How to: eco-friendly Japanese furoshiki wrapping

When you and your family have finished unwrapping all your presents this Christmas, you’ll probably end up with at least a couple of black bin liners filled with used paper. Most of it will have to be sent to landfill.

How about trying something more eco-friendly, something that even forms part of the gift and can be used again and again?

Furoshiki is a traditional wrapping cloth used by the Japanese to transport, decorate and protect clothes and gifts. A variety of techniques can be used to wrap or carry pretty much anything. It’s a great way to wrap wedding favours ~ just choose a material to match your colour and style.

Michiko Yasue lives in West Yorkshire and her business is Myfuroshiki.

Her fascination for furoshiki began as a child when visitors would bring beautifully wrapped gifts from Japan.

Here, she explains more about the tradition and some basic techniques:

“The Japanese word for wrapping, “tsutsumu” is rooted in a sense of restraint and moderation and, traditionally, subtle nuances in the wrapping materials and style carried their own messages, making the wrapping a part of the gift itself.

“Furoshiki are squares of fabric that are folded and knotted to carry gifts and create bags – and then unknotted, refolded and retied and used again. No sticky tape, no scissors and no waste!

“A simple idea that is full of creative possibilities and eco-friendly too. With a little practice, it’s easy to fashion attractive wraps that enhance, rather than hide, gifts of all shapes and sizes.

“Any square of fabric can be used as a furoshiki so long as it’s not too bulky to knot and, if you’re aiming to carry something heavy in the furoshiki, not so slippery that the knots work themselves loose. Use a silk scarf or a hanky and the wrapping will form part of the gift.

“To make your own furoshiki, simply cut a square of fabric and hem it. Use slightly more fabric than you might for paper to allow for knots.”

What size furoshiki?

♥ Around 30cm square is the smallest size generally practicable. This is great for wrapping small gifts or party treats ~ something the size of a CD, or a deck of cards.

♥ Around 50-70cm square ~ the standard gift wrap size, perfect for a couple of larger books, two bottles of wine or a rugby ball.

♥ A furoshiki of around 100cm square is ideal for wrapping large gifts or knotting into a variety of bag shapes.

How to do the basic furoshiki wrap:

1. Place the gift in the centre of the furoshiki, across the diagonal.

2. Bring the bottom corner up, over the gift and tuck it under.

3. Bring the top corner down over the gift.

4. Tie the left and right corners together over the gift using a reef knot which forms a decorative bow and a handy handle.

How to wrap a wine bottle:

1. Place the bottle in the centre of the furoshiki.

2. Knot two opposite corners on top of the bottle.

3. Twist the loose ends to form a handle.

4. Wrap and cross the other two ends around the body of the bottle.

5. Knot at the front…

6. …and primp and fluff to tidy it up.

See Mich’s blog for more tutorials. You can also visit her shops on Etsy and Folksy.

What do you think? Will you be using furoshiki wrapping this Christmas?

Credit where it’s due: 1 Graham and Olive at Etsy; 2-5 Myfuroshiki


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Furoshiki | Mysterious Japan

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