Park City Home: A masterclass on gift wrapping
Some of us are giftwrap enthusiasts who eagerly approach December with double-sided tape dispenser in hand. Others are paper-phobic, like 10% of Britain’s male population, which a recent study found had never wrapped a present in their lives.
No matter what your skill level, this might be the year to give your presents the star treatment. We asked Rebecca Burick, who creates content for premier stationery and gift retailer Paper Source, for advice and inspiration.
The ideal arsenal
According to Burick, a well-equipped holiday wrapping station should include:
• 3 rolls of different holiday prints that work together color- and style-wise (including one you might choose just for kids)
• 1 – 2 rolls of solid wrap to compliment the prints
• double-sided tape
• holiday hang tags or stickers
• 2 – 3 different kinds of ribbon
• gift bags
• tissue paper
• pens or markers
Additionally, you may want a few items that make presents look extra-special. Burick says to consider adding a touch of one of the following to each package: sparkle (like a sparkly ornament or glittery ribbon), dimension (a jingle bell or sprig of pine), or something personal (like a felt initial or photo).
A gift bag magic trick
Fast, reusable, and goof-proof, gift bags are the lazy-man’s go-to wrapping. Make it special by filling it with tissue for a much more polished look. Here’s how the pros do it: Lay out a sheet of tissue paper flat and pinch the middle between your index finger and thumb. Give the sheet a flick so that the four corners are pointed in the same direction, like tulip petals. Place the pinched center in the bottom of the gift bag and insert the gift between the “petals.” You can layer two or more sheets for a lusher look.
Another suggestion from Burick is attaching a coordinating ornament to the bag. Feed a piece of twine through one of the handle holes and tie the ornament to it.
How to measure paper
Cutting a piece of paper too small for the gift is a wrapper’s biggest frustration. The easiest way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to “roll” your box end-over-end along the paper, then add a couple of inches for overlap. That length will cover the top, bottom, front and back. You can eyeball how much you’ll need for the sides, but it’s generally 2/3 the height of each side. For a box that’s 17″ x 11″ x 2.5″, you’ll need a piece of paper that’s about 30″ long and 21″ wide. If you end up cutting the paper too small anyway, try wrapping the box diagonally. Creating neat corners in a diagonal wrap is tricky, a bit like making hospital corners on a bed. Use good paper that doesn’t tend to rip, and a little trial and error won’t mar the finish.
Quality makes a difference
Here’s the thing about cheap giftwrap: It’s fragile and tears easily. If you’re a serious wrapper, you want heavy paper and might upgrade to stone wrapping paper, which is becoming the industry gold standard. Made of limestone powder (a bi-product of mining) and polyethylene, it is smooth and supple, and cutting it is like slicing through butter. If you hate waste, it’s even reusable. Fabric ribbon — grosgrain, velvet, satin, burlap, wired — is another recycler’s dream. If your presents are staying in the family, you could get away with using the same piece of grosgrain ribbon for a decade.
Burick says that she organizes her wrapping supplies in plastic bins, according to type — ribbons, tags, accents, tools (tape, scissors, markers). You can store rolls of wrapping paper in tall baskets or even a laundry hamper. But, she adds, the reality is that once you unleash your supplies and start wrapping, it turns into glorious, festive wrap chaos. She encourages wrappers to embrace the mess and enjoy the process.
• Run out of gift tags? Burick has two solutions: Cut tags out of scraps of cardstock and hole-punch one end. Or print a black-and-white photo of the recipient (use photo paper for the best presentation) and write on it with a glitter pen.
• Burick has a couple of innovative uses for double-sided tape: If you have pieces of different wrapping paper too small for a package, turn them into one large sheet by sticking them together with double-sided tape, then wrapping them around a box just as you would with one large sheet. The result is a colorful patchwork of prints. Double-sided tape is also the secret ingredient for using up all your ribbon scraps: Just tape two pieces together end-to-end and proceed as usual.
• Turn solid paper into a print by adding circle stickers for a polka-dot pattern, or get out the paints and make abstract brushstrokes.
• After the presents are open, Burick has one final idea: Use a circle punch and wrapping paper to create a tree garland. Glue two circles of paper together, sandwiching a long piece of baker’s twine in between. Repeat until you have the length you want.
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