If you haven't heard of furoshiki cloths or if you have, and you're looking for new ways to reduce your use of single-use products, this post is for you.
I found furoshiki cloths years ago online and ordered my first wrap over a decade ago. I use my wrap as a purse all summer - it's light and easily holds just about whatever I can put in it. Plus, I get compliments wherever I go.
Since I'm such a fan of furoshiki cloths, I was excited to partner with Mind Your Bees to write this post on different ways you can use them. Mind Your Bees creates one-of-a-kind wraps that are beautiful, reusable, and versatile. Owner Ashely Shortall has hand-dyed a new set of furoshiki cloths with vibrant colors that are too gorgeous to pass up. Since they are so versatile and reusable, they are a must-have to add to your household.
Why? Because depending on how you knot the wraps, they can be your go-to purse for the summer, a great wrap for travel supplies, or perfect way to wrap up a gift.
Plus, standard single-use gift wrap isn't great for the environment. According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians generate over 545, 000 tonnes of waste from gift wrap and shopping bags each year. That's a lot of single-use items ending up in our landfills.
I encourage you to replace one single-use item in your household this Earth Day A great way to start is to replace plastic wrap with beeswax wraps and definitely try the art of furoshiki wrapping below. Your gifts and groceries will thank you.
The Art of Japanese Wrapping
Before we go into how to use them, where does the idea come from? Furoshiki originated in Japan around 710 B.C. According to Wikipedia, the first furoshiki cloths were tsutsumi, and were used during the Nara period as protection for precious objects. Then in the Muromachi period, the cloth came to be known as furoshiki. Usually, slightly rectangular in shape, traditional materials include cotton or silk but can come in a variety of modern fabrics. I love that Mind Your Bees uses 100% GOTS certified organic cotton to create their one-of-a-kind furoshiki cloths.
Furoshiki Wrap Knot Techniques
Furoshiki gift wrapping ideas make your gift-giving more sustainable and environmentally friendly. When you are given a gift wrapped in furoshiki you can save it to wrap another gift in the future. The beauty of this is that you are now no longer throwing money away on single-use gift bags, hunting for the right wrapping paper, or struggling to find where you last put the tape and scissors.
In addition, you can use your furoshiki wrap in so many ways. I have a number of furoshiki cloths around the house that I use for various tasks. I keep a few for gift wrapping, I keep 1 for my travels to wrap toiletries and of course, I use one as my favorite summer purse.
Once you get into the habit of using these cloths, you'll never go back to single-use items again. Save this post for the top 10 ways you can knot your furoshiki wrap.
What size should a furoshiki wrap be?
The most important part is selecting the size that works for your needs. Each Mind Your Bees furoshiki cloth wrap set comes in 2 sizes and they both work so well for all the techniques listed below.
When wrapping a gift or object, ideally the diagonal length of the furoshiki cloth should be 3 times the longest length of the object you will be wrapping. Of course, this is not set in stone and you can use the wrapping techniques below based on your needs.
1) Gift wrap a box
If you're wrapping a square box or book you can use the Otsukai Tsutsumi (basic carry wrap) or the Yotsu Musubi (4 Tie Wrap) from the chart at the end of this post. These are fairly standard wraps and are easy to use for most square and slightly rectangular items.
If you're looking to purchase a wrap you can buy a Mind Your Bees Furoshiki wrap set that includes a small and large wrap for all your needs. These wraps are individually hand-dyed 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton.
2) Wrap clothing or a long box
When wrapping a longer flat object might make you feel like the fabric is too large, but you'll need the extra fabric from the first knot to tie it to the ends. Use the Hira Tsutsumi (Flat Object Wrap) technique or the Kousa Tsutsumi (Slender object carry wrap) for long boxes.
3) Large object or sphere-shaped gift
Anything circular or sphere-shaped is notoriously difficult to wrap. Luckily there's a solution - Similar to tying a bag with your furoshiki wrap, the Suika Tsutsumi technique is a great way to wrap a large round or irregular object.
4) Wrap a cylinder
I picked up a great set of vintage melamine cups at an estate sale and found the Entou Tsutsumi (Long Object Wrap) technique worked perfectly for the stack of cups. The fabric is easy to roll and tie and protects your gift in transit.
5) Gift wrap a wine bottle or two
There are 2 ways you can wrap a bottle of wine. Using these techniques helps you avoid buying an expensive single-use gift bag at the store. Whether you have 1 or two bottles, use a larger Mind Your Bees furoshiki cloth for the Bin Tsutsumi 1 (bottle carry wrap 1) and Bin Tsutsumi (bottle carry wrap 2) techniques below. Fairly easy to do, you tie a knot at the top and then just wrap the fabric around the sides and tie.
6) Knot or tie your cloth into a purse or bag
You can either tie the cloth into a shoulder or handbag or you can dial things up and order a leather shoulder strap online. If you decide to tie your fabric there are 3 techniques you can use:
- Katakake Fukuro (Shoulder carry wrap)
- Tesage Bukuro (Hand carry wrap)
- Futatsu Tsutsumi (2 knots carry wrap)
If you'd like to add a leather strap to your bag you can find them online like this one that I purchased years ago. It's specifically made for furoshiki cloths and is durable and long-lasting. Just fold the cloth in half and then thread the corners of the cloth through the metal buckles and tighten.
7) Gift wrapping many objects without a box
Similar to the techniques above if you have several objects to wrap in one gift, you can use the Katakake Fukuro (Shoulder carry wrap) technique to wrap a selection of items to give as a housewarming or thank you gift.
8) Tie to carry books
Who doesn't love a good book? The Hon Tsutsumi (2 books carry wrap) technique is a unique way to wrap books for a gift or to carry outside. If you're looking for a book to gift check out Moutarde Chou. It is a French-language book of stories, recipes, and secrets of the best snacks in Quebec, Canada.
9) Wrapping a Delicate Gift
Sometimes you need the fabric to protect the object. The Sao Tsutsumi (padding Carry wrap) technique helps prove a bit of extra padding for delicate items in transit.
10) Pro technique: hiding knots when wrapping a box
Finally, the Kakushi Tsutsumi technique is fun to wrap a gift and hide the knots to level up your expertise in wrapping gifts with furoshiki cloths.
IMAGE SOURCE: "How to use "Furoshiki" (Ministry of the Environment) http://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html
Author: Catherine Riley
Catherine is a brand and marketing strategist and is the CEO of Tenth Man Marketing. She supports small businesses, entrepreneurs, and e-commerce stores looking to grow their businesses. Outside of the office, you can find her hiking one of the many trails around Hamilton or on Twitter talking about all things to do with marketing.