15 Easy Tricks for Wrapping Presents Perfectly
Never struggle with a cut or corner again.
While wrapping a gift may seem like a simple task, doing a Martha Stewart-worthy job is rarely as easy as it seems. Though the basics—like cutting paper, applying tape, and adding bows—are skills easily mastered by your average kindergartener, there's a major difference between getting the job done and getting it done right.
Instead of delivering a load of haphazardly-wrapped presents again this year, hoping your loved ones will brush off those lumpy packages as yet another indication of your "quirky" style, it's time to learn how to wrap them like a pro. With that in mind, we've compiled the easiest ways to make your gifts look flawless every time.
Don't shy away from busy patterns.
Unpatterned wrapping paper is a truly unforgiving medium. If you're not a wrapping pro, use a busier pattern instead.
"For the wrapping challenged, the more intricate a wrapping paper, the better! Mixed patterns hide a lot of messy wrapping work if you don't have the time or the patience to make it look seamless," says Lauren Decker, owner of gift and jewelry shop The Curated NY in Beacon, New York.
Get yourself professional cutting tools.
The right tools make all the difference when it comes to achieving a masterfully-wrapped gift. "Get yourself a T-Square, a rotary cutter, and a cutting mat and you'll be zipping through straight lines without having to use too much concentration," suggests Decker.
Use double-sided tape.
If you want to your presents to look perfect, skip the single-sided tape. "Double-stick tape is your friend! Seamless wrapping magic!" says Decker. "Invisible seams are possible by taping the side of the paper to the very edge of the present, then wrapping it around [the gift]…use double-stick tape to keep it in place."
Fold the ends of your wrapping paper before sealing with tape.
Instead of simply bringing your wrapping paper around an item and sealing it, edge-to-edge, fold your paper in on itself, creating something of a paper hem, for a more even look. Then, pull the paper tight around the box or item you're wrapping, and overlap the folded edges slightly before taping. "This hides crooked cuts for a cleaner look," says gift stylist Corinna vanGerwen.
Use quality materials.
Spending a little more money on your wrapping supplies can get you a lot more bang for your buck. "This doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend lots, but be conscious of whether your materials look cheap or old," says vanGerwen. Typically, a more expensive roll of wrapping paper or tape will be more resistant to tears, making it easier to wrap your present perfectly.
Add some toppers to your gift.
A little ornamentation goes a long way toward making your gift look professional. "Adding ribbon, tags, and even a little tree ornament is a fun way to spruce up an otherwise basic box wrapping," says Decker. "It makes the gift feel extra special and super thoughtful."
Over-cut your paper.
Instead of giving yourself just enough paper to wrap around an item, add a few inches to every side of the piece of paper you plan to use. This will give you ample room to fold down the edges of your paper for a more polished look, as well as providing you a little margin for error, should you accidentally encounter a jagged edge or tear.
Use sharp scissors.
When it comes to cutting wrapping paper, sharper scissors are always better. The sharper your scissors, the more likely you'll be able to cut through your wrapping paper without fraying it. Luckily, you can get your scissors professionally sharpened for just a few bucks at most culinary stores that offer knife sharpening.
Make tight creases.
One surprising tool in your perfect wrapping arsenal? Your fingernails. Each time you bring your wrapping paper around the edge of a package, run your fingernail along the edge of the package to create a precise line and remove air bubbles between the paper and item being wrapped.
Use a ruler to ensure your edges are even.
If you're worried about getting the edges on your packages even, use a ruler to ensure a perfect cut. Simply wrap the edge of your paper around the ruler before cutting it for a straight line every time.
Cut ribbon at an angle.
Fabric ribbon can be a tricky accessory, thanks to its tendency to fray. However, if you want to keep your packages looking professional, there's an easy tip: simply cut your fabric ribbon at an angle and its edges won't come apart.
Use pencil to mark where you plan to tape the sides of your paper.
Instead of guessing where to tape the folded edges of your wrapping paper, use a pencil to mark where you want them to hit. This is an especially handy trick for the ends of a package, where those envelope-folded edges can end up looking a bit slapdash. To avoid this issue, use a ruler to measure a standard distance from the bottom of the package on each side and mark that distance with a pencil. Then, once you're ready to tape your paper down, you'll have an evenly-spaced target to hit on either side.
Wrap the top and bottom of a gift box separately.
It's not always easy to wrap a box that's already loaded with gifts, especially if the contents are heavy or fragile. To save yourself some stress and make your wrapping job look more professional, opt for a wrapped gift box instead. Wrap both top and bottom of the box separately before placing any items inside, and, when you're finished, complete the look with ribbon and a bow. To make things even easier, simply tape the ends of the ribbon at the bottom of the box and adhere your bow separately.
Use tissue paper—and lots of it.
"Have a friend or family member who knows what you got them just by the size of the box? I like to trick those friends and family by buying a box much larger than the gift and just stuffing it with tons of tissue paper to keep the gift in there nice and tight," says Decker. "This makes it more of a surprise once they open it up. Unwrapping a gift is half the fun, so this prolongs the unwrapping process and adds to the suspense."
Make sure anything you ship is well-protected.
If you're sending a gift by mail—especially a fragile item—it pays to use some extra packing materials.
"Use at least two inches of packaging material on each side of the item. Use a new, sturdy box with secure corners to provide protection, and use packing tape on all package seams," say the packaging professionals at The UPS Store. However, this doesn't apply to the outside of the box—tempting though it may be, don't wrap the shipping container itself. If you do, your wrapping is not only likely to arrive damaged, it may actually get the package sent back to you.
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