Sustainability made simple

Furoshiki Wrapping Tutorial for Scarf & Fabric Gift Wrap

Four square gifts wrapped in fabric and tied with decorative knots.
Furoshiki Wrapping Tutorial for Scarf & Fabric Gift Wrap ()

A furoshiki is a waste-free way to wrap gifts or transport items, popular in Japan. We’ll show you how easy it is to make a reusable gift wrap or a bag out of a simple scarf or cloth.

Japanese people have used simple pieces of fabric to wrap goods for centuries. Furoshiki is a Japanese word for ‘bath sheet’ or ‘bath towel.’ When public baths became common in Japan, people often stowed their clothes in a furoshiki while bathing. Soon, simple squares of fabric or scarves were used to wrap and carry other things, too.

This practice has continued into the present day. A furoshiki, and the knotting techniques associated with it, is a lovely way to wrap gifts. It looks beautiful, and the recipient gets a new scarf in addition to their actual present! It’s also a form of precycling, helping you avoid unnecessary waste from wrapping paper and tape.

You can buy a furoshiki online on Amazon**. However, to save resources, you can also use any nice fabric you have at home, as long as it’s more-or-less square.

Furoshiki Wrapping: Tips for Square Gifts

Furoshiki Wrapping Book
You can use a simple furoshiki wrap to fabric gift-wrap all kinds of presents. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)

Furoshiki wrapping fabric usually measures between 15 and 35 inches square. The folding technique explained below is best for flat rectangular or square items. If the gift you’re wrapping is any longer than six inches wide or long, it’s best to use a larger piece of fabric.

Instructions for Furoshiki wrapping:

  1. Flatten the furoshiki face down on your work surface. Place the gift diagonally on top so its corners face the midpoints of the fabric wrap’s edges.
  1. Tie two opposing corners of the furoshiki over the gift and make a double knot.
Scarf Gift Wrap Two
Begin by knotting together the opposing sets of corners. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)

3. Tie the other two corners together in the same way. Then, straighten out the furoshiki‘s ends and edges.

Gift Wrap Step Three
Finish up your furoshiki by straightening the edges and the ends of the fabric knots. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)

Tip: Tie some hand-picked flowers or grasses under the knot to make your gifts look particularly special.

DIY Fabric Handbags

Handmade Handbag
It’s simple to make a traditional furoshiki bag out of a scarf, wrap or any other piece of fabric. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)

Depending on the size of your furoshiki, you can make anything from a full-size tote bag to a space-saving handbag. Depending on how big you want it to be, you can use a larger or smaller scarf or piece of fabric.

Instructions for DIY furoshiki bags:

  1. Begin as you did with your fabric gift wrap, spreading the furoshiki wrapping cloth face down on your work surface.
  1. Tie knots in all four corners of the furoshiki. All your knots should be the same distance from the corners. The closer the knots are to the corners, the shorter the handles of your bag will be. That said, the shorter the handles, the larger and more spacious your bag will be.
Handmade Handbag Step Two
To keep your furoshiki neat and symmetrical, make sure the knots are evenly spaced. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)
  1. Tie both pairs of neighboring (not opposing) corners together at their tips. Voilà – or jian jian – your furoshiki bag is ready.
Handmade Handbag Step Three
Make your bag’s handles by tying the corners of your wrap or scarf. (Utopia / Leonie Barghorn)

This article was translated from English to German by Will Tayler. You can read the original here.

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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