The bow, the finely creased edges, the deftly wrapped box — a beautifully wrapped present can indicate that someone really took the time to find the perfect gift.
Meanwhile, your present to them looks like a toddler got tangled up in wrapping paper and then took a nap.
Well, don’t turn to the old gift bag and tissue paper cop-out just yet. These nine gift wrapping tips and tricks will make you into a wrapping genius.
1. Get Creative With The Packaging
Even for the most savvy wrapper, trying to package a bizarrely-shaped gift is a challenge. It’s hard to get the paper to look nice, and even when you do, the size and shape can take away the element of surprise.
For smaller gifts such as perfume bottles, socks, or nail polish, ball them up in bubble wrap or tissue paper and stick them into an empty paper towel roll. Wrap the roll in paper, twist the wrapping paper at the ends, and secure with some ribbon to make it look like a piece of candy.
For medium-sized gifts, repackage them in an empty coffee can or shoe box — basically any empty (clean) container you have lying around the house. Broken-down shipping boxes are perfect for larger gifts.
If you have softer items like scarves that didn’t come in a box, use a square piece of cardboard (or cut apart a cereal box) and place your folded item on top. This will give you a hard surface to wrap around.
2. Hide The Price
It’s bad manners to let your gift recipient know how much those mittens cost, or that they were on sale in the bargain bin.
Instead of cutting off the tag entirely (rendering the item nonreturnable) or leaving sticky residue on the gift, colour over the price with a sharpie or slap on a festive holiday sticker.
3. No Wrapping Paper? No Problem
Everyone knows the tried and true newspaper or magazine cover method of wrapping presents. It’s fine, and it works.
But a much more likely last-minute item you would have in your home is a potato chip bag. Dump those delicious chips in a Ziploc bag, and then cut the chip bag open to expose the bright, silver-y inside. Wash it with soap and water and then once it dries, wrap the presents with the silver side facing out.
4. Get The Right Tools For The Job
The tools you’ll need.
Scissors and tape are fine, but if you’re serious about becoming a better gift wrapper, then buy the right tools.
A rotary cutter and pop up tape dispenser, both for under $US15, will save time and energy. The pop up tape dispenser fits on your hand and cuts the tape for you, while the rotary cutter evenly slices through wrapping paper on flat surfaces — think of it like a pizza cutter for paper. No more jagged edges or wads of discarded tape.
5. Wrap Presents On A Hard Surface
To avoid tearing, wrap presents on a hard surface, like a table or a counter top. Working on the floor or carpet makes it harder to control the paper, which is when most people become frustrated, start to rush, and then tear through the paper with the gift’s edges.
6. Keep Post-It Notes Handy
If you’re like me, you wrap all your gifts first before putting on name tags or writing cards. The trouble with this method, of course, is when there are two gifts of equal size meant for two different people.
Write the names of your gift recipients on Post-It notes ahead of time, and place them on each gift as you finish wrapping. It will only take a second, and makes it easier when you go back to add name tags.
7. Wrap Gifts Upside Down
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget. Place the gift face down so that the wrapping paper overlap is on the underside of the gift.
It’s a small thing, but we inherently assume when opening a present that the side with the bow or nametag is also the top of the gift. Children will just tear into the top of presents, and it’s nice to be rewarded immediately with what the gift actually is instead of the bottom of a box.
8. To Get Perfect Ends, Fold The Sides First
After securing the paper around the gift, it’s time to fold the ends. This is the trickiest part of wrapping, and can make the final product look fantastic or awful.
I personally prefer folding the sides first. Then fold the top flap and the bottom flap to meet each other in the middle (or slightly overlap, depending on your preference) and secure with tape. This genius infographic from the Container Store is a good visual guide to follow:
9. When In Doubt, Use Decorative Tape
For the truly hopeless gift wrappers out there, buy some decorative tape. That way even if the ends look awful, there’s tape everywhere, or there are a few tears you don’t care to fix, you can just cover all your mistakes with some sparkly, festive tape.
It can even take the place of ribbon, and your gift will at the very least look presentable.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.