Also known as furoshiki, Japanese gift wrapping only requires beautiful fabric and one or two knots. If you are looking for a zero waste method to wrap the gifts for your family and friends, you will certainly be inspired by this eco-friendly Japanese tradition. If you have not heard about furoshiki before, you may have a lot of questions. What exactly is furoshiki? How it originated? What kind of fabric should I use? Is this method suitable for all gifts? Find the answers to all your questions as well as many ideas for patterns and decorations in the paragraphs to follow!
Japanese gift wrapping – furoshiki origin and meaning
Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method of wrapping up and transporting items in cloth and it has been used for over 1200 years in Japan. Clothes, food, gifts and other items were packed in these decorated fabrics.
The origin of furoshiki can be traced back to antiquity when cloths were commonly used in bath houses as a bath mat or to wrap clothes. Hence, the word furoshiki translates to “bath spread”. Furoshiki is a square piece of fabric that was used to wrap and carry objects of all shapes and sizes. These fabrics were made from cotton and linen. With the appearance of the plastic bag, the method fell into disuse until the Ministry of Environment and Japanese environmental associations put it back into fashion due to environmental concerns. Nowadays, furoshiki can also be found from silk, nylon and other materials and the technique is used not only for gift wrapping but for protecting items when traveling, as a shopping bag, for bento boxes, etc.
You can use a wide variety of fabrics and patterns to meet all tastes and requirements. No matter the occasion, the Furoshiki fabric will give your presents that little extra touch that your loved ones will certainly appreciate. Silk, cotton, viscose or nylon, traditional or contemporary patterns… this environmentally friendly packaging should not be neglected at all.
In terms of colors and patterns, the choice depends on the occasion. Most often, bright colors such as red, purple (symbol of longevity), gold, light green and blue are preferred. As for the patterns, we distinguish two main varieties – plant and animal. Here are the most popular ones:
- Cherry blossom and plum blossom.
- Maple Leaf.
- Rabbit and crane.
So whatever the gift, this Japanese technique is an integral part of it and it is therefore important to choose a beautiful, elegant fabric. You can find traditional models in specialty stores as well as in many sites on the web. But before looking at different glamorous decorating ideas, let’s take a look at the techniques.
How to make a Japanese gift wrap?
One of the best things about Japanese gift wrapping method is that there is no right or wrong way. Yes, there are some styles that you can follow and the Japanese Department of Environment outlines some of the most popular styles. Some are more complex – bottle packing style, flower packing style, and different styles for different box sizes.
Offering various folding and attachment techniques, Furoshiki fabric allows you to create original, personalized and 100% ecological packaging. As already mentioned, it adapts to all types of packages but only on one condition: the fabric must be square. So don’t hesitate to recycle your used clothes by cutting out squares. Another very practical idea is to use a pretty scarf or bandana to make the gift even more splendid. Pay attention to the type of fabric! It should be strong enough so that it can hold up well.
Watching a video is always a good idea because this way you can easily follow the different steps. Here are two video tutorials illustrating the simplest techniques.
Japanese gift package ideas or how to design eco-friendly packaging
The Japanese art of wrapping gifts with fabric is open to many interpretations and makes it possible to design a personalized and eco-friendly package. It can
be decorated with a large number of accessories such as dried flowers, Christmas items, feathers, pine branches, pine cones, eucalyptus, lavender and so on.
Would you like to create a Japanese fabric gift wrap that promotes simplicity and boasts an elegant and contemporary design? If your answer is yes, here is an idea for you. To recreate it, get linen in a square shape as well as green elements like eucalyptus, leaves etc.
Need last minute gift wrapping? No problem! Opt for the Furoshiki, this practical method only requires a knot! So, first choose your fabric, place it on a surface as shown above and place the gift there. Then take the upper and lower corners and tie a knot. Do the same with the other two corners. Optionally, add a small decorative object but be careful not to overload the look. Add a sprig of fir, tie a small ribbon and you’re done.
As mentioned above, it is not at all mandatory to use a traditional fabric for a Japanese gift wrap. Buy a nice silk scarf and complete your gift in the most practical and original way.
And after exploring in more detail the Japanese gift wrap Furoshiki, let’s take a look at some glamorous ideas that are definitely worth our attention.