax about one centimetre wide and thirty centimetres long. If you want to tie the ends around a parcel, once you’ve made the star, you’ll need to make the strips as long as possible. Soften the strips by scraping a knife along the underside (dull side) of the strips and then lay them together in pairs and use the pairs as if they were one strip for now. Wrap the first strip around your fingers and keep a loop at the top. Hold this in place with your thumb or it can be held in place with a peg.

star-3Place the second pair of strips horizontally across in front of the looped strip and behind the strip that is pointing upwards.

star-4Take the end of the strip that is pointing out to the left back around behind the loop, across in front of the strip pointing upwards and then poke it through the loop.

star-5Tighten the weaving by pulling each set of ends in the direction they are pointing so that there is now a woven square.

star-6Turn the woven square over and hold the weaving so that the strip on top of the two in the middle of the square is lying with the top on the right and the bottom on the left.

star-7Take one strip of the two strips lying together at the top and fold it down on itself.

star-8Continue folding down one strip on itself in an anti-clockwise direction around the square. Secure all these by poking the last strip under the first strip that was folded down. The woven square now has two strips coming out from each side.

star-10Take the right strip of the two at the top and fold it behind and across to the right and then forward and down.

star-11Fold the strip back on itself to create a point and secure this by poking the end back down underneath the strip where it came out from, making sure you don’t pull too far so that the point is pulled right through.

star-12Repeat this and make a point on the other three right-hand strips.

star-13Turn the star over and make points on the other four strips, only this time fold the strip forward and across and then down, rather than behind and across as before.

star-14There will now be four ends coming out from each side of the star. Cut the ends off closely and the star is ready to attach to the gift. If you want to use the ends to tie the star to a parcel, cut off only one set of ends.

star-15To curl flax, wind it tightly around a dowel or similar while it is still fresh and green, or still wet after being dyed. Then leave it to dry. The flax will then be set in place in curls.

To shred flax, use a fork with prongs that are close together or a dog comb. Pull the fork or comb through a small width of the flax at a time. If you want the flax to be shredded more finely, pull a nit comb through it several times after first shredding it with the dog comb or fork.

Update 31 October 2008:
Instructions for weaving a three-dimensional star can be found on a later blog post, Weaving a three-dimensional star. The three-dimensional star can also be used for gift wrapping.

42 Responses to “Gift wrapping with flax”

  1. Bindy Barclay Says:


    This is a great website and blog!

    I submitted my MA yesterday so its arrival in my in- box is very timely! I’ve put it on my address bar.

    Happy New Year


  2. Ali Says:

    Thanks for your comments about the website Bindy.
    I hope you enjoy your gift wrapping!

  3. Lesley Aldridge Says:

    Hi Ali, I am very inspired by your work and congratulate on sharing all the valuable info on your website.Could you please tell me how to get your book on weaving flax flowers please as I would love to try some new varities. Kind reards. Lesley

  4. Ali Says:

    Hi Lesley
    The booklet’s not ready yet. I’ll add your name to my database and let you know when it is ready. Check out my latest blog post “The wax in flax” for an update.

  5. Tricia Kenyon Says:

    Love your site. Has added to my very basic knowledge. Would love to know when your booklet is ready . Am interested in purchasing.

  6. Ali Says:

    Hi Tricia

    Thanks for your comments. I’ve added your name to the database.

  7. Minnie Says:

    Kia ora Ali, Just wanted to say, what a fantastic website you have developed. Have you ever bought books from Amazon and are they trustworthy?

    Cheers, Minnie

  8. Minnie Says:

    Also have you bought any books from

  9. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Minnie

    Yes, I’ve bought books from Abebooks and Amazon without any problems. You may not know this, but if you ever have a problem, you can ask your credit card company to reverse the charge on your card. You will need to explain to them what happened and they will also contact the vendor, but if in any doubt, they apparently tend to take the word of the purchaser over that of the vendor.

  10. Marama Says:

    Kia ora Ali,
    I’ve just stumbled on to your website and love it. Could you please add my name to your list of those who would like to buy your putiputi booklet?

    many thanks.

  11. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Marama
    Yes I’ll add your name to the database for the booklet. I’m glad you’re enjoying the website.

  12. Minnie Says:

    Could you please add my name to your list of those who would like to buy your putiputi booklet?
    Thank you.

  13. jackie Says:

    Hi I to have just stumbled on your web site, which i think is great and very helpful, could you please put me down on your data base also.

