Sure, it’s easy to simply wrap a gift in traditional wrapping paper and call it done, but why not take a little extra time to make it a little extra special? When you do, you will find that the wrapping will be appreciated almost as much as the gift itself! –Well, maybe not quite, but the time you take to make gifts even more special will be noted and appreciated. You do not have to be a Martha Stewart or a skilled artist to do so, just take a look at the 15 ideas below, and make your gifts stand out a “cut” above the rest! (–Even if you’ve always hated wrapping, no fear! There are abundant tips, tricks, and advice to make your holiday wrapping go easier than ever.) Good luck and happy wrapping!
15. Ribbons, Washi tape, and yarn, oh my!
It seems that ribbon used to always be a part of our gift wrapping, but you do not see it as much as you used to. Let’s bring it back! There are so many kinds of ribbon out there, from fancy cloth ribbons to simple paper ribbons. You can find many designs and colors, so you are sure to be able to pair it with any paper you have. You can layer different sized or colored ribbons for a lovely effect, you can tie your own bows, even curl up the ends of the ribbon with the old “scrape them on a scissor blade” trick. You can also use a variety of other ribbon-like items. The ever-popular Washi tape comes in hundreds of styles and colors, and the best thing—it’s sticky! So, it makes embellishing your gifts even easier. Yarn and twine are other options that you can find in a variety of styles, sizes, fun textures, and colors. It can add a home-made feel to your wrapping, and has a way of looking traditional and folksy. This will add the cherry to the top of your wrapping, and make it seem like you worked extra to make it look great, when it’s really an easy, impactful addition!
14. Customize your labels
Another fun way to add a unique, personalized touch to your gift wrapping is to make your own tags. There are a ton of templates out there, as well as dozens of websites (such as shutterfly.com) where you can order custom address labels and sticker tags for gifts. However, label paper (or just sticker sheets) can be easily found at an office supply store and are usually less expensive than ordering. You can design any style or shape you want, and print them right at home! You can also write a personal greeting on them and make the gift stand out as part of your personal wrapping. It’s satisfying to design your own tags, and will mean so much more than the generic store-bought designs. Another super-simple way to add a touch more care into each and every package.
13. Design your own paper
While we’re on the topic of customization, why not design your OWN paper? You can get blank craft paper in a variety of colors and chose to embellish the paper in any way you desire. You can use stickers, markers, stamps, cutouts, paint, photos, kiss-prints, pom-poms, origami, paper snowflakes, calligraphy, doodling—get creative with how you can design the paper; the sky’s the limit on this one. Not only is this enjoyable to think up ways to decorate, but no one else will have the same paper! This is also an excellent holiday activity to do with kids—they can put handprints in paint on the paper, draw on it, stick on stickers, or design stamps. They’ll be proud to use paper they decorated themselves to present gifts to family!
12. Use consistent paper
A good idea for wrapping paper, especially when you are hosting a very large group at Christmas time, to have your own signature paper. Buy several rolls of a style you love and wrap all your gifts in this same paper. After a bit, receivers will start to recognize that they are soon to open a gift from you! It also helps notify you that someone is about to open something from you, so you can watch their faces light up! Since watching people open your gifts is just one of the joys of giving, it is great to be more immediately aware of who is opening what. It just makes it all-around easier to spot your specified paper from across the room in a big group of people flooded with presents.
11. Save scraps
If you do happen to find yourself laden with excess little scraps, that don’t seem useful enough to use for any large presents, don’t immediately recycle them! Small squares or leftover paper can be saved for future use on tiny presents (gift cards, jewelry boxes, etc.) If the scraps are too oddly shaped or still generally un-useful to you, you can still hold onto them to use for stuffing packages you’re mailing out, cushion a fragile gift, fire kindling, paper-mache, or even hole punch and use the punched out bits for DIY confetti. Don’t be afraid to save scraps for other instances to re-use leftover bits of wrapping paper.
10. Use the right tools
It’s important to have the right tools when getting ready to have your wrapping party. You’ll want to have the fundamentals handy, top-quality, in good working order, and accounted for. Don’t waste money on cheap, thin wrapping paper; sometimes you have to end up doubling it so the gift does not show through, ultimately not saving any money. Have high-quality, sharp scissors that will not snag on paper, and never skimp on low-budget tape that you will end up using half the roll of just to keep the wrapping paper closed. (A good investment are those pop-up tape dispensers that you can wear on your wrist—the tape is pre-cut to the perfect length and it will leave your hands free to work!) It may seem pricey to get these quality supplies, but, as mentioned, if you start with the right tools in the first place you’ll be saving in the long run.
9. Stay organized
Now that you have the right tools for the job, it’s vital to keep yourself organized! Employ the use of a wrapping paper (and accessories) storage station. You can use a container especially for storing wrapping paper rolls, or, a tall basket, a new, clean trash bin, or a garment bag to store your rolls of paper. (A hack for keeping the rolls tame is to cut a toilet paper or paper towel tube length-wise and wrap around the wrapping paper roll. You can also use a loosely-wound rubber band. Either way is better than taping the paper closed and having to rip the paper to use it again!) A dowel can serve for a super handy way to store (and use) ribbons with ease. Use a small container or bin for those spare scraps of paper, tape, and labels, a cup holder for pens and scissors, and you’ll be set to take on any gift-wrapping endeavor!
