How to Perfectly Wrap a Gift
Gather Your Materials and Get Started
By Chrissa Banner
Beautiful gift wrapping does more than conceal its contents: it's another way of showing the recipient that they are special to you. It also heightens their anticipation to open their gift. Give them some eye candy and they'll be dying to know what's inside the pretty packaging!
There are lots of little tricks to papering the perfect present, but the real secret is in measuring the paper properly. Lack of excess paper makes the wrapping easier to handle and produces neatly folded ends, which give your gifts an elegant look. Get this part right and you'll tackle the mountain of gifts at holiday time--and for birthdays, showers, and weddings--with carefree aplomb.
For extra tips and photos of all of the steps described in our guide, view our gift wrapping slideshow.
What You'll Need
The right materials make a huge difference in painless present-wrapping. While the tradition lends itself to endless variations, the basic materials are:
- Paper. Select a medium-weight gift wrap in a sheet large enough to cover the item, plus a few extra inches to spare. Thin, dime-store paper, while inexpensive, can crumple and tear during wrapping, and premium papers, though seductively beautiful, can be difficult to work with due to their heavy weight, and resistant to the adhesive of general-purpose tape.
- Scissors. Sharp blades allow you slice the paper in one sweeping movement. If possible, use long paper shears for the most precise cut.
- Tape. Transparent tape with a matte finish "disappears" when you apply it.
- Ribbon. You'll need enough ribbon to wrap around your gift length- and width-wise, plus additional inches to make a bow. Stock up on a selection of colors and styles to add variety to your packages and make your task more fun.
- A gift box. If your gift isn't already in a box, consider putting it inside one to make it easier to wrap. If you are wrapping multiple gifts, they will also be easier to stack and store until you're ready to give them.
Assemble your materials on a large table top and clear plenty of work space where you can unroll your wrapping paper. If the gift has a price tag, now is the time to remove it!