  14. Laurel Dunn Says:

    Would love to buy your booklet when it comes out. Your website is excellent and lots to read about.
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Hariata Says:

    Can you please add me to your list. I’d also like to purchase your book, thanks Hariata

  16. Ali Says:

    Hi Minnie, Jackie, Laurel and Hariata

    I’ve added your name to my database and will let you know when the flower booklet is ready. Thanks for your interest.

  17. Kahu Says:

    Kia ora

    this web site is so cool that star is the coolest to!

  18. Kim Says:

    Awesome site - thanks very much from a first timer - I am having lots of fun, my kids are getting into it too; thanks again.

  19. YVONNE Says:


  20. Ali Says:

    Hi Yvonne

    I’ve added your name to the database - the book shouldn’t be long now.

  21. Heather Says:

    Hi, came across your website, its great, could you let me know when your booK is ready please. Am going to let another friend know about your site too she will be thrilled to have a look.
    Thanks Heather

  22. Ali Says:

    Hi Heather
    I’ve added your name to the database for the Book.

  23. Lee Says:

    Ali, add me to your list of buyers for your book please. I went to a workshop and saw a beautiful lily made but was complicated, it had 5 separate woven leaves joined together to form a large flower resembling a hibiscus. Absolutely beautiful. Do you know this flower. I have pics if your interested.

  24. Ali Says:

    Hi Lee

    I’ve added you to the database.

    Your lily sounds interesting. It would be good to see a photo as there are so many different flowers, and so many creative people about making flowers in different ways! You can use a free photo-sharing website such as, and put a link to the photo in my comment box.

  25. Donna Hone Says:

    Please add me to your list so i can purchase a booklet from you. Great website……..I am amazed at how much information there is!!

  26. Ali Says:

    Hi Donna
    I’ve added your name to the database.

  27. Lovey Marshall Says:

    Ali what beautiful mahi. I also would like to be added to your list for a putiputi book.

  28. Ali Says:

    Kia ora Lovey

    Thanks for your comments on the posts. I’ve added your name to the book database. Check out my latest blog post for an update on the book.

  29. Georgina Says:

    Hi Ali, I have stumbled across your wonderful site and think its so fabulous.
    Can you please add me to your list.
    I would love to purchase your booklet.

  30. Ali Says:

    Hi Georgina

    I’ve added your name to the database - you won’t have to wait too long for the book.

  31. brenda king Says:

    Can you tell me how to make flax roses I can do the weaving one but would like to know how to do others How much is your book and how quickly can I get one? I am in west Australia I have the first weaving book beginners book Thankyou

  32. Ali Says:

    Hi Brenda

    All the information about my book Weaving Flowers from New Zealand Flax, and how to purchase it, is on the Book page of my web site. The book has coloured photo instructions for 12 different flower designs and 3 foliage designs in it. You can purchase a book by making a payment through PayPal. The book will be posted promptly by airmail to Australia once payment is received.

  33. Lisa Chittick Says:

    Hi, I am looking for instructions to make a simple fish. Hope you can help.

  34. Ali Says:

    Hi Lisa

    You can find instructions for making fish in Mick Pendergrast’s book Fun with Flax which I mention on the Reviews page of this web site.

  35. Millie Says:

    My name is millie and i am thanking you for your amazing help! We are doing a project at school about flax, and your website has helped me so much!
    Thank you

  36. Ali Says:

    Hi Millie

    I’m glad to hear that the website has been useful for you and good luck with your flax weaving project. Hope it goes well.

  37. Gaye Larsen Says:

    Hi Ali, love your site. I am doing a Raranga course and finding your information very helpful for research with our presentations.
    Would love to be notified too of books suitable for a beginner. Thanks.

  38. Francis Estrella Says:

    hi ..
    i would like to know more about your techniques in flax weaving, may i know the prices of the books and how it would be able to send me the books after purchasing ?

  39. Ali Says:

    Hello Francis
    Thanks for your interest in flax weaving. All the information about buying my book are on the Book page of my website.

  40. mercedes Says:

    these are really pretty cant believe i made a fantail omg thank you for doing these great ideas of flax harakeke these are very ataahua very beautiful so thank you

  41. NZ flax weaving blog » Blog Archive » Flax weaving for gifts Says:

    […] Some other ideas for gift-wrapping are on my previous post Gift wrapping with flax and decorative ideas for Christmas are in the blog post Flax Weaving for Christmas. My book Weaving Flowers from New Zealand Flax is regularly gifted as a present for a weavers. As it has now sold over 4,000 copies, there must be many flowers and bouquets being woven out there in weaving land! […]

  42. nadia Says:

    I like your site! Kia ora