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How To Do Japanese Gift-Wrapping


In Japanese culture, gift-wrapping can be as important as the gift

Japanese-style gift-wrapping, called tsutsumi, uses paper and cloth to create simple but elegant wrappings for gifts, presents and packages. Furoshiki refers to using a large piece of cloth for the wrapping. These techniques are perfect for birthdays, holidays, weddings, or even everyday marketing and shopping.  They also support and promote recycling and recycled goods.

Trying to figure out wrapping paper with these methods gets really easy, as single sheets of paper work well to not only wrap most common items, but that's exactly the sort of paper size that is best for reuse. Go for thicker, handmade papers which will hold up better to multiple folds and creases. Or try a furoshiki, a cloth wrap.

Gentle colors and contrasting accents are often hallmarks of Asian gift-wrap but there are occasions or styles where you will see bold colors and vibrant patterns. Although you do get a lot of red for good luck and blessings.

Here is some history, links and videos providing information and tips so you can create these fantastic but simple works of gift-wrapped art for yourself! Learn how to make your wrapping more eco-friendly, find a few ways to skip the tape and make the wrapping as memorable as whatever you are giving inside.

Folding & Wrapping in Japan - origata, origami, tsutsumi and furoshiki

These different actions, all of which manipulate paper or cloth without any cutting, can be used for tsutsumi. The Japanese have a history of economical use of both cloth and paper, and the lack of cutting distinctly sets it apart from European/Western techniques.

If you like the ideas of using recycled wrapping paper, or moving away from the use of desposable paper for packaging, you should give tsutusmi a try!

  • The concept of wrapping: origata and tsutsumi
    The concept of wrapping: origata and tsutsumi. There are many techniques and schools for wrapping, but basically Origata[9], or the art of gift-wrapping, is the action of folding paper without cutting it.
  • The Japan Forum
    When giving gifts or sending presents, it is customary in Japan to accord special care not only to the contents but to the way a gift is wrapped and the wrapping itself.
  • h2g2 - Origami
    Origami is the name now given1 to the art of folding paper. The term itself comes from two Japanese words, oru meaning 'to fold', and kami meaning 'paper'. As an art form, and a hobby, it enjoys worldwide popularity with people of all ages and from a
  • Furoshiki - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that were frequently used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods.

Tips and Hints for Japanese Gift-Wrapping - instructions and guides

Furoshiki - Cloth Wrapping - the bath cloth gets reborn

Traditionally, furoshiki was a square "bath cloth." You used it to carry your bath items and fresh clothes to the public baths and you carried your wet bath items and former change of clothes home. A very precise but simple method of tying produces a neat carrying bundle.

Furoshiki can be large or small, silk or cotton, plain or fancy, but their main defining characteristic is that they tend to be square.

The use of this type of personal carry-all is something that is being encouraged in Japan as a way of reducing the many tons of plastic trash produced just by shopping bags in that country annually. I think of this as a great companion to a European string marketing bag for people who like to use cloth or resuable bags. The string bag can hold larger items and a furoshiki works for smaller items when doing small errands and grocery shopping

  • In Focus: How to use "Furoshiki" [MOE]
    This incredible PDF is from the Japanese government. They are encouraging the use of furoshiki as a way of reducing the trash produced by the use of plastic bags. Fourteen different ways of using the furoshiki (cloth) to tie tsutsumi (wrappers) are s
  • Furoshiki
    Furoshiki is a square piece of cloth, whose name literally means "cloth for the bath." It came into wide use in Edo period (1603-1868) in public bathhouses for spreading on the floor while undressing and for wrapping bathing articles. In other words,
  • textile and fibre art resources - at a tangent>furoshiki
    Collected articles on Furoshiki

About Japanese Gift-giving Etiquette

  • Japanese end of year gifts - oseibo - Japanese gifts - Japanese culture
    Japanese gift giving customs - oseibo - the end of the year gifts in Japan - Japanese gifts ideas.
  • Japan Business Practice and Business Etiquette Tips
    The exchange of gifts is an accepted custom in Japan. The gifts do not have to be expensive. Modest gifts with the logo of your company will suffice. Take care, as well, to choose respectable gift-wrapping. It is important that the gift does not incl
  • International Gift-Giving Protocol - from the Netique Gift Boutique
    Gift giving customs vary greatly from country to country. What is considered appropriate in France may be entirely inappropriate in Japan. How do you know that you are not making a cultural "faux pas" when giving a gift to your top international clie
  • Gift Wrap
    In Japan the ritual of opening a gift takes a different form. A gift from anyone outside the immediate family is never opened in the sight of the guest who brought it. It is opened only after her or his departure, and a note of appreciation is then w

Wrapping Up - comments and feedback - Japanese gift-wrapping and gift exchange experiences

EricKnight on March 26, 2013:

Awesome ideas here for gift-wrapping. Thanks for sharing...

