As we begin to navigate the final weeks in the run up to Christmas, all too many of us are about to be buried in a landslide of presents which need wrapping. For some, this is the highlight of the Christmas period but others – like me – are cursed with two left hands. There’s no such thing as a lost cause here at ParcelHero however, so we’ve hunted down some professional wrappers – department store experts and entrepreneurs alike – to offer up some tips and tricks to not only getting through the holiday season without too many papercuts, but having some great looking gifts to present on the big day.
Before we can even start getting things wrapped up though, we have to pick our paper. Everyone knows Christmas is on its way when more and more rolls of the stuff start popping up, and by the time we enter the home stretch there are masses to choose from. YouTube’s resident Paper Guru Shiho Masuda suggests bypassing the lot in favour of making your own custom paper with stamps, drawings or even paintings.
For those of us a little less artistically inclined, Grande Finale’s Kam is in favour of picking up seasonal colours with a metallic finish – plain paper is like a blank canvas and can be enhanced by adding contrasting bows or co-ordinating ribbons later.
Another great way to decide is to pick a theme – according to Kirsten from Wrapsody, restricting yourself to papers, ribbons and embellishments that stay on theme is a great way to give your wrapping impact. Don’t just go with any theme though, personalise it to make the recipient feel doubly special. Wrapping an opera lover’s gift with sheet music, for example, could bring a smile to even the most hardened Christmas veteran.
No matter what your opinion on colour or pattern, everyone we talked to agreed that making sure you had good quality paper that didn’t tear easily was the most important factor.
If you, like me, find yourself getting through rolls of paper all too quickly, then slowing down and measuring well could make a big difference. Kirsten says that she’s seen loads of people come unstuck by using too much paper, which makes wrapping look bulky and messy. The secret is to use less paper than you might think – just enough is plenty, even if it doesn’t feel that way. And if measuring out lengths and working out how much paper is just right is too much of a hassle Kam has a great trick to make it a cinch; you can measure how much paper you would need by using old newspaper and cutting a template from there.
Parcelhero’s top 5 wrapping pro tips
- Use double sided tape – it’s stronger and neater
- Customise your wrapping for the intended giftee
- Measure your gift with newspaper and make a template
- Make sure you get good quality paper
- Keep old Christmas cards to turn into gift tags
If you’re trying to wrap a particularly awkward gift – I’m looking at you Quality Street tin – there’s still no reason it has to look messy. There’s no one perfect method for dealing with them, but Kam has looked a little further afield for inspiration. There’s no need to feel like you have to use traditional paper to get it wrapped; you can use tissue paper, cellophane or foil paper to make it look sparkly even when it’s awkward. Strangely shaped items can be even wrapped using material, i.e. a silk scarf, organza or even wallpaper!
Shiho sticks to traditional material, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a little more creative. She even makes custom bags for tough to wrap gifts out of nothing but wrapping paper. Again, everyone agrees that making sure you’ve got the right amount of paper is paramount, so don’t be afraid to trim down.
Don’t throw away that extra paper either – just because it won’t wrap something by itself doesn’t mean that you can’t still use it. Shiho uses her excess paper to make beautiful bows and other decorations, while Kirsten likes to run it through a shredder and use it to create a unique multi-coloured soft lining for gift boxes or bags. According to Kam, using leftover paper to add embellishments is a neat trick. For example, if you have wrapped in plain paper, a band of holographic or metallic paper in co-ordinating colours can add a touch of sparkle to the gift.
Alternatively, you can make a paper embellishment such as a ‘fan’ using any excess paper, and If you find you don’t have enough paper to cover a box, you could use two different sheets of wrapping paper and then put a band of paper across the centre to cover the join.
And of course, if you’re sending gifts around the world, that extra paper can be put to use as cushioning to make sure they get there in one piece.
One key tip that we got from all our experts was to make sure you went over the folds of your paper and gave them an extra crimp between thumb and forefinger to give them a nice, clean finish. This is an origami technique that helps make gifts look neat and well wrapped.
Once you’ve got a present wrapped, the folks from Thatsawrap suggest that it’s great fun to add a little something extra to make it really pop. Everyone knows to plop a bit or ribbon or a bow to signify that a prezzie is done, but our experts have a few secret tricks to make your gran’s eyes pop when you hand over her present.
Kam is all for washi tape, a decorative tape that can make simple presents more exciting without being over the top. It has the added benefit of covering up any mistakes you might’ve made. Another awesome trick she suggests is to recycle old Christmas cards by making gift tags. Kirsten advocates something a little more destructive – deconstruct old Christmas decorations in the months leading up to Christmas and collect baubles, bells, pine cones, twigs and nuts which can be used as embellishments tied onto ribbons and gift tags. Shiho is always a fan of using Christmas ornaments to make a gift feel more festive, but she’s happy to keep them intact while she does.
And don’t forget to write names on the tag before it goes on the present – pressing down once it’s attached cold crease or tear the paper, and then you’d have to wrap it up again!
Ultimately, it’s all a bit of fun. We wrap our gifts because we love the people that we’re giving them too, and wrapped presents just make them feel more special. As Kam says, whilst you may not have perfected wrapping a present neatly or beautifully, remember ultimately, it’s the thought that counts and that’s what presenting a gift is all about.