Furoshiki gift wrapping

I recently dusted off and updated my “Earth Friendly Holiday Season Tips” article and I mentioned greener gift wrapping. One of the suggestions was to use a scarf or similar item instead of paper – something that could be used again or for a different purpose.

Lo and behold, the Japanese have been doing this for a very long time. In Japan, it’s an art form called Furoshiki – an origami for cloth (but simpler)! I’d like to thank Franceska, a GLT reader, for putting this on my radar.

Furoshiki folding isn’t confined to small objects – cloths as large as bed sheets are sometimes used!

This image shows some of the popular Furoshiki folding patterns (download larger version – PDF).

Image credit: Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan
Download larger version – pdf

Dating back to the mid-Edo Period (1603-1868), ‘furoshiki’ literally translated means ‘bath spread’; referring to the time when cloths were used to bundle up clothing by people attending public baths.

According to InfomapJapan, it is considered impolite to offer a gift directly by hand in Japan, so the furoshiki serves a useful purpose in an attractive manner.

I think if I received a gift wrapped in such a way, I’d never want to open it and spoil the beautiful work!

More Furoshiki resources:

Other Furoshiki techniques with more detailed instructions can be found at Furoshiki.com

A stack of Furoshiki video tutorials can be found on YouTube