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Posted on Sep 5, 2008 in Amorette, Bento, Tips, Tutorial or How-to | 11 comments

A quick how-to:  The furoshiki purse-tie

A quick how-to: The furoshiki purse-tie


Please welcome guest author Amorette (Sakurako Kitsa), who is writing a series on how to make decorative art bento lunches. ~Biggie

Furoshiki purse tieWhether you’re using a lovely silk concoction or a simple square cotton bandanna, furoshiki are really handy. They’re great for carrying bento because they can serve so many other purposes as well:  a placemat, for example, or a napkin.

The Japanese Minister of the Environment recognizes the furoshiki as ideal for helping to minimize the waste of plastic bags. A wonderful illustrated guide to possible uses can be found here.

I’ve always tied my furoshiki a different way, in what I call the “purse tie”. Nope, that’s not the official name. It’s one I made up in my head and that’s worked for me so far. All that matters to me is that it keeps my bento snug and steady,  transports easily with a convenient handle for carrying, and can be popped right into the fridge without taking up a lot of room. Some people have asked for a photo-tutorial on how to do it, and it’s really easy, so here you go.

step 1First, spread the furoshiki out flat on a table. If you’re using a piece of cloth that only has one printed side, place it printed side down. Your napkin (if you’re not using an oshibori in a case) goes on the bottom middle,  followed by the flattest object (usually the bento box). This ensures that it won’t be doing much sliding around. Rounded objects (fruit, drinks, oshibori and hashi cases, and rounded ice packs) are stacked above.

 step 2



Pick up the bottom-left and top-right corners and bring them together.




step 3



Tie snugly (I double-knot). Hold the rounded objects steady if you need to.




step 4



Bring up the remaining two sides,  tucking loose fabric toward the middle so that there are no gaps.





step 5


Slide your hands upward and leave enough space to form the handle. Double knot the ends firmly. And that’s all there is to it!





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  1. this is such a beautiful way to wrap up a lunch to go - almost makes me wish I still worked in an office, as I am sure if I brought my lunch wrapped in a lovely napkin, all my co-workers would be jealous!

  2. Such a simple way to make your lunch extra cute, and convenient as well ;-)

  3. Thanks so much, I haven’t seen any good photo tutes for folding furoshiki and yours is so easy and practical-great job!

  4. Very nice! What size does the fabric have to be? I am a quilter and have a lot of fabric, I could make a wrap like that!

    Thank you for showing us all this beautiful stuff!

  5. Amorette,

    it’s great to have a different perspective and receive new tips for bento-ing in style from another bento artist.

    I love your name, where does it originate?

  6. Amorette,

    Not only I can use your wrapping techniques on my bento boxes, I can use this for wrapping presents! I showed it to my daughter and she said those are great ideas! Thank you very much!

  7. Shelly: The ones I use are 20″ square. That gives me plenty of room for knotting and accommodating larger contents. There are some beautiful fabrics out there, I’m sure you can make some lovely ones.

    Yvette: Thank you! Amorette is French for “little love” or “cherub”. It’s also French for “affair”, but I think (hope) Mom meant one of the first two. ;)

  8. Thanks for expanding our furoshiki tie repertoire! I usually use the Otsukai Tsutsumi wrapping style because it’s basic and the one I remember seeing my friends use on their bentos.

  9. I actually tied bandannas like that to use as purses. I never thought of using it to tie a bento box. I’ll try it sometime.

  10. I love this technique not only for lunches but for carrying bottles of soups to my uncle. Let me explain quickly: I make huge batches of soup every two weeks. I pour the soup into well-rinsed recycled jars or bottles. Then I use the bin tsutsumi2 method to make it easier to carry. It’s always a breeze to do and everyone I’ve taught how to do it, love it.

  11. Thanks for the tutorial & link!
    I’m going to bind a couple of ‘fat quarters’ to do double duty as placemat & furoshiki tie - I have a halfmoon napkin with little pockets for wooden spoon, chopsticks & knife that I roll & tie & keep in my purse for lunch ‘out’ - need to make a second in fall colours!