We all love Christmas and birthdays, but the downside of these celebrations (aside from ending up with 27 bath bombs, when you never actually take baths) is the enormous wrapping paper waste. Why not switch to reusable gift-wrapping?
The ancient art of Japanese fabric wrapping, or “Furoshiki”, is an eco-friendly alternative that uses beautiful cloth to wrap presents.
You'll hear a lot of “ooohs” and “wows” when you offer a fursohiki-wrapped gift, but here's the secret: it actually takes a fraction of the time and effort compared with wrapping an ordinary gift.
Above: Furoshiki gift-wrapping looks stylish and takes less effort: what's not to love?
The skill of furoshiki has existed in Japan since the 7th century, and it’s every bit as practical today. You could buy a furoshiki cloth with your favourite print, or just use any pretty fabric you have – scarves, napkins, tablecloths, cut-offs – to create cloth gift bags or wrap a present. And you don’t have to stop at gift-wrapping. Furoshiki can also be used as a shopping bag, a lunch bag (that doubles as a table cloth) or to pack your clothes.
Above: You can buy reusable gift-wrapping in any number of prints, like this one from TabithaEveCo
To wrap your gift in furoshiki cloth, just follow these steps:
- Choose a piece of cloth that’s about three times the size of the object you’re giving. It can’t be too thick to tie, but it also shouldn’t be so thin that you can see through it (slightly defeats the point of a surprise present!).
- Lay the furoshiki cloth flat and put the present in the middle. If it is a flat item then lay it flat; if it is a round item like a bottle or candle then stand it upright.
- If the gift is rectangular or square, take two opposite corners of the material and tie them over the object – this will be on either side of the longest edges if it’s a rectangle, but it doesn’t matter if it’s square.
- Then do the same with the other two corners but tie these twice so they knot firmly. For a round object, take the second two corners and wrap them tightly around the item so they cross each other at the back and can be tied at the front.
- And voila, there you have an attractively wrapped present with no fiddly folding and sticking!
Above: How to use Furoshiki - Japanese Ministry of Environment
Aside from the time-saving aspect, what are the other advantages of Japanese fabric wrapping?
They’re much more flexible for whatever odd-shaped present you’re giving – no more trying to artfully scrunch paper around the neck of a wine bottle! It also adds a layer of thoughtfulness to gift-giving, with recipients feeing like you’ve taken extra care for their present.
Last, but not least, they’re clearly a million times better for the planet.
And to make your impact go further, you could ask the friend who receives your present to reuse the cloth or give it back – spreading joy and the reduced waste message at the same time!