Furoshiki: The Art of Cloth-Wrapped Packages

My aunt frequently gives us gifts wrapped in cloth. It began with tea cozies, then scraps of fabric. We reused one of her larger gift wraps as a table cloth. She buys them at a thrift store. Little did I know this practice has a name: Furoshiki, the traditional Japanese method of wrapping objects (and more recently, gifts).

Little did she know, too. My aunt says she got the idea from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wait, what? My aunt is a geek? Can anyone name the episode?

Anyway, here is the video that inspired this post (despite the static image, it’s not all about wine):

The above tutorial comes to us from Recycle Now. It strikes me that anyone who has a crafty person in the family (my wife) also has bins filled with useless scraps of fabric (in our closet) that the crafty person has been hoarding for years and refuses to part with. You (I) might as well put them to good use.

It seems by-the-book Furoshiki involves specific folding techniques with specific fabrics and results in an easy-carry handle. But heck, a knot is a knot and kids don’t care. Be sloppy if it means less paper waste.  I bet toddlers will have more fun playing with the cloth wrap on Christmas morning than any “real” toys you bought.

Hey, now that I think of it, a 3-year-old friend gave my 4-year-old daughter a gift wrapped in a pillow case at her birthday party earlier this year that he and his grandmother made together. Hmm.


9 Responses to “Furoshiki: The Art of Cloth-Wrapped Packages”

  1. Sherri E. says:

    We discovered furoshiki earlier this year. My toddler and preschooler were just fascinated while I practiced the different ties on their books and toys, but what they really loved was when I brought out an old sheet and furoshikied them and carried them around the living room. Great fun!

    December 9th, 2008 at 4:11 am

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    What I have seen in the way of fabric gift bags is people sewing up actual gift bags from fabric, then reusing from year to year by tying them closed.

    December 9th, 2008 at 6:39 am

  3. Margie says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the hookup to this video! Much cooler than I even imagined!

    December 9th, 2008 at 8:20 am

  4. Patti says:

    I tried this myself last year. I even bought a book on the technique. I really like it, and really really really want it to work but A) I’m not quite crafty enough for this skill to come to me easily and B) i have to go and specifically buy cloth to use and C) did I mention I’m not crafty? And so my patience for screwing up is also quite low.

    Hopefully I can try again this year, but I’ll do it small scale until I get better…

    December 9th, 2008 at 9:01 am

  5. Stephanie says:

    That is really cool! And it doesn’t look that hard. Seeing it in video form makes it so much easier than seeing it picture by picture in a book.

    December 9th, 2008 at 9:14 am

  6. Janelle says:

    Thanks for the tip. We have to attend a party hosted by my husband’s boss and must bring a white elephant gift. Now we’ll have one snazzy looking gift to bring!

    December 9th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

  7. Amber says:

    I am an unbelievable star trek geek and can’t place the episode. Maybe your aunt remembers something about the story? Or even what was wrapped?

    December 9th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

  8. kelli says:

    I buy silk scarves from Thai Silks — they’re lightweight and can be used as play cloths by the kids after the gifts are opened. They’re inexpensive and come in nice, bright colors.

    December 10th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  9. Kelly K says:

    <3 <3 <3 ‘n this post! Finally, only about a year after poring over silly diagrams and scratching my head, I will be able to wrap my kids presents in my fabric stash and the only garbage I’ll be chucking Xmas morning will be the grandparents presents… I mean the grandparents’ presents’ wrapping paper… or both!

    December 10th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

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