Furoshiki guide from Japanese Ministry of Environment

What is Furoshiki?


Furoshiki is the name given to the fabric used to wrap gifts in Japan. Furoshiki wrapping is simple, stylish and sustainable.

This traditional technique of gift wrapping is seeing a reprise with those of us who are seeking to be more environmentally friendly and searching out more sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper.

It’s estimated that Brits alone bought enough wrapping paper to reach the moon in 2013, and if you add that to the use of wrapping paper globally that’s a lot of paper; much of which isn’t recycled or cannot be because it has glitter, foil or sticky tape on it. (see future blog post on what’s recyclable and what’s not)

So one alternative to wrapping paper I have found is Furoshiki, read on to find out more.


How do I wrap gifts using fabric?

Start with square fabric;

The most common sizes to use are 45cm x 45cm and 70cm x 70cm but in general the cloth used should be 3 times the size of the item being wrapped.

What type of fabric can you use? Any fabric that can be folded can be used to wrap gifts: silk, cotton and canvas are commonly used. Ideally the cloth needs to be opaque (not see through), be flexible enough to tie knots in it and the edges should be neatly finished.



Youtube videos: So unfortunately I didn’t have time to make my own video yet, but I found some great inspiration on Youtube.

This video from Japan objects shows you how to simply wrap a gift and also how to make bags using Furoshiki.

More techniques: This video from Art Gallery Fabrics on Youtube gives you three techniques for wrapping.

Guides straight from Japan: The Japanese Ministry of Environment issued this visual guide to wrapping using Furoshiki, which is also available as a PDF, so you can save it for future use. It has techniques for wrapping for many shapes and sizes of gifts. (See image above)

Etiquette: Traditionally Furoshiki wraps are given back to the gift giver once the gift has been unveiled, so don’t be offended if your are given back the fabrics from the gift recipient, but also the recipient may keep the Furoshiki fabric to use in the future.

Where Can I find Furoshiki fabric?

There are now lots of online options for purchasing Furoshiki cloth, a quick search on Amazon or Etsy will provide you with some sellers, but here in France I also came across some for sale, at a very reasonable price for five pieces of fabric on the Gifi website.


You can also upcycle fabrics: Vintage silk scarves, tea towels, pretty bed linen, curtains and even old clothes can be used.


There you have it; simple, practical and eco friendly – Furoshiki is I’m sure going to continue to see a big return with the benefits including no sticky tape and no glitter explosions all over the house! or some of the other bug bears we hate about wrapping gifts.

For young children, Furoshiki perhaps does not provide the excitement of ripping off a layer of paper, but older tweens & teens who are increasingly more eco aware will appreciate a gift lovingly wrapped in a beautiful piece of fabric.

And don’t forget….. I make sustainable wooden pyrographed gift labels to complete your eco friendly wrapped gift.

In my Recycling Guide I have addressed what’s recyclable and what isn’t, helping us make better choices when it come to Christmas and reducing waste.

I hope you liked this post, if so please do share it, and if you have received a beautiful Furoshiki wrapped gift, or tried one of the techniques above, let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook Page, I’d love to see your finished projects.

à bientôt