Ben Reed from Redcar on March 12, 2013:

An interesting selection - thank you.

rosiembanks on March 10, 2013:

Oh, wow, I didn't know they did this in Japan! These are really beautiful. Great lens!

MelloKnitty LM on March 05, 2013:

I love this, for the appearance and for the eco-friendliness! Thanks :)

Euryale Sinclair from The Left Coast on February 28, 2013:

@BetsiGoutal1: You don't have to wait for Christmas. It works great for any gift-giving occasion!

BetsiGoutal1 on February 28, 2013:

Beautiful! I wonder if it would work to meld two cultures, and use a pretty pashmina shawl as your wrapping? I bet that would be very pretty. :) Thanks for sharing all these great ideas and techniques. I can't wait to try this next Christmas.

PinkstonePictures from Miami Beach, FL on February 19, 2013:

It's like two gifts in one

Pat Goltz on January 06, 2013:

I should have figured this out from what I know of Japanese culture, but I didn't. Thank you for the wonderful information!

Vikki w on May 28, 2012:

very creative...

anonymous on May 11, 2012:

Very nice.

agoofyidea on April 12, 2012:

Beautiful. I wouldn't want to unwrap the gift.

cheech1981 on March 21, 2012:

very cool!

AJ from Australia on March 17, 2012:

There is a definite protocol in exchanging gifts with Japanese and gift wrapping is a part of that.

Michey LM on February 20, 2012:

It is true that in Japanese culture, gift-wrapping can be as important as the gift itself... so you give me great ides in this lens


Ken Parker from Tacoma, Wa on January 15, 2012:

Very nice read/.

MaartjeJepsen on December 29, 2011:

Very interesting read!

ourmarket on December 28, 2011:

Nice lens interesting

Joan4 on December 24, 2011:

Oh I want to try this Japanese gift-wrapping! Thank you! Merry Christmas!

E L Seaton from Virginia on December 23, 2011:

I'm all thumbs, wonder if I could do this. Great and interesting lens.

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on December 23, 2011:

Love it! Too bad I am all wrapped for xmas. Happy holidays

andradar on December 22, 2011:

Very interesting ideas! Great lens!

Lindrus on December 21, 2011:

Great lens and a great idea to replace those plastic bags! Looks so beautiful and easy! Thanks for sharing.

anonymous on December 21, 2011:

Thanks, for introducing me to new things.

Kim from Yonkers, NY on December 21, 2011:

:-( sad all my gifts are already wrapped... But thank you so much for including the video to show how, as written directions & diagrams do not always help. And the How To Tie Furoshiki I hope the bandana I got from lush would be big enough to try it on, as they use it as a gift wrap.

anonymous on December 21, 2011:

It is very interesting. Thank you.

Ahyat111 on December 21, 2011:

This is my first time learning about Japanese gift Wrapping. Cool lens!

anonymous on December 21, 2011:

very useful lens, thank you for posting it!

The Falcon Press from Los Angeles, California on December 21, 2011:

I love the Furoshiki video and gift wrapping instruction. And the Etiquette of gift-giving is valuable info to have.

Angela F from Seattle, WA on December 21, 2011:

Cool lens - the videos really help with the how-to of Japanese gift-wrapping.

chidchan on December 20, 2011:

If you can wrap the gift for someone with one of these styles. The gift will more valuable. And the receiver is really appreciate.

sysuns on December 20, 2011:

very informative

anonymous on December 20, 2011:

I had seen this style of gift wrapping before and thought it would be awesome. Thanks!

