If you've never heard the term furoshiki before, I am happy to introduce you to it!
The furoshiki originates from Japanese culture, which promotes caring for the environment and reducing waste. It is the eco-friendly wrapping cloth, although it has been around long before "eco-friendly" was a term. The furoshiki is a cloth which can be used to wrap nearly any item, to give and wrap a gift, used to transport items, or wear as a purse or article of clothing. It's so simple. Rather than plastic bags and wrapping paper that often end up as litter and trash, this reusable cloth can help reduce our impact on the environment. Using techniques similar to origami, it can actually be a lot of fun to transform a furoshiki into a great number of styles.
As you may already know, I'm a fan of most anything that is convertible or versatile. I also started learning origami at the age of 7, so this gets double points! Conservation and waste reduction have become very important to me. As I think about the trash I produce (and people in general), I am driven to learn more about how to reduce that amount, and of course, add reusable and environmentally friendly products into my daily life instead of disposable things.
My lovely sister (who always manages to pick out the best Christmas gifts for me) actually gave me my first furoshiki a few years ago, before I had even heard the term. She styled it up as a bag, raw fabric edges and all, telling me I could finish them however I like and printed out several pages showing me how to turn it into different things. (Later I'll post a tutorial on different ways to finish the edges for those of you that want to make your own.)
Essentially a furoshiki is a piece of cloth. With a little creativity (or helpful furoshiki guide) you can use it to replace everyday disposable items like plastic bags, paper bags, reusable (synthetic fiber) bags, gift wrapping, tissue paper, as well as simply add it in for a decorative touch. There are hundreds of different uses for a furoshiki, but I'm going to start off with a few basic ways that I actually use them.
*Note, your bag (or whatever you make) will be different sizes depending on the size cloth you use. This furoshiki I am demonstrating with is a 35" square.
Lets start with a simple shoulder bag:
Step 1: Tie good sized single knot in one corner. This distance from the corner creates a more open bag. If you want a more rounded bag or have many small items inside, make the knots further from the corners.
Step 2: Tie a single knot in the opposite/diagonal corner.
Step 3: Take the remaining 2 corners and tie them together in a double knot, close to the ends.
This becomes the bag's handle/shoulder strap.
TADA! You have a lovely shoulder bag! Great for some groceries or a towel for the beach!
The second version I would like to show is a medium size hand carrying bag:
Step 1: Tie a single knot in all 4 corners, a little ways away from the end. You'll need these "tails" later.
Your furoshiki should look something like this:
Step 2: Tie 2 "tails" that are directly next to eachother together in a double knot. This creates a handle.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 with the other set of "tails" to make the other handle.
TADA! What a lovely little bag!
Thanks for reading! I hope you can find a way to incorporate a furoshiki into your life!
Just in case the photos aren't enough, I made a little video of how to make this hand carrying bag: