Marie Kondo’s Japanese sense of mindfulness and beauty is everywhere at the moment. From her best-seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” to her hit Netflix TV series, Marie Kondo empowers people to connect with the simple joy that our favourite items can evoke.
Another simple Japanese concept that focuses on finding joy in a beautiful physical item is furoshiki: the art of fabric wrapping.
Wrapping a gift taps into our childish sense of anticipation and delight. It’s something that goes back in history a long way. In Korea, square fabric wrapping cloths (called bojagi) have been used as wrapping for weddings gifts and in religious rituals ever since the very first century CE.
The Japanese art of fabric gift wrapping (furoshiki) was first popularised during the 1600s. But this art has recently seen a resurgence in popularity world-wide, not just because of a desire to tap into Marie Kondo’s sense of joy in our everyday items, but also because more and more people are looking for environmentally sustainable alternatives to paper wrap.
Traditional furoshiki wraps are made from silk, but it is possible to use any type of light-weight fabric in furoshiki. We suggest using non-slippery, natural fabrics if you are learning. No matter the size or shape of your gift, it’s important that your fabric is square-shaped and that the gift is one third the size of the fabric that you are using to wrap it.
Fabrics with prints on both sides work particularly well in gift wrapping. If you don’t have a stash of fabric that you can use, you might find that local op shops sell remnants of silks and cottons that can be cut into squares and hemmed. You may also be able to use old, brightly scarves to wrap your gifts.
Beginners might like to start with evenly shaped gifts like books and boxes of chocolate covered macadamias, but there are many different shapes you can wrap with furoshiki. It’s possible to wrap bottles, jars and even oddly shaped collections of gifts just using a large piece of square fabric.
Step one: Start with a piece of fabric that is two-thirds larger than the item you want to wrap. Place the wrap on a flat surface, with one of the corners closest to you.
Step two: Place the item you want to wrap in the centre of the fabric.
Step three: Fold one corner of the wrap over the top of the item you are wrapping. Then fold the opposite corner tightly over the top of that.
Step four: Bring the remaining two corners together and tie them in a simple knot.
Step five (optional): If you have long ‘tails’ to the knot you can tie the tips of them together to create a loop-style ‘handle’ to your package.
This is the simplest wrap to do, but there are many other wrapping options for items that have irregular shapes.
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