Furoshiki, translating to "bath spread", is a style of Japanese gift wrapping that originated from necessity. In the Edo period, furoshiki wrapping was used to protect important goods in the home or during transport. Gift giving in Japan has a lot of significance, from celebrating birthday milestones to house-warming presents. Furoshiki wrapping is another meaningful way to deliver a present to your loved ones. This is one of the most beautiful Japanese gift-wrapping techniques that's still in use and one that you can incorporate for the holidays as an eco-friendly option.
Continue reading to learn about the art of furoshiki cloth wrapping, a beautiful gift-wrapping style (and cloth) in Japanese culture and Japanese art.
How to Wrap Your Gifts Furoshiki Style
In Japan, you can get gifts wrapped with ornate detail at a Japanese department store. But you can also achieve this look at home with furoshiki wrapping. It’s important to note that this Japanese wrapping cloth (furoshiki) comes precut in various sizes. Here's how you can recreate this Japanese gift-wrapping style at home for different items.
What Materials Do You Need?
Instead of using standard wrapping paper and double-sided tape, which ends up in a landfill, this Japanese gift-wrapping hack uses a decorative pattern that looks similar to origami due to the pleats created in the fabric.
All you need for the below Japanese gift-wrapping techniques is a piece (or more for more items) of furoshiki. This fabric must be a square shape (like origami paper). Then, you'll fold the correct size of furoshiki using different folding styles depending on the object's shape and size.
What Sizes of Furoshiki Fabric are Available?
Many fabric sizes are available for this important cultural ritual, from a few inches in length and width to a few feet. However, two main sizes are typically used in furoshiki fabric wrapping: 17 x 17 inches and 28 x 28 inches.
It's also important to note that the thickness and pattern for this wrapping technique are customizable for the gift recipient. As a gift-giving individual, you can select the fabric that you feel is best for Japanese gift wrapping.
Otsukai Tsutsumi Technique
Multiple methods exist for wrapping a square object; this gift wrapping technique is called otsukai tsutsumi. It is a basic way of wrapping that you can use for everyday items or bento boxes.
- Place the item in the middle of the fabric, ensuring the sides of the box line up with the diagonal corners.
- Fold the corner nearest to you over the box. Then repeat with the corner on the opposite side.
- Take the folded fabric's right and left sides and tie it in a simple bow.
Kakushi Tsutsumi Technique
Also used for square objects, this method helps create the perfect gift. It's also known as the hidden knot technique.
- Place the box in the middle of the fabric and lay the corner closest to you over the box.
- Pull the left side and right side of the furoshiki fabric up and tie it in a bow.
- Flip the last corner over the bow, and it's ready to go.
This technique is best for flat objects, such as a gift card or a box of greeting cards.
- Place the item in the middle of the fabric (same alignment as above). Wrap the closest corner over the item.
- Fold the left corner in, ensuring it lays within the right corner of the fabric.
- Fold the right corner over, tucking the end into a fold.
- Tuck the flap of the final corner and fold it over the item.
Are Furoshiki and Origami the Same?
Many people compare origami and furoshiki as they share multiple similarities. However, they are different, as furoshiki is primarily used in Japanese gift wrapping now. In comparison, origami has shifted from its initial purpose as Japanese paper wrapping for religious or ceremonial events to purely decorative purposes.
Below, you’ll find the differences and similarities between these two Japanese wrapping techniques.
- Both are folding/wrapping techniques that originate in Japan
- Furoshiki and origami only require one material each
- These techniques were intentionally developed to use folds without cutting the material or using double-sided tape
- Origami uses square pieces of paper, while furoshiki uses cloth
- Furoshiki is mainly used for giving gifts, while origami is decorative
- Furoshiki cloth is more eco-friendly than origami paper
Perhaps you have extra pieces of fabric you did not use for this ancient art of wrapping presents. Or, maybe you received a Christmas gift that was wrapped furoshiki-style instead of with gift wrapping paper and tape. If that’s the case, you can reuse furoshiki in the following ways (which are also common furoshiki uses in Japan).
Transporting a Bento Box
It's common for Japanese schoolchildren to use this Japanese gift-wrapping technique to secure their bento box lunches. This helps prevent bento boxes from spilling during transit to the school.
Carrying Everyday Items
Besides being used as a gift box, many people use furoshiki to carry everyday items. Depending on how you fold the fabric, you can use furoshiki to make a handbag. You can also use it to carry and protect fragile goods, like a glass vase.
Since this Japanese gift cloth is made with a detailed pattern and aesthetically pleasing fabric, you can hang it on your wall as a piece of art. You can hang it as-is or find a frame that fits the size of your furoshiki.
Try Gifting these Items with Furoshiki
While you can use a furoshiki-style wrapping with any items, this Holiday 2022 Collection from Bokksu works especially well as these items are packed in a sleek box that's easy to wrap! Some available gifts include the Fuubian Gift Box: Langue De Chat Cookies (20 Pieces, 4 Flavors), the Daimonji Handmade Candy Gift Box (12 Bags), and the Premium Tea Box.
Did you know if you begin a Bokksu subscription during the holiday season, you’ll get extra goodies? New subscribers can select a 3-,6-, or 12-month subscription, each including different complimentary limited edition gifts. When you purchase a 3-month subscription, you'll receive your box wrapped in furoshiki. A six-month subscription includes a furoshiki-wrapped box and a beautiful sake cup. The 12-month option includes the furoshiki-wrapped box, sake cup, and a lovely kimono robe to wear while enjoying your treats.
Learn how to wrap a furoshiki with our video!