Learn To Giftwrap Like A Pro

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So you’ve found the perfect present but how to wrap it seems beyond the pale? We give you the principles of packaging it up sweet plus some adorable DIY touches to make it stand out from the bunch.

Wrapping is one of the dark arts. Those who master it spend years studying its clandestine secrets. And like all talents, it comes easier to some. But if you’re not one of the chosen few, do not fret. There are a few cheats that even novices can exploit.

Below, we run through the foundations for success, as well as offering up some adorable accents to distract from even the dowdiest of packaging jobs.

Strap yourselves in. This promises to be inspirational! 😉

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Images sourced L to R: thesweetestoccasion.com and blog.lovemae.com.au

The ten commandments of giftwrapping

  1. Gift yourself plenty of time

No one wraps well to a ticking time bomb except perhaps those ninja-handed Christmas elves chained to the gift-wrapping counters in shopping meccas.

And to be honest, we worry that their restless fingers are still pleating the sheets and folding back the bedlinen at night in pace to their REM.

  1. Find a flat hard surface

Carpet does not count. Think table, desk, countertop. Clear it. So you have space for making the magic.

Wt14Image sourced: strawberry-chic.blogspot.com 

  1. Consider boxing it first

Conquer crazy-shaped gifts by enclosing them in a cardboard box prior to wrapping. Or avoid the whole wrapping shenanigans by popping it in a brown paper bag and decorate that instead! (See below.)

  1. Work with more rather than less wrapping paper

And fold the excess in. Don’t attempt to shroud an elephant in an envelope!

Wt15Image sourced: strawberry-chic.blogspot.com 

  1. Opt for double-sided tape

And prep it on the table-edge before you begin. It’s neater (being two-sided) for that I-bought-this-at-that-super-exxy-high-street-boutique look.

  1. Less is more in the sticky tape stakes

The double-sided tape will help prevent that mummified in plastic look that unusual gift shapes can produce.

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Image sourced L to R: baoboe.com and southerninlaw.com

  1. Place your gift face down in the centre of the wrap

This way any seams will be on the underside of your present, but where possible…

  1. Match the seams of your paper to the sides of your gift

This keeps it sleek. Fold over any edges that you have cut with scissors for a cleaner look.

Wn1Image sourced: lepainquotidien.com

  1. Tie it all together with ribbon or twine

Be creative. Add some colour + personality.

  1. Add your very own personal flourish for the finishing touch!

See below.

W16Image sourced: babble.com

Decorative Accents

Dress up plain kraft paper

Plain brown parcel paper or newspaper makes the perfect base. Alone it looks rustic or understated, roguish even. Also if your packaging’s none too flash, it can take backseat to your innovative accents!

Go to town and carve your own potato-stamps. For some cute stencil designs see here. Or add a sheet of bold block colour underneath and introduce simple cutouts for unique charm. Where in doubt, add glitter.

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Images sourced L to R: odessamaysociety.com and homedit.com

Wrap (rap) on a theme…

Gifting your fave wordsmith? Change up the newsprint for a crossword or a find-a-word puzzle. Or wrap the fishing tackle kit you bought your bro in Samuel Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

For a musician? Sheet music! For a foodie? Recipes! For your friend touched with wanderlust? A map of the world. Your lover? A poem you penned yourself – literally. See below. Or thieve one from a master… We have a personal preference for Donne.

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Images sourced L to R: christmasgiftwrappingdesigns.blogspot.com and buzzfeed.com

Scrunch up your paper from the start

This works especially well with metallic tissue paper. It gives a vintage textured look. And can assist in hiding less expert wrapping jobs! Or stitch your tissue paper together for a ruffled feature. Fold and pin, then run that baby through the sewing machine. Double-side-sellotape it to your gift!

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Images sourced L to R: thesweetestoccasion.com and cosmocricket.typepad.com

Upcycle vintage fabrics, scarfs or handkerchiefs for Japanese flair

Furoshiki is the art of wrapping with fabric. Use a scarf or a handkerchief so that it too becomes a part of the present. Plus, there’s no waste! #savingtheplanet

Earth-friendly and exotic elegance in one.

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Sourced: evermine.com

Bag it

Unusual shaped gifts can be the cause of some crazy cracker-shaped looking articles under the Christmas tree. Why not pop it in a brown paper bag instead? (If it’s small enough…)

Add a strip of fabric or wrap, a sprig of dried flowers, some colourful buttons or the like for personality.

Exploit Mother Nature’s beauty

Introduce dried fleurs, a pinecone, or this adorable mini wreath to baker’s twine!

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Images sourced L to R: mcdanielmusiccamp.com and odessamaysociety.com

Steal from Nan

Start from a rich creamy base instead (upcycle an old cable-knit, or use fabric or thick paper if you like). Then work with vintage lace and ribbon. Add origami in metallics. So sophisticated + chic.

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Images sourced: stylemepretty.com

Add a spoonful of sugar

Take your cue from Hansel + Gretel and add a little gingerbread or sugar candy to your wrapping.

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Images sourced: babble.com and crafthubs.com

Overlay block colours with paper-cuts

Trace snowflake, Christmas trees or candy canes onto folded white card and cut out the dead space with your penknife to create chic stencils. These can be as simple or as complex as you like. Anything from the rows of girls you used to make when you were kids to intricately crafted Christmas baubles…

Wrap these around the middle of your gifts for distinctive looks.

Wc10Image sourced: knitsforlife.com

Truss it up

Bows add colour. Opt for vibrant coloured yarn, twine, or paper versions. Or just draw your own bow on for illustrative style. A bit clumsy with your thumbs. Use washi tape instead and make messy the theme.

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Images sourced L to R: petitevanou.tumblr.com and ohsobeautifulpaper.com

Then finally, create your own gift-tags

Download a template or design your own for all the kudos! Or alternatively print off photos from insta for personal tags that your friends and fam will love.

Ta da! You’re done. Happy wrapping, campers! 😉

Need some gifting inspiration? Check out our gift guides for suggestions for himherMumDad + more! Or opt for a cheeky gift voucher

Then throw yourself into the decorating spirit with our seasonal decor!

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.