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Reusable Bags - Cloth Wraps

Updated on November 16, 2016

Reusable Cloth Wrapping Paper

Why furoshiki? It is reusable and multipurpose. Each year billions of plastic bags end up as litter; reusable bags, such as furoshiki can help reduce the impact to our environment. Its versatility allows you to wrap almost anything regardless of its shape or size.

Pronounced something like 'f'-ROHSH-kee,' furoshiki originates from Japanese culture and promotes caring for the environment and reducing waste; Furoshiki is the eco-friendly wrapping cloth. Using techniques similar to origami, it can be used for gift wrapping, grocery shopping or simply as décor. Cloths can also be tied up in various ways to make an 'instant bag.' Choose from a wide variety of sizes and designs to complement your lifestyle.

Furoshiki Folding Video - A variety of eco-friendly wrapping styles

In addition to it being sustainable, furoshiki is the fastest way to wrap a gift, one of the nicest presentations and easy to carry.


Simple Furoshiki Folding Guide

Here are many ways to wrap and tie furoshiki. If not using furoshiki as gift wrap, you can use them to protect and carry two books, or a watermelon, or bottles of wine.

Click on the image for a full sized version.

I've created what you might call a "mottainai furoshiki". The Japanese word mottainai means it's a shame for something to go to waste without having made use of its potential in full. The furoshiki is made of a fiber manufactured from recycled PET bottles, and has a birds-and-flowers motif drawn by Itoh Jakuchu, a painter of the mid-Edo era.

The Japanese wrapping cloth known as the furoshiki is said to have been first used in the Muromachi Period(1392-1573), when people spread it out in place of a bath mat or wrapped one's clothes with it.

The furoshiki is so handy that you can wrap almost anything in it regardless of size or shape with a little ingenuity by simply folding it in a right way. It's much better than Plastic bags you receive at supermarkets or wrapping paper, since it's highly resistant, reusable and multipurpose. In fact, it's one of the symbols of traditional Japanese culture, and puts an accent on taking care of things and avoiding wastes.

It would be wonderful if the furoshiki, as a symbol of traditional Japanese culture, could provide an opportunity for us to reconsider the possibilities of a sound-material cycle society. As my sincere wish, I would like to disseminate the culture of the furoshiki to the entire world.


Environmental Facts

According to the result of Eco Event conducted by Japan's Environment Ministry in October 2005, one plastic bag, weighing 8 to ten grams requires from 16 to 18 ml of crude oil to produce. Furthermore, it emits 30 g carbon dioxide during the process of manufacture and a further 31g of carbon dioxide during incineration. Imagine, by NOT using one plastic bag about 61 grams of polluting carbon dioxide is prevented from further degrading our breathing air! As well, the Ministry determined that 30 billion plastic bags are annually used in Japan requiring 0.6 million km liters for its manufacture resulting in a mountainous 0.6 million tons of garbage sent to overburdened landfills. Foregoing the use of plastic bags for daily shopping is vital to our planet's environmental health. Instead, by using a traditional furoshiki, (a square of cloth) definitely lowers carbon dioxide emissions thus becoming a positive contribution to the prevention of global warming.



Birch bark and fresh leaves are surprisingly pliable; just roll and secure with twine. Find them in Asian markets and outdoors.

Clockwise from top left: Banana leaf with cinnamon, bamboo leaves with hemp twine, bamboo leaves with star anise, banana leaves with reeds, birch bark with a feather.


Biodegradable stuffing cushions small, fragile items just as well as plastic bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts, a recycler's worst nightmare.

Clockwise from top left: Used wrapping paper, shredded; unsalted peanuts in their shells; air-popped popcorn; a pine bough.


Easy to find and work with, vintage and repurposed papers add pop to presents. Layer several colors and textures, or add vintage beads for a finished look.

Clockwise from top left: Vintage wallpaper; Chinese newspaper topped with colored paper; recycled map; grocery bag with Japanese beads.

Created by Donna Garlough and Lauren Sanders; photographs by Karl Juengel; styling by Dawn Sinkowski [via]

That's a wrap! - Do you think you'll be using this eco-freindly wrapping method this holiday season?

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    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      I always try to repurpose something instead of using wrapping paper, but I had never heard of this before. What a lovely idea.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      These are so awesome!

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      Yes. What an excellent and unique lens. I am lensrolling it to my living green lens.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 7 years ago

      I want to start doing this! Very Cool

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 7 years ago

      Nice idea.

    • profile image

      scar4 7 years ago

      Of course I would give it a try this autumn season, but how can I do with my other shopping bags?

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 7 years ago from Pueblo West

      This guide and turorial is excellent. I have a box of fabric but would have to hem them all. Large scarves sound like a great alternative:)

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 7 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      This is a great idea. I had not heard of furoshiki before today. Thanks for posting this useful information.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      I absolutely adore the idea of Furoshiki! And this is a gorgeous lens. I hope you don't mind but I featured this lens on my textiles challenge lens about making textiles to wrap gifts. Let's hope we can make wrapping paper a thing of the past!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      amazing.......please keep the gud work will be green in no time......:-)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      I've been wrapping gifts in fabric for decades - had no clue there was an actual art to the practice. How wonderful to find all these creative folds for gift wrapping!

    • DianeStafford profile image

      DianeStafford 8 years ago

      Love the eco wrapping ideas, sadly a little short of banana leaves here. Great lense :-)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      A great idea for gifts. Lensrolled to my wine bag lenses. Squid Angel Blessed.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      Love it! Lensroll returned to Wrapsacks Gift Bags.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 8 years ago from Minnesota

      Really useful information. I've been meaning to learn how to do this. Thanks!

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Interesting ways of wrapping gifts.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      annetteghallowe1 8 years ago

      When I lived in West Africa, I used local Batik cloth to wrap gifts I was sending home for the holidays. I took the gifts to the shipping office, showed what each gift was and wrapped them up in the fabric before they sealed them! Nice to know there is a correct way to do it!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      What fun! Thrifty, creative, and smart!

      You're officially blessed!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      You should add this lens to 'Reuse it all!' group! I'll take good care of her there! ;)

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 9 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this lens. I've featured it on A Clutter Free Eco Friendly Christmas.

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

      This is very cool! Lately I've been trying to find resourceful ways to wrap gifts that are actually part of the gift. This has given my some great ideas for wrapping many of my holiday gifts. I am a collector of fabric and love to shop the discount table for great buys on discontinued designs and remnants. I really appreciate the easy to follow instructions you've provided too. :)

    • Nancy S Oram profile image

      Nancy Oram 9 years ago

      Many years ago I bought deeply discounted Christmas fabric right after the holidays and with two or three simple seams made them into gift bags. The bag became part of the gift, and I think people were more excited over that than what was inside. They in turn gave their gifts in the bags and they have been passed around year after year.