Ever wonder what to do when presenting a bottle of wine as a hostess gift? Or how to package it as a wedding shower present for the bride or even as lavish party favors for guests? Try furoshiki. It’s the Japanese art of wrapping colorful fabric squares around packages. Your gift recipient will surely be impressed!
Traditionally used for wrapping Japanese lunch boxes called Bento boxes, furoshiki has also become very popular for packaging gifts. The fabric wraps are chosen for their interesting patterns and textures to create a stunning gift presentation.
Ready to wrap your wine bottle, Japanese style? Just follow these simple directions:
1. Prepare your materials. For our project, we used a 20 x 20 inch silk scarf with an elegant floral print, and a medium-sized wine bottle measuring about 8 inches tall and 2½ inches in diameter.
2. Start the wrap – Stand the bottle upright in the center of the cloth. Draw opposite corners of the scarf upwards and knot them once above the bottle.
3. Create a loop – Make a second knot above the first, but leaving some excess fabric to form an open loop.
4. Secure the loop – Double the knot above the open loop to make sure it doesn’t slip loose.
5. Test the knots – Check that the knots are secure by carefully lifting the package, supporting the bottle with your free hand (remember, it isn’t fully wrapped yet!).
6. Continue to make the wrap – Now, gather the remaining free corners of the scarf in your hands. Hint: The silk fabric can be tricky to handle! So, you may want an extra pair of hands to help with the succeeding steps.
7. Do a cross over – Cross the two ends of fabric around one side of the bottle. Then, extend them to the other side.
8. Tie the wrap in place – On the opposite side of the bottle, draw the fabric snugly around it to create a neat package.
9. Prepare for the finishing touch – Cross the ends over one another and check that there are equal lengths of fabric on each side.
10. Create a pretty bow – Complete the gift presentation by double-knotting the fabric into an elegant bow. And there you have it! A wonderful wine-bottle gift artfully packaged furoshiki style!
The Many Pluses of Furoshiki Wrapping
As if beauty weren’t reason enough to use furoshiki packaging, it has many other benefits as well:
- Eco-friendly – You don’t have to use gift wrapping paper that will just get discarded…and that consumes precious trees in the process.
- Decorative – You can pick and choose the fabric to suit the theme, color motif, and even the season and location of your wedding event. Another great use for furoshiki is to decorate a vase for a wedding party centerpiece. Depending on the size and shape of your vase, you can adorn it with a piece of pretty fabric wrapped around for an attractive décor statement.
- Reusable – Once the gift is unwrapped, the recipient can make use of the fabric again for another purpose. Or if you used a beautiful silk scarf, as we did, the wrap could even be a gift item itself!
- Versatile – Furoshiki is great for odd-shaped objects such as bottles, fruits, or loose gift items. They can also be used to wrap small favor boxes in a fancy and interesting manner. For example, when giving guests a petite box of chocolate truffles, you can use a mini fabric square to envelope the box in place of the traditional ribbon.
Options for Furoshiki Wraps
Fabric items that are already square—such as scarves or bandanas—are best. Choose those in elegant or striking patterns or with interesting textures.
But if you don’t have these on hand, don’t feel you need to buy! You can even utilize your own clothes that have been sitting in the closet forever. Try a printed blouse that you no longer need and cut a square of fabric from it! Even household items such as old tablecloths, throw pillow covers, curtains, placemats, or table napkins can be used—as long as they’re made of soft enough fabric for the wrapping process.
Sites of Interest
Visit these helpful sites for even more interesting information on the ingenious Japanese art of furoshiki!
- – In Focus: How to use “Furoshiki” [MOE]– from the website of Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan
- – DIY Definitions: Furoshiki – multi-use wrapping cloths – from the website of DIY life
- – Gift wrapping: creative ideas from Japan – Page 113 – from the book by Kunio Ekiguchi