About Furoshiki

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth which can be used time and time again and in a multitude of different applications.

One of the primary uses for a furoshiki is to wrap gifts in a stylish, sustainable and eco-conscious fashion. 

 

History of furoshiki

Furoshiki originated in Japan around 710 B.C. and was originally referred to as tsutsumi, meaning “package” or “present”.

It was during the Muromachi period (1136 to 1573) that the term furoshiki, which can literally be translated as "bath spread" came into use. Guests at bath houses would wrap their kimonos in furoshiki cloth while they bathed to stop them getting dirty or lost and would also stand on the fabrics while getting dry.

Since then, the use of furoshiki has developed a whole host of uses including wrapping books, gifts, and merchandise or as reusable bags.

 

Furoshiki wrapping techniques

This infographic will show you how to tie a basic box wrap and how to wrap a single bottle. These instructions are included with every furoshiki wrap ordered.

There is an excellent infographic from the Japanese Government at the bottom of the page showing more of the many ways that furoshiki can be used. 

Below is a video guide to wrapping with a neat knot technique:

See our video guides to watch more basic wrapping techniques.

 

Furoshiki sizes

For most wrapping, the size of the object should be approximately one-third of the furoshiki’s diagonal line. 

The following sizes tend to work well for a range of objects:

  • Mini, 30-35 cm side/42-50cm diagonal - e.g. jewellery, jam jar or small candle 
  • Small,  ~45-50 cm side/64-71cm diagonal - e.g. book or DVD's
  • Medium,  ~70-75 cm side/99-106cm diagonal - e.g. item of clothing, bottle of wine or soft toy
  • Large,  ~90-95 cm side/127-134cm diagonal - e.g. two bottles of wine or a game  

 

Furoshiki etiquette

It is up to the gift giver whether they would like to give the furoshiki wrap as part of the present or if they would like it to be returned to them. If you would like it returned, a common way to avoid any confusion in the giving process is to pop a line in the gift tag requesting it's return. 

If the furoshiki wrap itself becomes part of the gift to the recipient, they can choose whether to use the furoshiki to wrap a gift from themselves in the future, continuing the furoshiki's life delivering presents.

 

Uses for furoshiki

Furoshiki can be used in a variety of different ways other than as gift wrapping, including as a:

  • lunchbox wrapper
  • reusable shopping bag
  • handbag
  • picnic hamper
  • tablecloth
  • napkin
  • hanky
  • pocket square
  • tissue box cover
  • portable Thermos cover
  • household décor
  • scarf, belt or bandana
  • as clothes organisers for travelling

 

Furoshiki in Japan today

The Japanese government is promoting the use of furoshiki wraps as an environmentally friendly alternative to wrapping paper and shopping bags and has produced the handy infographic below to illustrate some more of the many ways to use the furoshiki wraps:

The infographic can be downloaded as a pdf file here.