How to wrap a gift

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved wrapping gifts. Sometimes I can get a bit carried away with paper and ribbons. It’s somewhat ridiculous at times, I admit. I know that elaborate wrapping is also not the most environmentally responsible thing to do. That said, I do save almost all the materials from gifts I receive (such as tissues, bags, boxes, and bows) and re-use them later for gifts I’m wrapping. And I recycle the paper itself or use it as packing material. You can always use newspaper and wool or cotton yarn instead of traditional wrapping materials.

I think presenting a beautifully wrapped gift makes the occasion and the present itself feel more special. Even a humble loaf of Pumpkin Bread takes on a new level of sophistication when beautifully wrapped:

I love to wrap gifts any time of year, but it certainly feels timely to post these simple steps during the holidays. Here are the basic steps I follow for wrapping a present.

Materials I use:

  • Wrapping paper, or other paper to wrap with. Butcher paper, newspaper, magazines, and paper bags all look great too.
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • A bow, ribbon, yarn, raffia or string. Alternatively, you can use a contrasting piece of paper.

1. Cut your paper to the exact right size. This is probably the most important step. The biggest mistake people make wrapping is to cut the paper too big, making for a very lumpy present. I measure by wrapping the length of the paper around the object and cut about an inch and a half past where the two paper edges meet. Like this:

Your cut piece of paper should be approximately 2 and 1/2 times the length of the item. The ends need to be about 3/4 the height of the item on each side.

2. Fold and tape the paper around the gift. Position the gift so that when you fold the left side up, the paper covers the left half of the back of the present. Use a small piece of tape to secure the paper in place.

I fold the edge of the right side over to make for a clean, finished line. Like this:

When you fold the right side over and tape it, you’ll have this:

3. Fold in the open ends. Once you have two open ends, focus on each end one at a time. Carefully push the top of the overhanging end piece down against the edge of the gift. Give it a nice crisp fold. You’ll know you did this step right when you see the two little triangles coming from each corner, like this:

Fold the two triangle corners in.

Then, fold the bottom up and tape.

4. Repeat step three on the other open end. And finally, top with a bow or ribbon.

These are just basic steps for wrapping a gift. I certainly love to get creative by adding more toppers to the gifts.

Are you a wrapping pro or novice? Do you have suggestions for more environmentally-friendly wrapping supplies that look great?

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4 Responses to How to wrap a gift

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I do all the wrapping for my family (that includes my aunt who pays me for it!) so I guess I’m pretty good at it. I actually enjoy it, which a lot of people find rare. I put in a Christmas movie or some Christmas music and go to town. This year, for my own gifts, I decided to follow an idea I got out of a magazine. I bought solid color red wrapping paper (which took me forever to find, who knew?) and several spools of gorgeous ribbon. So all the gifts under my tree are coordinated. Of course, it looks nothing like it did in the magazine, and I was surprised to find myself missing the hodgepodge of different paper and ribbons/bows that are usually there. I guess I’m not as elegant and sophisticated as I would like to think!

  2. Lindsay says:

    My parents used to pay me $1 a gift when I was little! And I’ve been known to throw in a cheesy movie (Rudolph or Prancer, for example) and wrap. So fun! I can see how I might miss the hodgepodge too. I usually stick to two or three wraps and mix up the bows. Hey, you tried something new, right? Now you know even more what you love. Besides, elegant can be a bit overrated.

  3. margelit says:

    Did you use a hand model for this one;-) I always liked getting your beautifully wrapped gifts. It enhances the experience.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Thanks! And no, no hand model. Just an amateur (me).

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