At a dinner party, I was entranced when a friend unpacked her backpack to reveal each of her dinner contributions: a bottle of wine, half a loaf of fresh bread, and six Bosc pears, each group intricately bundled in specifically-knotted furoshiki cloth wraps. The wrapping was not only practical, preventing the wine bottle from smashing into the delicate pears on her walk over, but also elevated the whole experience and made the packages feel like gifts.
Furoshiki is a centuries-old tradition in Japan as a way to bundle and transport belongings and presents. It’s waste-free too–which explains why the Japanese Ministry of the Environment issued a pamphlet detailing the different techniques to use depending on what you want to wrap. Furoshiki can be applied to just about any object, large or small, and uses simple knots and folds, all of which are fairly easy to master. Here’s a look at four of our favorite techniques: