- Melissa’s Corner
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- Melissa’s Corner
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Furoshiki is the Japanese art of fabric wrapping. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Japanese culture for the inspiration that furoshiki offers, as well as the many beautiful wrapping techniques that have been developed over the centuries.
It is thought that the furoshiki originated as a mat and carrying
cloth for clothes, and was used by people visiting public bath houses. The Japanese word furoshiki translates into English as ‘bath spread’. Over the centuries, the furoshiki developed into a wrapping cloth for just about anything that needed wrapping – from food to precious items.
The furoshiki cloth is always square as this works best for wrapping techniques. They can be made from any fabric that is sufficiently lightweight for folding and tying knots. Cotton, linen, silk and synthetic fabrics all make suitable materials. Some furoshiki are sewn from two squares of fabric, making them
double-sided. These are useful for a number of the more elaborate wrapping techniques, but there are many ways to
wrap beautifully with just a single-sided furoshiki.
There are lots of reasons for choosing to wrap with furoshiki rather than paper:
For those on a tight budget, it’s not necessary to buy ready made furoshiki. Use whatever you have to hand – scarves, tea towels, baby muslins, napkins and offcuts of fabric all work well. To make your own furoshiki, simply hem a square of fabric. If you have a serger, you can also stitch an overlocked or rolled hem. This works well as it makes for a less bulky edge.
The thrift store can be a great source of materials for making your own furoshiki. Look out for square scarves and fabrics such as pretty sheets, duvet covers and lightweight curtains. If there is some fading on the fabric, it won’t show when wrapped round a gift. In the spirit of not wasting anything, curtain headings, rings or buttons can be saved for your own use or donated back to the needlework and craft section of the thrift store.
There are two further advantages to thrift store sourcing, particularly with sustainability in mind:
When trying to live more sustainably and switch from throwaway to reusable, it can feel as though we have to change everything in one go. This is not the case with furoshiki. If we all wrapped just a few presents in fabric each year, it would make a big difference. Take your time building up your collection of furoshiki, and choose eco-friendly paper wrappings to use
alongside fabric. Newspaper, brown parcel paper and string-wrapped gifts look great alongside brightly patterned fabrics – and most brown parcel paper is sturdy enough to reuse several times, particularly if you avoid sticky tape.
Check out our video tutorials showing some different furoshiki wrapping techniques.
Our size chart gives you an idea of what size furoshiki to use for each gift. The key thing to remember is that you need enough spare fabric to tie into knots. If in doubt, go bigger. If your furoshiki is a bit on the small side, you can wrap it round the gift like paper and secure with ribbon or string (see videos).
|Small Square ( 30 cm)||Medium Square ( 50 cm)||Large Square (70cm)|
|Square Box up to 11 x 11 x 4.5 cm||Square Box up to 14 x 14 x 11 cm||Box up to 21 x 30 x 13 cm|
|Rectangular Box up to 12 x 10 x 4 cm||Rectangular Box up to 17 x 14 x 9 cm||Heavy Knitwear, large shirt|
|Small Box (e.g. jewellery box)||Paperback ( 20 x 13 x 2 cm ) (up to 3)||Bottle of wine|
|Gift Card||Small board picture book ( 15 x 15 x 3 cm )||Football|
|Pair of Socks||Light clothing such as t-shirt or scarf||Large teapot|
|Make(lipstick, mascara)||Tablet, unboxed with case ( 24 x 18 x 3 cm)||DVD box set ( 20 x 15 x 13 cm)|
|Pack of cards||e-reader( 11.5 x 16 cm )||large picture book|
|Handkerchief||DVD(up to 6)||Medium to large cuddly toy|
|Mobile phone case||CD (up to 8)||Board game|