When you give a gift, the presentation makes the first impression. A neatly wrapped present helps your offering stand out and shows the recipient how much you care. If you start out with good intentions and end up with a pile of tape and ripped paper, take heart. Help is on the way. We talked to an expert to get some tips on how to create the perfect look for your gift.
Meet the Expert
Antonio also happens to be a gift-wrapping pro who knows how frustrating it can be to try and package a present and have it turn out less than ideal. Here are some common problems she sees people making and her advice on how to solve them.
More Isn’t Better
Often, people will rip a huge piece of wrapping paper off the roll, wanting to be sure they have enough to wrap around the entire box containing the gift. “People will just kind of fold the edges up until it is big and bulky," D’Antonio says. But too much paper means you won’t get a flat, sharp, clean edge. Instead, stand the package up on one side and roll it over the paper until you get around to the same side again. Then cut the paper to match that measurement. “You want to roll from the bottom right or left corner of the package and tip it on its side as well,” she notes. “That is how much you cut the paper for the ends.” Most rolls of paper are really long and when you are wrapping you don’t need to use the entire depth. Just cut it to fit.
Make It Edgy
The way you secure the wrapping paper to the package is key for a polished look. “A lot of people put the package right in the middle of the paper and then tape it, and it’s funky-looking,” D’Antonio says. Instead, trim the square out before you tape it and start the tape on the edge of the package (yes really, the edge).
Buy Quality Paper
D’Antonio says it can be tempting to buy the big roll of wrapping paper on sale for just a few dollars—don’t do it. “I prefer the thicker paper,” she says. “Generally, if you are getting rolls that are super huge and the paper is super thin, you aren’t really saving money. You are going to get frustrated because it will rip and tear. It’s not necessarily you, it’s the paper.”
D’Antonio suggests looking for larger rolls that look like they don't have as much paper on them, often available in packs of three or five rolls; that paper is more likely to be of better quality. A way to take the guesswork out of it is to use another kind of paper entirely. “I will take brown craft paper and wrap packages in that, because it’s very affordable,” she says. “That is the thickness you want to go for.”
Slow Your Roll
Sometimes, it’s better not to buy paper rolls at all. “A lot of shops sell sheets instead of rolls. I buy my paper like that," she explains. "They come precut with super fine edges, and you don't have to do all the cutting and measuring.”
In the Bag
Don’t want to actually wrap a gift? Grab a beautiful bag and some tissue paper. If your tissue paper game needs some work, D’Antonio has you covered. Her secret to the perfect fluff is to pinch and shake. “Unfold the paper until it's one big, open sheet,” she says. “If it has a design on it, make sure it’s facing right-side up. Then grab paper in the criss-cross center, pinch with your finger and shake it like you would shake a shirt from the dryer.” The result is a perfect, pointed pouf that you just stick in the bag. D’Antonio stuffs the fluffed-up tissue paper around the gift in the bag, not on top of the present. “You don’t need to cover the gift in the middle if you have tissue paper around it. It will be fanned out and really pretty, and it will cover what is in the middle.”
Don’t Force It
If you have an odd-shaped item like a stuffed animal or action figure in a box with odd corners, don’t stick it in a huge box and then wrap it up. Either put the item in a gift bag and fluff the tissue paper well, or try this trick: “You put it in the middle of your paper, roll it up and tighten on either side. Leave the length on each side and put a big bow on each side so it looks like a piece of candy or Tootsie roll,” D’Antonio says. Bonus: “It’s a lot easier to open, which is nice for toddlers.” Giving out gift cards this year? You don’t have to just stick it in a plain envelope. D’Antonio suggests you take some pretty wrapping paper and fold it origami-style to create a special envelope for your gift.
Go Next Level
Even if you have mastered the art of clean, sharp lines on your packages, the presentation can still be a little lacking. Luckily, there are many ways you can spruce up your gift with bows, glitter yarn and so much more. And don’t toss out gift bags after one use. D’Antonio says you can extend their life with a little creativity. “You can totally transform a gift bag you have used a hundred times by simply using ribbon,” she says. “I like to use a chunky yarn and a glitter yarn and tie a big bow." She also suggests taking things like tree ornaments or wooden cutouts that you have painted specifically for the gift recipient and tying the extras onto the main package with ribbons. She has even packaged small, cute bars of soap as both a decoration and an extra little something on some of her gifts.
Even the tape can get a boost. D’Antonio uses invisible tape to secure the wrappings around a gift, and then follows that up with some fun washi tape. Just put it right over the invisible tape. This is especially fun for children’s gifts. Just remember that the invisible tape layer is a must. If you just use the washi tape, your wrappings will come undone easily. Have fun and use your imagination when you are creating your wrapping masterpiece. Seeing the smile on a loved one’s face when they see the care you took with their present is a gift in itself.