ElizabethWallaceUKPOP on December 20, 2011:

In my teenage years, I used to use fine material to wrap presents adding ribbon and tree sprigs (usually a piece with a cone on it) for Christmas presents. Then I'd add a little paint glitter or lines of gold/silver on to same from a tiny tins of aircraft model paint. Organza and synthetics in assorted patterns and colours came up best. It was an art form and everyone I knew then was into dressmaking, so they would use the scap of fabric somewhere in their creative designs. [So many people made patchwork quilts allowing them to use up all their material scraps.] These days there are so many glitzy papers that are relatively inexpensive and people do not sew since same is time consuming. Time has been taken away because everyone rushes around all the time doing everything, predominantly working for 'the man'. What happened to the days of being at home, being a homemaker, specialiazing in cooking, sewing, keeping the home clean and tidy? These days when you come home from work, there is ever so much work for you to do at home. People are just stressed out from having to constantly run around.

A lot has been lost. It's the societal pressure on people to afford a more modern style of living and to 'keep up with the Jones' next door'. This translates to quick fix solutions...glitzy paper for christmas gift wrapping; bows and ribbbons purchased all colour co-ordinated in a box. When occasionally you do get a Japanese style wrapped up's so different that you don't want to open it and spoil the wrapping. My nephew has a Japanese wife, and she says that these days, they also don't do it much any more. She says its easier to also go with the commercial flow.

Sara Krentz from USA on December 20, 2011:

Had never heard of this before; the wrappings are lovely!

miles3311 on December 20, 2011:

im liking this lens... how you wrapped a gift adds beauty and elegance. nice job.

flycatcherrr on December 20, 2011:

I love this lens! Wrapping a gift should be part of the gift, I've always thought - those store-bought gift bags may be convenient, but they don't show the same loving care as a creative treatment like this. And for those of us with a fondness for origami, Japanese style of gift wrap is just perfect!

glowchick on December 20, 2011:

Wow! Very interesting way to present gifts to those you love. Well done!

Linda Pogue from Missouri on December 19, 2011:

What a great idea! It sure beats using newspaper when you run out of paper and can't get to the store!

RaisedVegetableG on December 19, 2011:

Absolutely stunning. I have never seen this concept before, but I love it. I think its too late for me to use the idea this christmas, but I will be returning to this lens over the coming year.

LisaGirlGenius on December 19, 2011:

I love this lens!! Where's the super thumbs up button! I love gift giving, wrapping, and being crafty and creative. Thanks for such a great lens!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on December 19, 2011:

This is a nice alternative to traditional gift wrapping. Very pretty!

fullofshoes on December 19, 2011:

This is great. I just might give it a try, thanks.

queenofduvetcover on December 19, 2011:

This is a wonderful way of wrapping gifts, thank you for this great lens =)

jadehorseshoe on December 18, 2011:

VERY useful lens.

entertainmentev on December 18, 2011:

Makes the gift stand out and the recipient feel even more special. Love it!

curious0927 on December 18, 2011:

Really good stuff, Am always looking for new interesting ideas I've yet to discover. Great Lens. love tutorials.

LadyCharlie on December 18, 2011:

very interesting. Nice lens. Thanks for sharing.

Northwestphotos on December 18, 2011:

Thanks for the tutorial on the origami gift box. Don't know if I have the skill or patience to do this, but perhaps I may try it.

anonymous on December 13, 2011:

Beautiful lens. Very interesting. I had a roommate from Japan. She used to wrap candy in the most beautiful way. I have always been interested in Japanese artists, japanese interior design, etc. Thank you for all of the great and helpful information here. Love it.

bikerministry on December 09, 2011:

Great lens, I love beautifully wrapped gifts. I usually do mine in a hurry, this challenges me to take more time this year. Blessings.

jimmyworldstar on December 08, 2011:

Thanks for the lens, I'll show this to my wife so she can wrap the Christmas gifts in a different style and confuse our family this year! That furoshiki method is clever too, why carry a bag when you can just use your own bath towel to carry your goods?

Buchamar on December 06, 2011:

Beautiful, creative and reusable;e! Some great ideas here! Good Job!

marioaus on December 05, 2011:

whoa these are super cute.

Sher Ritchie on November 28, 2011:

Thanks - I've tried wrapping some presents in Japanese style and the results are fantastic. My own recommendation: Japanese style wrapping is particularly suited to ROUND and CYLINDRICAL presents (think DVD spindles, bottles etc). No need to resort to a bottle-bag (or a scrunched up disaster), use Japanese paper folding techniques to meld the paper to the shape of the object.

jvermilion on November 28, 2011:


seosmm on November 27, 2011:

Very nice lens!

sheilaseven on November 27, 2011:

The Japanese is kinda weird sometimes but this gift wrapping style is quite creative.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 20, 2011:

I love all things Japanese, so it was wonderful to learn how to artfully wrap gifts. Thank you!

