Welcome to Nifty, Gifty Holidays, our guide for all the little, magical ways we make the season sparkle. Today, we’re tapping a professional gift stylist for tips on perfecting our present-wrapping game.
Do your presents end up wrapped in helplessly wrinkled paper and lopsided little bows? While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we can’t help but admit there’s something incredibly satisfying about handing over an impeccably wrapped gift during the holidays (and year-round!).
If you struggle to wrap presents each year—or just want to up your game to impress your friends and family—we’ve got a treat for you. Toronto-based gift stylist Corrina vanGerwen was kind enough to let us pick her brain about what it takes to create a showstopping gift, and her pro tips are pretty ingenious, if we do say so ourselves.
Here’s everything you need to know about picking wrapping paper, executing proper technique, embellishing gifts, and more.
As with any craft, you’ll have an easier time creating a beautiful present if you start out with high-quality materials. “Avoid paper that’s too thin, as it’s going to tear easily and just be frustrating,” explains vanGerwen. “Papers from dollar stores, for example, tend to rip, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot.”
Some of her go-to places for quality wrapping materials include The Paper Place, Minted, and Paper Source. Personally, I’ve had great luck with wrapping paper from Target and The Container Store, too.
Once you’re armed with your wrapping paper, scissors and tape, it’s time to get to work. Here are vanGerwen’s top tips for an Insta-worthy present:
1. Measure Your Paper
There’s such a thing as too much wrapping paper—and too little. “Paper should be large enough to wrap around the box with a little bit of overlap, plus enough overhang on either side to cover the ends of the box,” explains vanGerwen. “Too much paper gets in the way and you end up with wrinkles and bulges; too little paper and, well, you can’t cover your box.”
2. Wrap It Tight!
For best results, make sure your wrapping paper is tight around the package. “It should be snug and lie flat to avoid unsightly creases, gaps and bubbles.” Personally, I find it helpful to tape the inner edge of the paper to the package so you can pull it taut as you wrap the paper around.
3. Fold Exposed Edges
This next tip is ingenious, so easy and effective: "Fold over exposed edges of paper, both along the seam at the back and at either end," says vanGerwen. "This hides crooked cuts for a cleaner look."
4. Keep It Crisp
Just like your French fries, the edges of your packages should be crisp. Our gift stylist recommends using your fingernail to create sharp, defined creases.
5. Hide the Tape
If you want to get really extra about your wrapping, you’re going to need some double-sided tape in your arsenal. This allows you to hide it inside, resulting in a super neat appearance. However, depending on what paper you use, double-sided tape might not stick well: “Note that double-sided tape won’t stick to some papers,” says vanGerwen, “in which case you should test both clear tape as well as invisible tape to find which one shows less.”
Once your package is wrapped, it’s time to decorate. You can go with a traditional bow or combine it with another little decoration for an added touch of holiday spirit. “I like to add embellishments like bells, tree ornaments, and sprigs of greenery to make gifts festive,” says vanGerwen. Not great with ribbon? She also recommends using pretty washi tape to give your package a little extra pizazz—no bow needed.
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Okay, but what about those awkwardly-shaped items that you just don’t know what to do with? “Just put it in a box or gift bag; there’s no need to frustrate yourself by trying to get paper around a weird shape.”
Gift bags can be an easy way out, but at the end of the day, sometimes they’re necessary—especially if you’re pressed for time. “Don't avoid gift bags because you think it’s lazy,” she says. “Wrapping should be fun, not frustrating.” With that holiday motto in mind, it’s time to create some beautiful presents!
What are your best tips for a well-wrapped present? Share them with us below!
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