The Art of Gift Wrapping: Tips from the Experts

Wrapping gifts at holiday time is not only a special task, but, according to the Japanese, who are masters at gift wrapping, it is a ritual with great meaning. Gift wrapping can be anything from wrapping gifts in the Sunday comics to elaborate wrappings with specialized papers and ribbons and bows. Here, in this 2 part series, we discuss the art of gift wrapping, and give examples of different designs.

Tips From the Experts

Keep on hand the essentials. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a gift for a special occasion and finding you don’t have the appropriate materials to wrap. Keep on hand scissors, scotch tape, a glue stick, a paper cutter and a ball of wrapping twine in various colors.

One of the things that experts recommend is something you wouldn’t generally think of. I watched several videos on gift wrapping. One lady uses color images cut from magazines to wrap small packages with. She picks pages with large graphics but not too much copy, trims the rough edges with the paper trimmer, and wraps gifts in them. They are stunning. She suggests you save your magazines, especially the decorating, fashion and home design ones, and take the images out before sending the rest to the recyclers. Very good idea.

Another use for large graphic images is making small totes for presents. The process is a simple one – the tote is formed around a box close to the size of what you wish to wrap. The creator used a box of cereal for this process which was taller than the package to be wrapped. Edges are folded and formed as if you were wrapping a present, creasing sharply, with the top of the tote left open. Pay attention to the orientation of the graphic here. Holes are then punched equidistant at the top. Twine is threaded through the four holes and knotted on the inside of the tote.

Another very different idea from this expert is using Saran wrap to finish off a gift and give it a shiny packaged look. Saran wrap is laid out on a work surface and cut with scissors, and then carefully formed around the gift. Because it is self sticking, there is no need for tape. The finished look is elegant and very different. When wrapped, use ribbon in contrasting color for a finished look.

A really neat trick to do with presents is attaching party favors or things such as cosmetics to the ribbon of the package. This unique idea really sets off your presentation. Theme these gifts around the person you are giving the gift to.

In part two of this series, we will look at further tips and tricks. A list of videos from YouTube will be given so that you can follow along with the presenter as they work their magic. We will also discuss the Japanese art of wrapping gifts, and how they make it special.

Alden smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects and excels in research.