I have never heard of Furoshiki before and this is the absolute coolest! Not only is it a Green way to wrap gifts (the cloth itself being an extra gift) but it can also be used as a purse/carrying case!
The tutorial says to use a piece of square fabric but you can mold/fold even a rectangular piece in to a square. Hope you get as excited about this as me :-)
The first link is a video tutorial, the second link is a PDF file that gives several other gift item wrapping instructions and the third link is the history of Furoshiki
Source: A girlfriend sent me the video and I googled more about Furoshiki. Here's the video:
By Deeli from Richland, WA
Editor's Note: One of the links did not work, so we have included a Wikipedia entry on Furoshiki
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At the risk of sounding cynical, I wanted to make an observation. While I appreciate that a furoshiki is an ancient Japanese method of carting things about, I don't think it is particularly amazing.
Doesn't it come naturally to enclose items in a piece of cloth if no other container were available? People all over do versions of this, including children and hobos! Farmers carried their lunches into the fields tied in a bandanna, which then became their napkin. I've always bundled my laundry into a big towel or bedsheet to carry it.
Sorry to be a party pooper, but I find it astounding that now there are stores set up simply to sell colorful squares of 100% cotton so the buyer can tie the corners in knots to manipulate them into bags.
Maybe most incredible of all - did you notice the packaging of these furoshikis when the customers purchased them? Looked to me like they were placed into glossy black bags, and then those black bags were put into a paper bag with string handles. What is THAT all about?? Nothing very "green" about all that packaging of an item inspired by minimal packaging!
And in my opinion, a hobo bag made out of a square of cloth would be more trouble than it's worth to use regularly as a purse. With no structure to it, everything would end up lost in the bottom beneath the long leftover ends and the knots. Sounds charming, but not really practical.
It's not that I don't think wrapping a gift in a scarf, etc., is a good idea because I do. But it's not a new idea, and people have done it for many generations. I just don't think we need "furoshiki stores" nor do we need to twist cloth up into impractical shapes and pretend it's a great new fashion idea!
OK, you can tell me off now for my less than enthusiastic comments!
I've used large Japanese scarfs to wrap presents, or a box or lidded basket or a really nice tin box which previously held cookies or soap which was part of the gift tied shut with a ribbon. this was not to be green, but because I came to hate wrapping presents. I'm not very good at it, and about a week before Christmas one year I'd just got sick of wrapping presents and came up with this-and never looked back. some presents still get wrapped, but much fewer do and I'm no longer stressing on it.
This is super environment friendly, functional, portable, adaptable, and with so many beautiful possibilities! I am going to have so much fun with this.
I've never seen or heard of this before, but can't wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing.
Have you ever heard of a "furoshiki"? Basically it is a square of soft fabric - like a large bandanna - that can be used in many ways for carrying items.
I have used this in various ways over the years, after learning of it during the 4 years I lived in Japan. Daily, I use one to wrap my lunch. I simply set my lunch items in the middle of a large cotton square, and tie up the opposite corners, leaving a little bit of slack for a handle. When I get to the cafeteria, I can open it up and make a placemat, and then when lunch is over I can fold it up and tuck it in my pocket. It is easy to throw in the wash if it gets soiled, and very lightweight. When I used to have to go to the laundromat, I would bundle my laundry in a very large square, leaving enough slack to sling it over my shoulder. The cloth could be thrown right in the wash with everything else, and then I would spread it out, fold the laundry into it, and carry everything home.
I have made them for people and used them as giftwrap, so the wrapping was something useful to them also.
The link below shows tying diagrams for carrying everything from watermelons to wine bottles - all with just a square of cloth.
By Regina from Rochester, NY
I just use large bandannas for my lunch - about 18 inch squares I would estimate, and the laundry one was about a 3 foot square. (07/20/2007)
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