Here’s a handy guide on how to wrap a gift for your loved ones, in case you want to level up from shoving stuff into gift bags as you’ve done year after year.
Learn How to Wrap a Gift | 8 Steps To Decently-Wrapped Parcels
What you’ll need:
- Wrapping paper
- Your choice of ribbons, bows, twine, or all of the above
Step 1: Create a Working Space
Clear a wide, flat surface as your working station (or just plop down on the floor). Assemble all your materials accordingly and in such a way that nothing will fall and accidentally stab you in the foot. Keep small children and curious pets sequestered and distracted in another room while you work.
Step 2: Secure the Contents
Make sure that all items you are about to gift-wrap are well-secured, especially the fragile items. You don’t want anything jostling about in the box getting damaged as you’re wrapping them. Use small pieces of tape to keep boxes closed; nothing ruins the fun of unwrapping gifts as much as clawing at long strips of tape sealing a box shut. Remember, you’re presenting an element of surprise for loved ones, not concealing highly classified items.
Step 3: Measure Your Wrapping Paper
Roll out a section of wrapping paper. Without cutting it yet, place your parcel upside down in the center so the seams will be located on its underside later on. Bring one side of the wrapping paper over the box towards the opposite edge. Make a rough estimate of how much paper you’ll need to cover the parcel before finally cutting the wrapping paper.
Step 4: Secure the Box
Place the box on the center of the section of wrapping paper you just cut. Bring one edge of the paper to the middle of the box and use tape to secure it there. This is so that the box doesn’t move around as you wrap a gift, and also to ensure at least some basic symmetry.
Step 5: Fold the Other Side
Prepare to bring up the other end of the paper. Before you do so, fold about half an inch of the edge. Make a tight crease by carefully running the edge of a finger or a smooth, rounded object over it. Finally, bring it up towards the middle of the box. Make sure it overlaps the first fold that’s taped to the box before securing it with tape.
Pro-tip: For a neater look, use double-sided tape. This is also great for those who are happy enough to tear wrapping paper to shreds come Christmas morning. Though it’s not ideal for the demographic of people who carefully unwrap their gifts to save the wrapping paper for next year (aka your mother).
Step 6: Fold the Flaps of Paper on Either Side of the Box
Pick a side, then fold the shortest flaps against the box. Secure with tape. This creates two larger flaps. Fold the rounded sides until they’re tightly creased. They should form triangles. Depending on the length, fold each of those flaps until they lay flat in the middle of the side on which they’re located. Crease tightly once again, lay one flap over the other, then secure with tape.
Step 7: Flip the Box and Repeat
Stand your box on the opposite end, setting the side you’ve previously worked on face down. Repeat step 6 on the flaps of the side facing up.
Step 8: Wrap it Up with Some Finishing Touches
Decorate your wrapped gift with twine, ribbons, or bows. Decorating options include:
1. Twine simply cross-wrapped around the package for a rustic look—time to put those knotting skills to good use!
2. Dazzling curly ribbons (carefully pressing strips of them between your thumb and the sharp side of a pair of scissors, and pulling until curls form)
3. The biggest, most glittery, most sparkly bows simply slapped over your problem areas (when in doubt, or in case of botched wrapping)
Bonus: Gift Wrap Ideas
While there are hundreds of types of wrapping paper available in all the manner of designs and prices, you can make wrapping paper by yourself, or source materials from craft stores. Some DIY gift wrap ideas include:
- Brown Parcel Paper – It may look plain, but as they say, less is more. It also makes for a simple and rustic look to a present, and can be easily dressed up or dressed down with either the most snazziest of ribbons and bows, or a simple note card for the no-frills gift recipient
- Old Newspaper – Get points for recycling by using old newspaper as wrapping paper. Like brown paper, it can be dressed up or down with ribbons. You can also create visual contrast against the black and white of the newspaper by drawing on it with colored pens. This is also perfect for when you’re wrapping gifts with children and don’t want wrapping paper to go to waste. Pro tip: Win cool dad points by encouraging children to draw on the newspaper before using it as wrapping paper.
- Craft Paper – You probably have sheets of craft paper you’ve been trying to find ways to get rid of lying around the house, so why not use them now? Craft paper comes in many colors and textures and will look great wrapped around a gift for a special someone. Loved ones are sure to gasp and wonder where you had it professionally wrapped. Disclosure of actual wrapping paper origins, optional.
Up for a gift-wrapping challenge? YouTube user BeatTheBush shares a jaw-dropping 30-second gift-wrapping hack he picked up from Japan:
One final tip: Make sure you do your wrapping well ahead of the busy holidays. You’re going to need time to figure stuff out (or time to say screw it, and head out to buy gift bags).
Got any gift-wrapping tips and tricks of your own? Share your knowledge in the comments section!