10 Tips for expert gift wrapping

Cassie Pryce

Get creative this Christmas—impress friends and family with an array of beautifully presented parcels to open on the big day

1. Get kitted out

Before you embark on the annual task of gift wrapping your gifts, give yourself a head-start by making sure you have the right tools to hand. Clear a large, flat surface like a dining table to use as your work station and make sure it’s clean and dry before you begin. Your kit-box should include essentials like double-sided tape and sharp scissors (two pairs ideally: one for paper and one for ribbon), plus extras like ribbons, tags and embellishments depending on how creative you’re feeling.

Christmas tag ideas, Dobbies

 

2. Seal the deal

Double-sided tape is the best tape to work with when it comes to gift wrapping, as it will help ensure your edges are neat and the tape can stay hidden. Pull the edges of your wrap over the double-sided tape to cover it completely and avoid having unsightly tape on the outside of the parcel. This also helps your folds to lay flush against the gift for a crisp finish.

Paper mistletoe gift topper, 75p; paper hellebore, £3.25; paper ivy berry, £4.50, all Paper Tree

 

3. Fun feature

To add a more unusual design element to your gift wrapping, why not use washi tape instead of regular tape? This is used in the opposite way to double-sided tape in that it’s meant to be on show to add a quirky finishing-touch. Look for colourful designs with a Christmas theme or mix and match different patterns to suit the paper you’re using. These tapes are particularly effective when used against plain or brown paper as they’ll really stand out as a feature.

Compendium wrap silver, £5; wrap petrol foil, £2; wrap iridescent foil, £2; gift wrap penguins, £2; stag and trees wrap, £2, all Dunelm


4. Creased up

Ensure your gifts are given a professional finish by getting in the habit of creasing your paper along the edges before sticking into place. With the paper pulled taut over the gift, run your finger along any straight edges of packaging to define a clear line to be folded. This means when you come to add the tape, the edge will already be crisp and create a sharp finish.

 

4. Back to basics

Rather than splashing out on pricey patterned designs, consider using regular brown paper to give your gifts some rustic, homespun charm. This inexpensive alternative can easily be embellished to add interest—pom-pom trim, gingham ribbons and even baker’s twine can be used to dress up your parcel if you’re looking for a budget-savvy, eco-friendly idea to try this year.

Red and white pompom ribbon kit, £2.49, Ginger Ray

 

6. Think outside the box

Wrapping a bottle can seem like a daunting task and one that is often neglected in favour of an easy gift bag which, although it’s a quick fix, lacks that personal and thoughtful touch. A simple way to tackle this awkward shape using paper is to remember to use pleats around the neck of the bottle by gathering it together in sections and folding as you go. Using clingfilm wrap is another alternative to paper in this instance as it’s more flexible when it comes to pleating. 

Multi-coloured fabric gingham ribbon in 3 designs, £3 each; natural Merry Christmas ribbon in two designs, £3 each; pair of gold acorns on string, £3, all Gisela Graham

 

7. All tied up

Finishing off your gift wrap is the fun part of the process and where you can really get creative. Start by choosing the right ribbon for your parcel; for example, baker’s twine or even rustic string is perfect for a homemade look, or choose wired ribbon to help make a bow that will retain its shape for a more elaborate finishing touch. When cutting ribbon, always cut at a 45-degree angle to help prevent the fabric from fraying and if you plan on curling the ribbon, do this with a blunt pair of scissors to reduce the risk of cutting yourself.

 

8. Christmas charm

Miniature baubles are a fun way to add a festive edge to your wrap and can be bought in large packs at reasonable prices. Simply thread your ribbon through the top of your bauble and secure on top of the parcel for a pretty embellishment. Why not use baubles as alternative to tags by writing the name of the recipient directly onto the surface using a permanent marker? These can double-up as place settings for your Christmas table, too.

The Christmas wrap collection, £5 per sheet, £10 for three sheets or £15 for five sheets, all The Handmade Christmas Co.

 

9. Going green

If you’re after a more natural finish, don’t want to splash out on shop-bought accessories or are feeling eco-concious, it’s easy to decorate your gifts using foliage from the garden or florist. Tie a sprig of eucalyptus beneath your ribbon or adorn with pinecones or cinnamon sticks for a beautiful scent. A dab of glue from a hot glue gun will secure heavier embellishments in place.

Winter’s Tale gift wrap range, £1 each, Poundland

 

10. That's a wrap!

The final touch of any gift is labelling it for the recipient and this should tie in with your wrapping design rather than being an afterthought. Choose tags with a similar colour scheme or have a go at making your own using cuttings from last year’s Christmas cards. Alternatively, use off-cuts of your gift wrap and back it onto plain card for an inexpensive-looking DIY idea.