I don’t like to admit it but I have never been very good at wrapping gifts. Most of the time, you could count yourself lucky if your gift was wrapped in one continuous piece of paper rather then a patchwork collection because I sized things wrong. Yes, I was that terrible at it. If I did size things properly then the corners always ended up bunched and bulky looking. Enough was enough! This year I sat down and studied some gift wrapping tips with the intent of attempting to learn how to gift wrap properly.
Was I successful? To some degree! It turns out that gift wrapping is basically an art form onto itself and being good at it requires some practice. Like all things art related the more time you put into it the better your results – at least while your learning. I imagine that with practice you can get a lot faster. Since this turned out to be a project full of trials and errors (and a whole lot of wrapping paper) It became the perfect subject for a Learn Something New article!
P.S – If you read all the way to the bottom you’ll get my ‘cheater’s tips’ for fancy presents too!
Learn Something New With Kristin
Feature 9 – Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers
Gift wrapping is something that all of us are faced with throughout the year. Birthdays, Anniversary’s and smaller holidays like Valentine’s day generally lead to a bit of wrapping. But nothing will ever compare to the amount of wrapping you’ll have to overcome when it comes to Christmas!
Just for a small point of reference, below is a picture of my typically wrapped gift. The corners are bulky, the cuts are pretty jagged and you can see that the paper is loose. It’s not the worst present I have ever wrapped (like I would show you guys that disaster!) But! there is definitely room for improvement! Thankfully with the gift wrapping tips, I have managed to pull together in this article I think my results will be much better this year!
Gift Wrapping Tips – What Equipment do I Need?
The supplies for your basic gift wrapping project are as follows.
- Wrapping paper
Pretty simple right? Of course, since we are attempting to go a little bit beyond the basics this year then I also suggest you pick up some of the following
- Color coordinated ribbon, paper & gift tags
- Bows of whatever style you like, or you can make your own using wire edged Ribbon as we did for our Easter Vase last spring.
- Double-sided tape – this way you can hide your tape if you feel so inclined
- A Fancy Giftwrap Cutter – Supposedly makes better and faster cuts then scissors.
If you want to get really fancy then some assorted sprigs of fake evergreen, holly, or flowers might also be useful. I have even seen people attach small plastic Christmas bulbs.
Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers – The Basics
Start Early & Take your Time
I feel like half of my problem with wrapping stems from the fact that I feel the need to rush it. Wrapping presents is not my favorite activity during the holiday season. As a result, I tend to wait and attempt it all in one big session. Inevitably I start to run out of time before the kids come home or I just get tired of it and want to be done!
I know that if I take my time and be patient my results will be 100% better. This year I will be wrapping presents as I buy them. No more giant piles that need to be done at the last minute! I will do a couple at a time so that I can do my best quality work. Of course, this won’t help you if you’re a last minute shopper!
Buy Better Quality Paper
Yes, it’s more expensive. But! It doesn’t rip if you breathe on it wrong and it tends to fold better. I am guilty of buying cheap paper and becoming terribly frustrated when it wrinkles, tears and otherwise annoys me. In fact, I used cheap paper to learn the following techniques and highly regretted it. Lessons learned right?
Color Coordinate Things
It turns out that you can get away with a lot of flaws if you make sure everything matches! If your present looks cute at a cursory glance than it’s likely that no one is going to notice those bulky corners in the few minutes it takes them to rip it all off. Matching tags, paper, bows or ribbons can really stand out in a sea of mismatched presents.
Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers – The Techniques
If your anything like me you have probably been wrapping presents the same way for as long as you can remember. Pull the paper up over the sides, pop in the corners and attempt to fold them down into relatively smooth triangles. Secure with tape and your done! It’s simple and effective and if you take your time with it and measure your paper properly it can look very nice!
But I’m terrible at measuring paper and my triangles never fold smoothly! So this year I decided to try out a few other techniques.
I have heard about this for years and decided to give it a try. Despite what everyone says this method is actually harder than those video tutorials make it look. Also, it only seems to work well on square packages. Hardly anything I give away is perfectly square so after an hour or so of rewinding the youtube video and attempting to figure it out, I ditched this method.
If you can figure it out then the results really are quite lovely but I couldn’t get it to work. Maybe I’m just wrapping inept!
That said I did learn a few things from this method and I might use them for a few presents this year. Likely for those going to adult family members. I don’t know if spending the time on this is worth it when it comes to kid’s presents, I don’t think they tend to care much about the quality of your wrapping!
Diagonal Wrapping – Line up your folds with corner seams
This takes a little bit of practice but I admit it does look quite a bit nicer. Rather than pressing in your corners to make the triangles, we are all used to, this method has you pulling the paper up from the bottom. You then fold the paper in so that the seams are along the sides of your present. The end result is a tighter and less bulky corner!
