The Art of Gift Wrapping



I don’t expect that you’ve finished your Christmas shopping.  In fact, I don’t even expect that you’ve started your Christmas shopping.  But in a gesture of motivation/inspiration, let me help you envision the finish line of the gift-giving race: wrapping presents.

Some people have dedicated crafting space complete with drawers of ribbon and glitter.  You know the type—they’re usually forced to wrap their own gifts because their skills are unparalleled.  (How rude!)  But we don’t all have to be Martha.  Even with limited materials and space, you can still enjoy putting the finishing touches on a thoughtful gift.  To help you along the way, here are a few practical (and maybe obvious) tips for a neat presentation.

gift wrap suppliesGift wrap


1. Clear a table or desk for the task at hand.  I know.  Duh!   But you really want to be sure you have an even surface and plenty of space to get ‘er done.

2. Gather your materials in a clear or shallow bin.  Wrapping paper, scissors, bows, gift tags—place it all within arms reach to avoid repeating steps because you have to go into the other room in search of tape.

3. Don’t use too much paper.  Before you trim the paper, make sure it wraps around the entire item and the edges overlap about two inches.  The ends should come down a little more than halfway.

4. After cutting paper, fold under about one centimeter for a more polished edge.  When it comes to the ends, bring the sides in towards the center first.  Then create a triangle from the top and bottom ends.  (This is when the use of just enough paper proves crucial.)   Fold the ends under before taping down, as well.

5. Use double-sided tape.  It makes everything look SO much neater.

is it a t-rex? 

Solutions for tricky items:

The oddly shaped gift

When you’re wrapping a lump of coal or a tennis racquet, you don’t want the recipient to know what’s coming.  To preserve the element of surprise and make your life easier, consider placing the item on a square piece of cardboard and securing it with string before wrapping.  This will disguise the silhouette of the item and make wrapping that much easier. (It will also bring you back to the days of busting out your Barbie doll from her prison of a box.)  As an alternative, you can place the gift in a box before wrapping or skip the paper altogether and use a gift bag, instead.

The gigantic gift

Not to perpetuate clichés, but you bought Dad a huge flat screen T.V. and there isn’t a roll large enough to cover the darn thing.  Besides putting a bow on it and calling it a day, there are a few tricks to getting his gift ready for the big reveal.  Consider using a large sheet of fabric as your wrapping material.  If that isn’t your style, use panels of coordinating paper to create a stripe or lattice motif.  If you employ this technique the use of various strips will become intentional and you’ll avoid the haphazard look of multiple sheet of paper.  If the item allows, you might wrap it length-wise first and use a strip of paper on either end.  Make sure to fold the edges and use your double-sided tape to produce a more polished finish.

The gift card

I always think it’s nice to pair this kind of gift with something related.  For example, if you buy your niece an iTunes gift card, pair it with inexpensive headphones.  Wrap each in coordinating paper and bundle them with ribbon.


Gifts image courtesy of ParkersPrints via Flickr

Supplies image courtesy of HeartHandmadeUK via Flickr

String and scissor image courtesy of Leslie R Adams via Flickr


And now for images to get you thinking about your design approach to this year’s wrapping.


nature wrap giftpom poms

peace paper"it's in the mail" gifts










pink giftpin up paper

space age papermerry and bright gift

Images all via Flickr courtesy of:


















Wendy Cortez

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