When I was 16, I began my first after school job as a sales clerk at a boutique. Although credit card transactions, shirt folding, and silver-polishing were a piece of cake, I dreaded the holiday season when I’d be bombarded with eager customers seeking beautiful gift wrap for their purchases. And bombarded I was. However, after a few frantic days of torn paper and wrinkled tissue (not to mention a paper cut or two), I finally figured it out.
Professional wrappers require lots of practice, patience, and even a negative critic or two before they can claim to have mastered their craft. To save you some of the grief I experienced while learning the art of underrated origami, here are a few quick and easy steps to help you through the holiday season.
But first, some golden rules:
- Be generous with the tape. It’s the season of giving after all, and more tape will actually help your case, so don’t be shy! (Using transparent tape will also create the illusion that you haven’t used very much tape at all.)
- Sharp corners are beautiful corners.
- Tight edges are everything.
So without further ado…
Begin by locating a large, flat surface on which to do your wrapping. The dining table, the floor, your grandmother’s trunk—whatever! Don’t try to wrap on your bed. Trust me.
Next, unroll your wrapping paper and measure it out according to the size of your box. As with the tape, less is not necessarily more in this case. If you overestimate how much wrapping you’ll need, you can always save the scraps for future projects; working with less paper isn’t as easy.
Once you’ve measured and cut your wrapping paper, align the box—upside down!—so that its distance from the edge of the paper is about half of its height. You should leave enough paper on each side so that you can fold the sides up and they’ll meet at the top (some overlap is perfectly fine!)
Lift one side of the paper and, pressing it as tightly against the side of the box as possible, bring it to the top of the box and tape it. Before securing the paper, pinch those edges so the paper is snug against the box and there’s no excess air between the two.
Do the same with the other side and your work should look something like this:
If your edges are uneven, as mine are, snip the extra paper and tear it away from the box by hand.
Once both sides are even, take the top of the paper by its edge and tape it to the side of the box. Again, make sure the top edge is tight – pull the paper down as you go so that it’s as close to the box as possible and secure it with tape.
OK, darlings, here’s where it gets tricky, but hang in there! It just takes a little extra concentration.
Here you want to take the big flaps on either side and pinch them into what I call “dog ears”—that is, straight edges, slanting downwards. Remember to keep that paper snug so press it into the corner (where my pointer is) in order to minimize any air pockets.
The dog-ears should look like this from the outside:
Repeat that process on both sides until your wrapping looks like this:
Folding—tightly!—along the sides of the box, bring the dog-ears into the center so that the slants point towards the center and the bottom lines up with the bottom edge of the box. Run your finger along the bottom of the box, pressing the paper tightly to the edge. Make sure your corners are sharp as knives and then secure the dog-ear against the box with tape.
Do the same on the opposite side so that you’re left with a triangular flap resting on the table:
You’re at the final step! Grab the corner of triangular flap and pull tightly. If you have any air pockets (as I have on the left), tuck the loose dog-ears underneath the triangular flap before…drum roll please…
Securing it with one last piece of tape!
Repeat the process on the opposite side of the box, keeping in mind that the triangular flap should be pointing up at the end of your wrapping, but will be pointing down when you flip the box right side up.
And there you have it, darlings!
These steps work for boxes of all sizes, but for gifts that have irregular shapes, cellophane and tissue paper are your best friends!
Figured out some tricks of your own or just have some giftwrapping photos to show off? Share them with us by tweeting @litdarling!
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