Furoshiki for the future

Those Japanese chaps had it all worked out long ago.

Furoshiki = cloth wrapper in Japanese and for a long time this is how they would carry anything from clothes, books, food, bottles and more around town.

It’s slowly making a resurgence as people begin to rethink the single use giftwrap that we have come to expect. In fact – in 2006 the Japanese government reintroduced the idea to their people by creating a special “Mottainai Furoshiki”  Ms Yuriko Koike, Minister for the Environment said that ‘The Japanese word mottainai means it’s a shame for something to go to waste without having made use of its potential in full.’

And once again something old is new again. Like most items used generations ago – they were designed to be reused over and over again, as people didn’t have the money or the means to make something to be used once and then discarded.

Today we seem to view this ‘convenient’ throwaway culture as a sign of wealth, when in fact its the opposite, causing more unsustainable damage to our planet in the long run.

I decided to package up Miss Z’s birthday present in a reclaimed furoshiki – using a lovely soft old bedsheet I edged with pinking shears to stop it fraying and to pretty it up.

One of the first rules of Furoshiki is – always use a larger cloth than you think you’ll need. This cloth was 1 metre square and looks generous but after I fold it over and knot it twice, it will be just right.


Step1. I laid out the furoshiki and placed the items in the centre, on the diagonal.


Step 2: taking two opposite corners, I tied 1 simple knot over the items.


Step 3: Taking the other 2 opposite corners tie them in the centre, pulling tight.


Ta da! I haven’t worked out how to incorporate wrapping instructions into the fabric yet – so for now I’ve put a little tag suggesting to look up Furoshiki and try their own wrap. Maybe in future I’ll print a little note and tuck it inside with the rest of the goodies.

This wrap is the only one I’ve learned so far, but here’s a few more to try – depending on what you are wrapping, enjoy!



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