Mark Whitman from London on November 20, 2011:

Cool lens. So beautiful!

anonymous on November 20, 2011:

I hadn't heard of this gift wrapping before thank you for all the great links

hessa johnson on November 19, 2011:

Really appreciate the gift wrapping links, have bookmarked. Thank you!

RocklawnArts on November 19, 2011:

Very cool, I may try out the cloth wrapping.

smallhands lm on November 18, 2011:

I found a book on sale about these..haven't tried them yet though. Will do so soon!

LasgalenArts on November 18, 2011:

I'm anxious to try the origata folding technique. Fascinating lens.

emmajowebster on November 18, 2011:

fascinating! i'm gonna try this out!

BuddyBink on November 17, 2011:

An excellent way to save the environment and be stylish at the same time. Well done lens.

Frankie Kangas from California on November 17, 2011:

I love this lens with all it's cool ways to wrap gifts. I love the idea of wrapping with cloth. How green. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

Rom from Australia on November 17, 2011:

Thanks for this!

frydaa on November 16, 2011:

aww that is so cute!

anonymous on November 16, 2011:

this is so pretty and elegant! i love it-thanks for sharing this!

Ann from Yorkshire, England on November 16, 2011:

great resources here, thanks for sharing

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2011:

The Japanese really know how to wrap gifts.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2011:

The Japanese really know how to wrap gifts.

anonymous on November 16, 2011:

I first learned about Japanese gift wrapping from my sister. Have always loved the look of the decorative gifts this way. Nice lens, well done and blessed.

miaponzo on November 16, 2011:

Wow! These are the most beautiful designs!!!!! Blessed!

daphnedangerlov1 on November 15, 2011:

These are simply lovely. I have a friend this going to go nuts over this!

jlshernandez on November 15, 2011:

Japanese giftwrapping is an art in itself. The packages look so beatuiful and attractive. Thanks for sharing such an interesting lens.

Julia Morais on November 15, 2011:

Love this lens. Anything that helps us recycle gets my support.

aussieremovals on November 15, 2011:

Great lens.

Shannon from Florida on November 14, 2011:

Neat lens! Blessed and liked.

LotusLandry from Southern California on November 14, 2011:

I sometimes have used remnants from home sewing to wrap gifts...

aquarian_insight on November 14, 2011:

An amazing way to wrap a gift. Great lens.

totalhealth on November 14, 2011:

very creative and beautiful way of wrapping things.

anonymous on November 14, 2011:

I always loved the looks of these I'll have to try this out for the upcoming holidays!

SiochainGraSonas on November 14, 2011:

What a cool idea. I am going to try this.

MyDestination on November 14, 2011:

Interesting way to wrap things!

Bahrns on November 13, 2011:

Wow Japanese way of gift wrapping looks great and it seems that they really put their all love in dedication on it. This is not just merely gift wrapping... this is art... AMAZING!!!

Material Handling

FreelancinFran on November 13, 2011:

Very interesting. Thank you for this informative lens :)

Elhamstero on November 03, 2011:

I'd heard of this style of wrapping before, but never seen it done. It looks amazing

Jennifer_Glennon on October 27, 2011:

This is very unique. I had never seen this done. Thank you for sharing.

ErHawkns7100 on October 25, 2011:

Very nice alternative.

bolsen19 on September 17, 2011:

Such a cute craft. I've bookmarked it to try later.

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on September 17, 2011:

Wow, who knew? A lovely lens, and a neat topic for a lens.

franstan lm on August 11, 2011:

Blessed by a Squid Angle

neoglitch17 on July 28, 2011:

Awesome! I will use these techniques the next time I have to wrap gifts... or my lunch xD

Thanks for sharing! :D

anonymous on July 10, 2011:

This is really cool :)

JoshK47 on July 07, 2011:

Excellent lens - very attractive way to wrap things!

ForestBear LM on June 25, 2011:

Great lens, really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing

pimbels lm on June 12, 2011:

I have never seen this before but it is very interesting. Great lens, thank you.

sugunalinus on April 28, 2011:

This of course new to me. Very very interesting. Thanks for sharing

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