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Furoshiki, a traditional gift wrapping art in Japan.

Gift-Wrapping with Furoshiki

Christmas, the season of gift-giving, is less than a month away.  Finding the perfect gifts for loved ones is one challenge . . . and then there’s wrapping them. Here’s a great chance to bring gift-wrapping techniques perfected by the creative Japanese.

This Christmas, spruce up your gift presentation by following the Japanese style of gift-wrapping using wrapping cloth called “furoshiki.” The word, which means “bath spread”, is a sheet of cloth that was initially used to carry clothes and bath items to public bath houses. Later on, furoshiki was used to carry groceries and wrap and carry bento boxes as well as market wares. Today, this versatile wrapping cloth is also used for gift-wrapping.

Furoshiki - nicely wrapped present

Furoshiki cloth comes in all kinds of sizes, fabrics, and designs. The cloth can be cotton, rayon, nylon, or silk, and the designs can be plain, printed on one side, or printed on both sides (reversible). Furoshiki is usually square in shape.

Recycling is big in Japan; plastic bags are being frowned upon. Paper products are also avoided to lessen the cutting down of trees. Furoshiki is quickly regaining its popularity in Japan and spreading to other parts of the world because it is the reusable, multi-purpose, and eco-friendly solution to paper gift wrappers and plastic bags. The practice of furoshiki wrapping helps promote environmental conservation.

Wrapping Techniques

The secrets to gorgeous furoshiki-wrapped gifts lie not just in the attractive fabric but also in the applied wrapping technique. These may look complicated but are actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. With furoshiki, you can wrap almost anything from simple square-shaped boxes to wine bottles, with their more complex cylindrical shape.

Here’s a great video tutorial:

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