Furoshiki — Origami meets Fabric Gift Wrap

So what did people do before plastic bags? Or toss-able wrapping paper? Well, in Japan, they had furoshiki. They used cloth squares, with fanciful origami-type folding and tying, to tote their gear to the bathhouse, to carry their bentos, and to wrap gifts. In an effort to reuse and reduce, this idea is becoming popular in many corners of the world. We've rounded up some information and inspiration on the topic.

First, there's the fabric itself. Here are some that caught our eye (shown above left to right):

· Aqua Forest Folk Fabric Gift Wrap (around $7) by Tiger and Hare

· Azuma Bag and Furoshiki Wrapping Cloths Set ($49) by Holly Storm

· Furoshiki Style Gift Wrapping Cloth ($4) by Natsuriku 2007

· Chocolate Brown Christmas Furoshiki Reusable Gift Wrap, Petite ($3) by Greener Frog

· The online store Furoshiki carries a wide variety of cloths and accessories.

· Or if you are inspired to make your own furoshiki, eHow shares a simple How-to.


So let's say you have the cloth. Now what?

· Make, has a downloadable guide for various tying techniques.

· The book Wrapagami: The Art of Fabric Gift Wraps ($20) also looks interesting.