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7 tips to wrap Christmas gifts like a pro

You’re in the midst of Christmas shopping and it’s almost time to lock yourself away in the spare room with a year’s supply of sticky tape and dread in your heart. Yes, it’s gift wrapping time and the only thing worse than wrapping them is the disappointment that follows when you realise that, yet again, your attempts to create something that even remotely resembles the “#inspo” images on Pinterest have failed dismally.

But fear not. We spoke to gift wrapping expert Vivienne Anthon of www.dailywrap.com.au who took time out of the busiest month of the year to answer our questions on the basics of perfect gift wrapping techniques.

 

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Considered the gift wrapper’s secret weapon, double-sided tape can be hidden between paper layers so your wrapped gift looks clean. Image via Daily Wrap.

 

  1. How should you choose a colour scheme for wrapping?

There is no right or wrong colour scheme, but is it important to create a unified look. If you go for a different look every year – and many people love this process and challenge – then look to your tableware, homewares, furnishing style and Christmas tree to make sure your colour palette and style is in alignment with those.

Next step is to choose two wrapping papers that complement each other – one plain (either white, black, kraft brown or the solid colour of your choice) and one patterned that picks up on your feature colour. Create combinations using these two papers, belli bands (or strips of paper around the middle of a gift) and matching embellishments. Then resist all temptation to buy other fabulous paper and tags you see.

The other option is to build on your looks from previous years. That entails picking the strongest colour or colours that stand out most in your collection of papers and decorations and building on that. This will mean you are staying largely within the same colour palette but it will certainly be one you like and you are building it up over the years.

 

  1. What is the best way to wrap a parcel neatly?

Neat gift wrapping is about using good quality paper, cutting it to size and securing it with double sided tape. Paper between 80gsm and 100gsm works best. Any thinner and it will tear and any thicker and it will not fold neatly. Most people cut too much paper when wrapping a gift and too much paper equals too much crumpled bulk. Cut enough to go all around the gift plus 10 centimetres and at the sides cut enough to go just over half way. Double sided tape is the gift wrapper’s secret weapon. It means you can fold the edge of the paper under and affix the tape leaving no cut edges showing for a polished look.

 

  1. How do you wrap an odd-shaped parcel like a ball or asymmetrical shape?

Keep boxes in good condition throughout the year to reuse for Christmas wrapping, as nothing beats their symmetry and clean lines. However, there isn’t always a box on hand of the size required. In that case, bubble wrap is your friend. Wrapping an asymmetrical shape in bubble wrap protects it, takes away the sharp edges and brings the gift closer to a rectangular prism shape before wrapping it in the paper of your choice.

A ball can be wrapped as a bon bon, somewhat like a large Lindt ball, or placed in a self-made paper bag, where you cut enough paper to easily go around the ball – fold that paper in half, tape the sides together with double sided tape, insert the ball and secure at the top.

For a particularly large gift that is not in a box, like a bicycle, consider wrapping or embellishing part only of the gift. Hide the gift until it’s time to give it and then bring it out with a major bow on the handle bars.

 

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Personalise your presents with hand-crafted gift cards and sprigs of fresh scented herbs. Image via Michelle Isabelle.

 

  1. Do you recommend “Christmas tape” or some other tape for strength?

Always go for name brand sticky tape and double sided tape. Cheaper tape won’t stick down and rarely works with textured, pearlised or gloss papers. Name brands costs just a bit more, but are worth it because nothing looks worse than the tape popping off to reveal the scrunched paper and gift inside. Also, go for a wide see-through tape and it will get more traction on the paper. There are a few decorative tapes around that have Christmas messages. These can look wonderfully festive but they don’t always have the stickiness of standard sticky tape.

 

  1. What are some great accessory ideas for wrapping? String, ribbon, bows, quirky things?

Ribbons are huge again in 2016, but it’s important to make sure you select the right ribbon for the look you are trying to achieve. Use wire edged ribbon if you want a bow with big loops that stand up and hold shape. Use a grosgrain ribbon if you want a tailored look that sits flat. Use a chiffon ribbon if you are looking for a floaty look and a satin ribbon if you are seeking a crossover wrap with a somewhat floppy bow like a Tiffany’s package.

There are some fabulous string, twines and cords around at the moment – from natural twine to brightly coloured or multi-coloured twine, through to cord in plain colours and, of course, metallic. Some of the thin gold and rose gold cords are so beautiful that nothing else is required – and they aren’t that expensive.

There are two stand-out quirky embellishments for 2016. First up are botanicals – think cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, sprigs of rosemary, pinecones, banksia pods or needles from a pine tree. Scent and texture all in one. Secondly try a little gift adorning the main gift – cookie cutters, baubles, monogram letters, pencils, bangles and necklaces.

 

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If you want to create a Christmas showstopper, embellish gifts with decorative ribbon and statement wrapping paper. Image via Daily Wrap.

 

  1. What about wrapping paper? 

There’s four considerations regarding the paper you use. Firstly, the weight. Paper between 80gsm and 100gsm works best. Any thinner and it will tear, and any thicker and it will not fold neatly. Secondly the pattern. Some large patterns look fabulous, but the impact is lost if it is being used to wrap a small gift. Thirdly, the paper must match the recipient. For large amounts of children’s gifts, where the paper will be ripped off in seconds, use a plain paper like a kraft or butcher’s paper and embellish with colourful ribbon or twine. For a showstopper gift, where the thoughtful wrapping is more likely to be appreciated, use statement paper that is thicker and has a feature either in colour, grain or texture. Finally, keep all your gift-wrapping paper remnants or off cuts as these can be used as a band feature on other gifts.

 

  1. Should all presents under the tree be wrapped the same, or can you do complementary colours to break things up?

Having all the presents under the tree wrapped in an identical manner can be a bit too matchy-matchy. A unified look can be achieved using a solid paper and a complementary pattern in different combinations with slightly different embellishments.

Some other different yet lovely approaches are wrapping the gifts for each person in a specific paper so the recipient knows which gifts are theirs (children love this), wrapping gifts in a gift stack and tying them together with ribbon or twine, or using the same wrapping paper for all the presents but mixing up the ribbons and tags.

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.