8. Add a gift outside the gift
A really interesting way to personalize your gift is to add a little “extra” to the wrapping. You can incorporate all kids of goodies into the outside of your present. For a sweet loved one in your life, how about adding candy? You can make it look like a festive bow as in the M&M’s in the image above. (Many candies also naturally have festive, holiday-themed wrappings at this time of year.) If your recipient doesn’t have a sweet-tooth, why not add a charm, trinket, or little gift that can easily be attached with ribbon or string? Some various ideas could be things like bookmarks, jewelry, mini booze bottles, ties, gift cards, gloves, nail polish, etc. For children, you could add small toys or holiday trinkets and favors. (Check out the children’s stocking stuffer aisles in stores for small extras to add to gifts.) It’s also fun to add a little hint to the outside of your gift as to what lies within. Giving a pair of pajamas? Incorporate some fuzzy socks to the outside of the package. Gifting a crock pot or cookbook? Add a set of wooden spoons, spatulas, or measuring cups to your package. Maybe add a pretty pair of earrings to the wrapping that match the shirt inside the package. It will give them a fun little addition to their present and add some glitz to its appearance.
7. Make a bag out of paper
If you have a very oddly shaped gift to wrap (and there isn’t a box or gift bag in sight) you can actually make a gift bag out of wrapping paper. (It’s best to use a thicker, sturdier paper, such as craft paper to hold the gift, especially if it’s a bit heavy.) Search online for an easy tutorial to follow to fold a bag out of wrapping paper, or refer to the image above for the general idea. Basically, you create a tube, and then fold one end like the bottom of a brown paper lunch bag. Tape the bottom and shape the sides, then optionally roll down the top and hole punch two holes in the top of the bag to tie a ribbon through. This will make the bag easy to close, and easy to open for your recipient! This is a perfect trick for those gifts that are way too weird of a shape to wrap.
6. The not enough paper challenge
We’ve all been there. Picture it: nearly finished with wrapping, and nearly out of paper, when that one last gift simply will not fit in whatever paper you have left. Don’t panic yet! Try a couple of alternatives. First, take a look at what you are wrapping. Is there any way to make it a bit smaller? –Perhaps you can remove part of the packaging, cut off tags, break up the gift, removing it from an outer casing, or fold part of the packaging down? If that doesn’t do the trick, you’ll be surprised at how much the surface area of your paper increases if you turn your piece of paper and wrap on a diagonal. This will help cover your gift in a pinch and add an interesting spin to the pattern besides the typical non-diagonal wrapping. Too little paper is not always a disaster if you get creative!
5. Cover all your bases
So maybe you’re already deep in the wrapping zone and finish blissfully wrapping a present to turn it around only to see—oh no! A bare patch or gap in the wrapping! Don’t worry—this is where those aforementioned scraps can come in handy. You can slip in a patch on the inside of the current paper over the hole—matching the pattern if possible and if you’re ambitious, but from a few feet away it won’t stand out nearly as much as you suspect. If the gap is on the top, you can add a nice full bow to fill the space. There are alternatives to unwrapping the gift and losing the paper.
4. Tissue paper is your best friend
Tissue paper is a severely underrated tool that will be your friend and saving grace in many circumstances. If you wish to use a cellophane-y, transparent paper, using a layer of tissue paper between the wrapping and the gift will hide the gift’s identity without needing to put several layers of thin wrapping around the present. If a gift is a bit fragile but you don’t want to put it in a box or bag, you can add a layer of tissue paper to cushion it before wrapping normally. Tissue paper will also be useful in cushioning the front glass of a picture frame. Another way it’s useful is in disguising gifts—say you’re getting a Lego set for someone. Once they pick up the box and shake it, they’ll immediately know what it is ahead of time. Carfeully open the Lego box and stuff with tissue paper (or leftover scraps of wrapping paper) to mute the sound. You can also employ it in other ways—to stuff gifted boots so they keep their shape, to wrap many little things in one big box or bag, or to just generally embelish your present. (There are some awesome and amazing tissue paper prints out there!) It’s imperative to have a nice thick stack of tissue paper at your side for any unusual wrapping needs.
3. Tame a cylinder
For something unusually-shaped, we have recommended making your own bag, but what about a cylinder? Something that is oh-so close to being wrappable, but still, somehow, not quite. To deal with this puzzling shape, wrap around the cylinder as usual, and instead of smashing and crunching the ends down to a lumpy, over-taped mess, resort instead to “candy” ends. Gather a good length of excess paper into a bunch and tie off with a ribbon, (like the wrapper of a candy.) This will make the gift look so much lovelier and completely eliminate the awkward issue of the ends of cylinders.
2. Label carefully
It’s important to keep in mind labeling when gift-wrapping. Of course, names to and from should be clear and legible in a nice pen; if there are duplicate names in your gift group it should be noted who is who, etc. You may also feel it necessary to add special tags, warnings, or precautions to your gift receivers, such as “fragile,” “open first,” “open last,” “open with your siblings,” “do not shake,” “this side up,” etc. Make sure these extra messages are very visibly written and easy to notice on the package. (You should also pay close attention yourself to any of these important labels when opening gifts!) You certainly don’t want any awkward confusion in giving and getting presents.
1. Use other material to wrap
Who says you have to even use specifically wrapping paper at all? There are so many alternatives to proper wrapping paper that you can use. Even some very unconventional means will produce awesome, unique results. Materials like newspaper and comics are well-known alternatives, but also tinfoil or a clean, inside out chip bag, (when dolled up, the shiny silver surface is very stunning,) wallpaper, shelf paper, scarves (these can be part of the present as well,) or cloth and other fabric. There aren’t too many rules when it comes to covering a present—as long as it’s kept secret until the last moment. Look around your stores and home for ideas and inspiration for what you can use, and you may come up with something truly creative and memorable!