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Furoshiki: The Art of Japanese Fabric Wrapping

Box Wrapped In Furoshiki
For centuries, Japanese households have utilized furoshiki wraps for a variety of everyday tasks, from visiting the market to giving someone special a gift. Learn more about using the fine art of furoshiki fabric folding and wrapping and use this art to create your own furoshiki for a variety of decorative and practical purposes.
Historical Significance
A furoshiki wrapping cloth is a piece of thin fabric that first emerged in Japan around the year 710. These cloths were later used at bathhouses for a convenient parcel to carry clothing and to dry off with. For this reason, the name furoshiki is interpreted to mean bath spread.
Current Use
More recently, furoshiki is used as an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags, paper packaging, and gift wrap. In fact, the popularity of furoshiki dipped following the introduction of plastic bags in stores and retailers in Japan but has returned as a versatile and green alternative to wasteful wrapping, bags, and packaging.
Furoshiki Fabrics
You can easily make your own furoshiki cloth. The most important aspect is the fabric, which needs to be thin enough to tie but thick enough to be durable. You may also choose to line your wrap, but again, make sure it is not too bulky to wrap and knot easily. Some other tips when making your furoshiki include:
  • Make sure that you choose fabrics that are opaque for wrapping gifts so that the contents can't be seen through the wrap.
  • Choose the right size. Furoshiki wraps typically measure around 36 inches by 36 inches and usually feature a contrasting side on the back.
  • Stitch around the sides of your fabric and turn inside-out to create a reversible side to add more versatility to your furoshiki.
Visit fabric stores and sites for unique prints and bold patterns to create stylish modern versions of the traditional furoshiki. They can suggest cotton, bamboo, and silk fabrics that will work well for wrapping and tying your goods and gifts.
Gift Wrap
Furoshiki gift wrap has become an art, and you can use unique fabrics, embellishments, and paints to make your wrapping distinctive.
Four million tons of gift wrap and decorations end up in landfills each year; these inexpensive, reusable cloth wraps seem like a practical alternative to reducing your carbon footprint. Also, it is traditional for the gift-giver to keep the furoshiki cloth to use again after the recipient has opened the gift it contains.
Perfect Presents
Another contemporary use for a furoshiki cloth is to share it as a gift. Make sure that you share the history and ways of folding the furoshiki with your gift recipient and consider using fabrics printed or patterned with holiday motifs for the occasion. You can also embellish your gifted furoshiki with fabric paint for some added visual interest.  
If you are wondering how to fold a furoshiki to contain gifts and goods effectively, check out the many online tutorials and videos for step-by-step instruction. The most common way to fold a furoshiki into a versatile and utilitarian bag is to tie the diagonal corners across from one another to form a type of satchel; this bag is then draped over the shoulder, arm, or back to carry items with ease.
Ready to make your own furoshiki? Visit the Foam & Fabrics Outlet in western North Carolina for the fabrics, notions, and supplies needed to make an array of attractive and gift-worthy furoshiki wraps. Preserve a tradition and do something for the environment with these unique fabric bags that also can be used for décor, a scarf, a wall-hanging, or a picnic. The options are endless!