Instead of using wrapping paper that just gets thrown out after Christmas, try wrapping your presents with cloth instead!
Cloth wrapping has been used for over 1200 years in Japan and the word furoshiki came about during the Edo period (1603-1868) when the cloths were commonly used in bath houses to wrap clothes and as a bath mat. The word furoshiki means 'bath spread'.
Over time, they developed a multitude of uses and patterns that are both elegant and functional. One furoshiki cloth can be used for:
- wrapping a gift
- a bag for shopping
- decorating a handbag
- a picnic hamper
- a tablecloth
- household decor
- a scarf, belt or bandana
- wrapping clothes when travelling
And it's so easy, recycles old material, plus looks really gorgeous!
Western culture is beginning to pick up on furoshiki and it's easy to wrap your own gifts. It's even quicker than paper wrapping!
Including some instructions on how to tie a furoshiki as part of your gift is a nice touch, and it's also great to give the person a demonstration to show them just how easy it is. This ensures your furoshiki is high chance of being passed on and spreading and eco-friendly fabric wrapping message on its' journey.
Here are some affordable and eco-friendly ideas for acquiring or making your furoshiki cloths:
- find scarfs in op-shops
- find fabric at an op-shop
- decorate calico fabric using dyes, fabric paint or fabric pens
- cut up old sheets and decorate them
- use fabric samples from a recycling centre
- ask friends who sew for any unwanted over-cuts
- use a bandana, handkerchief or teatowel (although it's not square you can still use it to flat wrap a present).
For wrapping, the object should be approximately one-third of the furoshiki's diagonal line and there are some traditional sizes that tend to work well for a range of objects.
- 50 cm - small book
- 70 cm - T-shirt
- 90 cm - a bottle of wine
A traditional furoshiki cloth is not square, the 'take' length (height) is slightly longer than the 'haba' (width) and you will notice this when you look up some furoshiki instructions. This dates back to the cloths originally being made from kimino material lengths but for the purpose of making your own, a square furoshiki will work just fine.
A fabric that is not too thick yet is strong is best but use whatever you have available and experiment with different techniques. If you have a thicker fabric you would like to use but is difficult to tie, then use a simple folding technique and tie up the gift up with a ribbon.
Some tying ideas below...
Most of all, have fun!
Try wrapping a present or two using furoshiki this year and begin looking out for ways of starting your own furoshiki collection.