How To Use Furoshiki: A Magical Piece of Japanese Wrapping Cloth

Continuing from the last episode, we would like to introduce you another series of new products, which will be added to our online store in the upcoming week. This time, we would like to introduce you some new lineups of Furoshiki, a magical piece of Japanese wrapping cloth which can be used for a variety of purposes.


What is a Furoshiki?


A Furoshiki is a square piece of cloth used mainly for carrying things.

Yumeji Furoshiki with Dokudami flowers


"Furo" means "bath" and "shiki" means "spread," and as the name implies, the word "Furoshiki" comes from the cloth used to spread in the bathroom. In the past, people in Japan are said to have taken steam baths, and Furoshiki was used as a rug for sitting on hot places or as a mat when they got out of the bath. After public baths emerged in the Edo period, it became very popular as a wrapping cloth to carry a change of clothes. Since then, it has become one of the daily necessities for Japanese people to carry around just about anything.


After World War II, however, the popularity of Furoshiki declined due to the introduction of paper bags and plastic bags during the era of rapid economic growth. And after that a long era of disposability continued until the 2000s. However, in recent years, with the increasing demands for eco-friendliness and sustainability, Furoshiki, which can be used as a reusable bag, has been attracting attention again.


If you're not familiar with Furoshiki, it may seem like just a piece of fabric, but there are actually many ways to arrange it! Depending on the size or the accessories you add, you can expand its usage even further. Now, let's take a closer look at how to arrange them in the next paragraph.


Various ways to use Furoshiki


As a fashionable bag


Haven’t you wished if you could only change the design of bags to match your outfit more flexible way? Furoshiki can satisfy such needs of a fashionista. This square piece of cloth can be made into a bag in a very simple way. You don’t need to cut or sew the cloth, all you have to do is to tie the ends together. It’s very easy! Depending on how you tie it, you can make bags of various shapes, and furthermore, if you add extra accessories, you can make them look even more stylish. Choose Furoshiki of different patterns / colors and try making your own favorite Furoshiki bags that will suit each of your outfit!

Furoshiki bag 1: Strawberry Bag with ring handles (Coming soon as new arrivals. It comes with instructions.) 
By adding ring handles and tying both ends around each ring, you can make a cute, round bag. It’s round like a strawberry, so we call it a "Strawberry Bag." It goes well with both Western clothes and Kimono, so it can be easily coordinated with any outfit. 

Furoshiki bag 2: Tote bag with Patchin "Click" magnets (Coming soon as new arrivals. It comes with instructions.)
For those of you who are worried whether you can make a Furoshiki bag nicely, this extra accessory is highly recommended: Patchin magnets. These wooden bars are magnets, so they stick together. "Patchin" is a Japanese onomatopoeia that resembles "click!" sound in English, and describes the sound of magnets sticking together. Each of these bars has a hole at both ends, and by putting ends of cloth through them, a tote bag is easily made, horizontally balanced. The magnetic bars close the rim tightly and prevents the contents from being seen or falling out. 


As a grocery shopping bag


Have you ever gone grocery shopping and impulsively bought more than you could fit in your shopping bag? For such shopaholics, we recommend you making a shopping basket bag using a 100cm or larger Furoshiki. Just spread a Furoshiki directly inside a basket, fill it with the items you bought, and tie the ends together several times. Since it is so compact and lightweight, you can just fold it up and put it in your main bag when you are done using it. Even if it gets stained with soup, you can wash the whole thing afterwards. In these days when hygiene is a concern, being able to keep it clean is also a big advantage of Furoshiki grocery bag.

Hokusai cotton Furoshiki


As a gift wrapper


Gift wrapping papers are beautiful, but when gifts are opened, they get torn and end up in the garbage, right? If you are going to wrap an important gift, why not try wrapping it in a Furoshiki, which can be used again later? It is quite difficult to wrap things well with wrapping papers, but with Furoshiki, you can just tie the edges together and it will give a lovely look with a knot, and you don't even need a ribbon.

Crepe fabric Furoshiki with Hokusai's Art (Coming soon as new arrivals)


Also, bottles that are difficult to wrap with papers can easily wrap with Furoshiki. For gift wrapping, Furoshiki made of crepe fabric, which is soft and shiny, is especially recommended.

Crepe fabric Furoshiki with Hokusai's Art (Coming soon as new arrivals)


For interior decoration


Additionally, we also recommend you to simply make the most of the beautiful patterns / colors of fabric and use it for interior decoration. If you cover a cushion with a Furoshiki and tuck in edges, it turns into a cushion cover with beautiful patterns. In addition, you can use it as a tablecloth by spreading it over a table, or as a tapestry by decorating it on a wall. There are various types of Furoshiki patterns, such as the ones expressing scenery or paintings, and the ones with repetitive designs or geometry. There is no rule that a particular pattern / color is only suitable for a particular purpose. Please enjoy the beauty of the fabric and try incorporating it into your interior decorations.

Yumeji Furoshiki with camellia flowers / light gray (Coming soon as new arrivals)

Makie Hagi cotton Furoshiki

Jiyu-fu Furoshiki (Coming soon as new arrivals)


Be creative with your ideas!


So, which idea did you like the most? In this episode we have introduced Furoshiki, which has been used in Japan since ancient times and has been attracting attention again in recent years. We have mentioned that, sometimes it can be used as a bag, other times as a wrapping material, and some other times for interior decoration, but these are just a few of many ways of using it. If you get creative, there could be thousands more ways—Furoshiki is not just a piece of cloth, but really a magical piece of cloth, isn’t it? Please don’t get caught up with the idea that Furoshiki is only for wrapping, but feel free to incorporate it into your daily life in your own way. And last but not the least, the lineups of Furoshiki introduced in this article will be coming up next week, and we are working on some tutorial videos explaining how to make Furoshiki bags. So please stay tuned for the arrivals of new items on our online store! Thank you very much for reading.

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