Are you looking for more eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts? If so, using a furoshiki cloth is about as green as you can get. There are several different furoshiki techniques to suit a variety of gifts shapes and sizes, so it’s as versatile as it is environmentally friendly. And it looks beautiful!
What is Furoshiki?
Furoshiki refers to a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Although we’re talking about Furoshiki as a gift wrapping technique here, it’s original purpose was quite different. Fabric was used centuries ago to wrap imperial treasures to keep them safe while being stored. It was later used to describe the fabric used at communal bathing houses, where the fabric was used to bundle up belongings and as a mat. The literal translation of Furoshiki is ‘Bath-spread’ (Furo means Bathing and Shiki means Spread).
Later on Furoshiki cloths were used to protect wares during transportation by merchants and to protect and decorate gifts, and it has now become a popular way to wrap gifts not only in Japan but also around the world. It is also still sometimes used as a bag for carrying things around.
But you didn’t come here for a history lesson, did you? 😁
Furoshiki wrapping techniques
There are plenty of different ways to wrap gifts with a furoshiki cloth. The square piece of cloth can be plain or patterned, and can be made from silk, cotton, nylon or any other fabric which is not too stiff. Furoshiki cloths come in all sizes so can be used to wrap big or small gifts.
Basic Furoshiki technique
The basic Furoshiki technique is for wrapping a square or rectangular gift. Here’s a step by step guide to show you how to go about it:
- Place the gift diagonally in the centre of the cloth.
- Fold the cloth along the one side of the gift.
- Wrap the corner over the top of the gift.
- Tuck excess corner under the gift.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Fold one of the loose ends neatly over the top of the gift.
- Repeat on the other side.
- take the two corners of these loose ends and tie in a double knot, then arrange the knot nicely to look like a bow.
It might take a bit of practice to get steps 6. to 8. to look neat but you’ll soon get the hang of it. If you’re struggling to get the corners to tie a double knot then your Furoshiki cloth might be too small for the gift. The knot also creates a handy carrying handle!
If you’d rather watch a video of how to do this, here’s a good one:
You can also use this basic technique to experiment with a variety of different knots and tucking techniques for your own creative take on it.
Furoshiki techniques for bottles
Furoshiki is also great for wrapping bottles. Here’s a step by step guide to this technique:
- Place the bottle in the middle of the cloth and left two diagonally opposite corners.
- Tie the corners in a double knot on the top of the bottle.
- Take the other two corners and wrap them in opposite directions around the middle of the bottle.
- Tie these corners in a double knot in the middle of the bottle.
It’s actually pretty easy but still looks very impressive!
You can also take a look at this video for three fancy ways to wrap two bottles at once using a Furoshiki cloth.
Give these Furoshiki techniques a go to wrap both boxes and bottles. You can adapt them and experiment to create your own beautiful gift packaging.
You can get Furoshiki cloths on Etsy, Amazon and plenty of other online places – here’s a gorgeous reversible one from Etsy:
(Just so you know, this is an affiliate link so if you click &buy I’ll get a small commission, but it won’t cost you anything.)
In traditional Japanese culture the Furoshiki cloth is always returned to the gift giver so it can be reused so it’s the ultimate eco-friendly gift wrapping. Feel a bit cheeky asking for it back? They’re unlike to throw the cloth away and they can reuse it for all sorts of things. You might even inspire the recipient to wrap their next gift to someone in it! Let’s make it a thing 😃