Wrapping gifts is one of the most fun parts of Christmas, but somehow making it just right can leave many of us in a mess.
So to make it easier this year.
How to get the paper right
Thicker paper isn’t necessarily better. It can work well on larger gifts, but for small or awkwardly-shaped ones it’s difficult to get around corners. For these presents, use brown paper which is thin but tough, this also means you’ll have a blank canvas to add ribbons, bows or decorations to.
The biggest mistake most people make when wrapping presents is using too much paper.
How to work out how much to use
The biggest mistake people make is to use too much paper. An excess just means the gift will be bulky and harder to wrap. Pull the paper taut around the present (but never tape it to the gift as this might damage it), and cut just enough to overlap, then move it to one side of the paper so you can trim the side edge too. A lot of people just fold in the extra paper here rather than cutting it off, but it’s much harder to get it looking neat.
How to match up patterns
It’s best to avoid striped patterns as they’re tricky to line up. Instead, go for a small alternative pattern like spots, rather than large patterns that don’t repeat very often, then it won’t be so obvious where the join is.
How to be tidy with the tape
Ideally you should use double-sided tape for a professional finish. But if you only have regular tape, use small pieces and then cover it with a ribbon. Avoid decorative tape as it’s harder to get right and if you make a mistake it will be really noticeable.
How to get around corners
Crease each edge of the paper as you go along, so the folds are all sharp. Cutting the paper to fit beforehand means there won’t be an excess of paper to deal with here, so simply fold the top edge down and crease, then each corner in and finally the bottom up, turning the edge under neatly and securing with double-sided tape to get a polished finish.
How to do ribbons right
Just wrap the ribbon once around the gift then tying it in a bow. If you avoid doing a crossover around the gift it will look neater, plus you only use half as much ribbon. If you just can’t get the bow right, use a wide ribbon, then you can simply tie a loose knot and cut the ends at sharp angles instead. It looks just as good.
How to get the perfect finishing touches
With simple paper you can decorate the finished gift with fresh foliage such as rosemary, laurel, bay and ivy – and they smell lovely too. You can use also sticks and feathers, and even add nuts and dried fruit to the ribbon using a glue gun. And finally to the gift tag… Strung gift tags are best, slip them under the bow and they won’t get pulled off accidentally. And writing names in metallic pen on large leaves is a great way to get a gift tag on a budget.
Quick tips on how to deal with…
Round tin of chocolates: Start with a tube of thin paper around the tin and pleat both sides in to the centre.
Bottle of wine: Use tissue. Place in the centre of a few sheets of tissue, then gather the tissue around it, tying a ribbon around the neck.
Child’s micro scooter: For large awkward shapes use a paper tablecloth. Place the item in the centre, gather the sides above the top and secure with ribbon.
Socks and other soft items: Wrap them as a cracker with paper and add ribbons and decorations
Gift basket: Place the item in the centre of a large sheet of clear cellophane (available from florists), pull up sides and tie a large ribbon around the top.