Eco-Friendly Alternative: Furoshiki Japanese Wrapping Cloth

Amanda Ritchie


December 9, 2013

Tis the season to talk about eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper. Rather than big ugly trash bags full of wrapping paper on display Christmas morning, imagine a zero-waste option that is as beautiful as it is economical. Instead of wasting roll after roll of gift wrap, why not wrap your gifts in gorgeous cloth like they’ve done in Japan for thousands of years?

Furoshiki Japanese wrapping cloth has traditionally been used to transport clothes, gifts, and other goods since the 8th century. Using techniques similar to origami, there are many different methods of wrapping gifts with Furoshiki cloth. The art of Furoshiki fell out of popularity during the rise of the plastic bag, but the Japanese Government is rallying to bring back this ancient, eco-friendly tradition. No more will you have to worry about finding gift bags to conceal awkwardly sized items beneath the tree. Furoshiki can be used to wrap even the most oddly shaped items – even bottles of wine.

furoshiki cloth

You can use any thin fabric that you’d like. Furoshiki fabric can range in size from as small as your hand to as big as a bed sheet. More than a dozen examples are illustrated on the Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan website. There are also many video tutorials available on Youtube.

Furoshiki is a versatile art and can be used for much more than gift wrap. You can use the cloth to make reusable shopping bags, fashionable handbags, and can even be worn as a headwrap, belt, and body wrap. See for more ideas.

Will you be giving Furoshiki a whirl this year?




  1. We aluminum foil and paper shopping bags from the supermarket! how’s that for bein(g a greenie. We just get some decorative ribbons, bows or paint/stick decorations on it!

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