This tutorial explains it fairly well, though I still had to practice a bit before I started getting good results and I found it quite time-consuming. As I said above this is probably something I will attempt for presents where the presentation is more likely to be appreciated. Here are some pictures to help you get a better idea too!
If you can’t get the hang of diagonal wrapping and bother with the corner seams than another recent craze seems to be pleated wrapping. I am happy to say that this method is much easier! But, it tends to look better with solid colored thicker paper. If your paper has a bold pattern or is too thin so the folds don’t create enough of a shadow it can be difficult to see. Depending on how many pleats you want to add this method also uses a lot of paper.
To make the pleats you measure your paper, making sure to add a good bit of length and then fold it much like a paper fan. Just make sure that you stagger the folds so that they don’t all line up perfectly but allow each pleat to show up above the one underneath. It should resemble te picture below when you’re done!
The hardest part of this method was making sure the pleats were relatively straight and making sure I had enough paper. It’s kind of annoying if you fold one too many times and no longer have enough paper to cover your gift!
Pleated Wrapping Bonus
As a fun little bonus, you can use the folds from your pleats to tuck in the gift tag or some curled ribbons/sprig of evergreen for an extra special look!
Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers – The Truth
So as much as I really wanted to try and up my wrapping game this year and I definitely intend to follow some of the tips I have discovered, the truth of the matter is… it’s kind of a pain in the butt and wrapping will never be my favorite activity. With the exception of a few gifts for very specific people, I’ll probably stick to the basics. My kids, for example, really don’t care much about what a present looks like.
I do like the look of the pleated paper, it’s much easier to handle than trying to line up seams or figure out diagonal wrapping. Odds are my ‘special’ wrapped gifts will end up being pleated. With some additional ribbon and bow details to make it look much fancier then it really is. With that in mind, here are a few ‘cheats’ to make your presents look fancy without any fancy techniques. Maybe a few out of the box suggestions too! It’s all in good fun my friends.
Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers – The Cheat List
- Spring for big fancy premade bows – You know what’s great at hiding jagged edges and a bulky corner? A giant bow and some curly ribbon. The poofier, curlier and shinier it is the better. Bonus points if you follow the above tips and color Coordinate it all.
- Make sure the tape and seams are on the bottom – Even if your corners aren’t completely flat you can make a present look much nicer if no one sees the tape and seam lines. If you mess up and end up with it on the top hide it with a loop of Ribbon. Been there and done that.
- Pick out really pretty paper – Pretty paper with color coordinated bows and ribbons go a long way. If people are absorbed in the sparkle of your fantastic paper they probably won’t notice your less then flat folds.
- Use flowers or Christmas Ornaments as Decoration – Adding a fake sprig of evergreen or attaching a pretty ornament tends to make a pretty good impression. Especially if it is combined with a bow and some ribbon.
- Remember to Use Gift Tags – We have all had years where we run out or forget to buy gift tags. Nothing makes your already troublesome wrapping look worse than writing names directly on the paper. Not even folding over a scrap piece of paper can save you. It seems simple but a pretty gift tag can go a long way!
The Super Time-saver
- Consider Gift Bags or Preprinted Boxes – Gift bags can be really cute and some preprinted boxes I have received I have kept because I like them so much. There is nothing simpler than using a gift bag or a preprinted box. They tend to be pretty cheap to buy (especially if you check out your local Dollar Stores) and you can always jazz them up with ribbons, bows and fancy tissue paper. Gift bags are especially useful for oddly shaped gifts, sure I could spend an hour attempting to make that cylinder look nice or I could just pop it into a gift bag and call it done.
The Long Game & Kids
- Teach your Family members an object lesson – Are you tired of Aunt Lucy’s elaborate wrapping and nearly impossible to get into gifts showing you up? Buy yourself a lot of ribbons and go to town. Use Wire edged ribbon to make a giant bow and tie it around the box. Make sure to add a lot of super curly smaller ribbon to the bottom so that its nearly impossible to untie without tangling. Bonus points if you use that plastic curly ribbon that refuses to break. Color coordinate it and smile when she has to go and look for scissors to cut it open. Next year no one will complain about your quickly wrapped but easy to get into gifts!
- Follow Elsa’s lead and just ‘Let it Go” – Especially for kids. Kids do not care if their presents look like they were wrapped by your dog. Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother with a card. Kids look at a present for approximately .001 seconds before ripping it apart, why are you spending 20 minutes trying to make it look pretty?
Gift Wrapping Tips for Terrible Wrappers – Most Importantly!
Remember to have fun! Christmas is a holiday. While it would be nice to turn into a gift wrapping master, how you wrap something isn’t as important as the thought you put into the gift and the knowledge that you’re making someone happy by sharing it.
Do you enjoy wrapping? Share your tips below if you have some!