design wealth

Try your hand at furoshiki


It’s present wrapping week in our house right now, which means most available flat surfaces are covered in paper and tape. We’re re-using plenty, but I do wish I thought about it a bit further in advance and avoided using so much paper.

A better, and infinitely classier to wrap a present it to do it Japanese style and tie it in a silk handkerchief. As you might expect from a Japanese art, it’s neat, formal and precise, but it’s not so advanced that you need years of practice to have a go. You don’t have to use silk either. Any attractive cloth, tea towel or napkin will do.

There are techniques for wrapping different shaped objects, and you can download instructions from the Japanese ministry of the environment. You could even print off the instructions and include a copy with the present, so that the recipient will know how to re-use your wrapping for someone else – preferably you of course.



  1. I love this. I read your disposability post, which I also love. I feel strongly about this. I try to live as simply as possibly…We just moved, so I’m working on regaining this spirit in terms of finding my bags, setting up my systems, and stuff.

    I do feel so personally guilty about my Christmas wrapping, though. I love furoshiki, but I also love crinkly paper. As a way to assuage my guilt, I made a furoshiki board on Learnist a while ago, (link: ) but since I also used wrapping paper, I feel guilty once again. Maybe I’ll travel further on my road to simplicity-enlightenment soon!

    1. There are other more sustainable options besides cloth or silk. Those gift bags are easy to re-use and give again. If you’re using paper, coloured tissue paper is often classier than printed wrapping paper, and it’s light weight and can be composted. It makes nice minimalist wrapping if you tie it with a bow, which is of course also reusable. I think there’s something nice about giving people presents in wrapping that can be re-used, it becomes part of the gift, rather than just a tear-off and throw away covering.

      The stuff to avoid is the cellophane type, or the more expensive flock or laminated wrapping paper.

      1. I’m going to reflect on this–I really do have enough material to start the furoshiki business, and it shouldn’t be too much investment to buy nice bows. Maybe next year, I can cut down by 50%:) Or do the adults all up nice.

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