A Guide To Furoshiki Wrapping

Furoshiki is the ancient Japanese method of wrapping items in cloth. Both beautiful & sustainable the fabric wrap can be re-used, re-wrapped, re-gifted, re-purposed, re-made...& eventually recycled.

I first heard about Furoshiki a few years back in Nigel Slater’s midwinter book ‘The Christmas Chronicles’, which is now staple reading for me come November each year. I’ve been fascinated in Furoshiki ever since. Originally used as a convenient method to bundle clothes while at the Sento (public baths) to prevent mix ups with other bathers clothes. The usage grew to include wrapping & transporting goods from shops & lunches too, it was often used to wrap a Bento & then used as a placemat whilst eating.

This mix of useful & beautiful really embodies the Japanese ethos for me, it’s protective AND decorative & most importantly for us modern day converts, it’s sustainable & eco friendly. Yes it costs more than a roll of paper, but the cost equates to it’s lifespan, because this is not a disposable purchase.

Wash the fabric wrapping & reuse it, either to regift or put to use around the home, ideas include using as face cloth or small hand towel. Using as a hair wrap, sewing into a scrunchie, face mask or purse (if you can’t sew, gift to someone who can). Deconstruct & reconstruct as patchwork, embellish, embroider & sew into cushions. I think the uses are only limited by one’s imagination. And eventually at the end of it’s life, recycle or compost the worn fabric which if made of a natural fibre will fully decompose back into the soil. 

Personally I find the whole process quite beautiful & pleasingly circular. There are numerous ways to tie Furoshiki depending on the item, this is the simple method I use.

Step 1 - Arrange your items diagonally on the fabric

Step 2 - Fold the one corner over into the centre 

Step 3 - Fold the opposite corner into the centre 

Step 4 - Make folds in the fabric on the other two ends, just like using paper

Step 5 - Tie the two ends together

Step 6 - Tie once again, to secure & decorate, if your fabric is very large you may even be able to tie a bow. 

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