The art of Furoshiki

The art of Furoshiki

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Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese art which consists of wrapping small objects in squares of fabric to transport or offer them. Originally intended to protect rich costumes, its use was then extended to everyday objects before going out of fashion in the second half of the 20th century, supplanted by plastic or paper bags. But more recently, with the enthusiasm for DIY and for the sake of ecology, the interest in this discipline combining refinement and fight against waste has resurfaced, and both Japanese and Westerners have (re) discovered furoshiki and the pleasure of wrapping gifts in shimmering fabrics. The advantage is that the furoshiki is self-sufficient and serves both to wrap, hide and transport your present until the time of giving it. For Christmas or any other occasion, do not hesitate to drop a note inside the sections of the fabric to give even more importance to the opening ceremony and surprise your recipient!

Furoshiki: choosing your fabric

The piece of fabric must be square, and its size must be sufficient to completely cover and hide the gift it contains. Do not choose it too large anyway, the knots would hang and it would be less pretty. The most common models are 50 to 75 cm wide, but you can completely use a larger or smaller fabric depending on the object you want to pack. Choose a fabric not too thick to form pretty knots, but which still has a little hold: cotton is perfect when it is not too thin, and silk allows to obtain a refined result. Taffeta or a synthetic blend can also be used for exercise, but avoid elastic materials, you would be disappointed with the result. Regarding the reasons, give free rein to your desires! You can opt for a Japanese print to accentuate the Asian reference, but all patterns are allowed. Do not hesitate to choose graphic and colorful fabrics, Christmas prints, wax or even liberty. The main thing is that the container is as fun as the content, and that the recipient wants to use it later. You can find fabrics specially designed for furoshiki in Japanese stores, but you can easily make your own from fabric coupons; just be sure to topstitch or hem the edges so they don't fray, unless you want a more rustic and natural effect. Square scarves or a bandana can also do the trick, and it's an original way to make a double gift!

Furoshiki or the double gift!

The basic principles of furoshiki

There are many ways to wrap a gift, grouped into three main groups. So we talk about fukusa-tsutsumi if the fabric is folded around the gift, otsukai-tsutsumi when the packaging has a knot and yotsumusubi if the packaging has two knots or two handles. More generally, it is the shape of the object to be wrapped that will determine the mode used: a long object for example will often require two nodes. There are two types of knots: the flat knot made with two "corners" of fabric, and the simple knot made with one corner. These knots do not present any particular difficulty, but the result will depend on your ability to make regular folds and to gather the fabric in a harmonious way. Practice with a thin cloth or scarf before you start, with the habit, you will acquire the right gestures and will know how to distribute the textile surplus in an aesthetic way. Square, round, rectangular or cylindrical gifts are particularly suitable for furoshiki, but once seasoned you can even get started in more elaborate forms.

Beautiful and simple to make, what more could you ask for?

Some examples

To wrap a square box, place the box in the center of your fabric, diagonally. Pick up two opposite corners and make a double knot in the center of the box, about 5 cm from the corners of the fabric. Adjust the gathers then raise the other two corners and tie them in turn twice, over the first knot but by shifting it a little so as not to hide it. Distribute the gathers well for a symmetrical result.

We detail the steps for a square object ... To wrap a round object (ball, effervescent bath ball, soap, round case, bottle ...), just fold the corners on top of the object creating pretty gathers , and close everything with one of the corners by a simple tight knot surrounding the other corners. For a more sophisticated result, there is another solution, more complex but which has the merit of forming a practical handle for transport: place the object in the center of the fabric, raise two contiguous corners and tie them twice by tightening well . Pass the remaining corners under the knot and twist them above the object. Then tie these two ends together to form a loop.

… And for a round object!

The long life of furoshiki

The advantage of furoshiki is that, unlike conventional gift wrapping, its life does not end when exchanging gifts. It is therefore a second present made to the recipient, who can, according to his tastes, the style and size of the fabric, reuse it on other occasions. He can in turn use it to offer something but also as a scarf or headband, he can slip his delicate things on the trip or even improvise a small picnic tablecloth!

One would almost want to not open these gift packs because they are so beautiful!