Wrap Your Gifts in a Dishtowel, Furoshiki-Style

Un-Gift Guide 2008

Furoshiki are Japanese cloths that are used to wrap gifts and other items such as bento boxes. They can be used as book bags, grocery bags or to wrap any small items for transportation. They’re also handy when used to wrap picnic supplies, providing an instant napkin when unpacked.

I’ve discovered that a dishtowel can be used furoshiki-style instead of wasteful wrapping paper. It's especially sweet when wrapping kitchen-related gifts. Read on for some fun furoshiki gift combinations.

Furoshiki are traditionally square while dishtowels are usually rectangular, so you’ll have to improvise a little. But cloth is very forgiving so it shouldn’t be too hard. For instructions, go to this handy guide from the Japanese government on to how to use furoshiki.

Here are some fun un-gift combinations to wrap up in kitchen towels. Larger items can be wrapped in small tablecloths. If your recipient is a sewer, a square of vintage cloth would be a wonderful choice:

Combo #1 - For the Chief Bottlewasher
• Special dish soap such as Mrs. Meyers

• Cute scrubbie, maybe even homemade.

• CD mix of music to wash dishes by (my pick here).

Combo #2 - For the Sweet-Tooth Baker
• Flea market mixing bowl and measuring spoons

• A bag of good chocolate chips

• Homemade vanilla

• Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe

• Tuck a wooden spoon into the knot

Combo #3 - For the Mixologist
• Faith’s Quince Ratafia in a pretty bottle

• Collection of small glasses

• Custom cd mix of your favorite before dinner music

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A cookbook or a recipe book are always extra nice when wrapped in a dishtowel furoshiki. Here again, a wooden spoon or other small kitchen implement tucked into the knot is a fun addition.

It’s always a challenge to come up with an alternative to those corny wine bags they sell in the stores. Follow the furoshiki link above for instructions on how to wrap a bottle. You can even wrap two together and form a handle with knots for easy carrying.

As you can see, wrapping gifts with cloth is a little addictive. Once you start, you won’t want to stop. Those of you who are crafty and have scraps of cloth lying around the house are even more vulnerable to the craze. It's pretty easy to find nice vintage dishtowels at flea markets but the holidays are almost here, so you can also check out Anthropologie or even Target for some nice options. Have fun!

Related: Gift Idea: 10 Favorite Tea Towels