Monday, December 10, 2012

How to Wrap Presents Like a Pro: Part One - The Package

Long before I was a bloggy mom with 2-5 children and 1-2 dogs and a small, home-based business, I worked as a professional.  Yes, as a genetic counselor, but also as a professional gift wrapper!  Through college and graduate school, I spent the Christmas season behind the counter at both Foley's (now Macy's) and Dillard's in the gift wrap section of Customer Service.  Let me just tell you, long hours, little pay and way too much Barbara Mandrel Christmas music - ha!

But I did learn a few things.  Now, you might be thinking that a gift wrap job would be easy to acquire, but much like genetic counseling (ha!) it actually required some schoolin' and a certification before I could commence with wrapping gifts for others!  Little did you know . . .

The good news for you is that I have decided to share this insider information with all of you so that you too can have professional-looking packages under your tree this year!

Like most projects, the key to success is having the right tools, so grab yourself a good pair of scissors, some medium to heavy weight paper (gridded works best) and some double sided tape and let's get started!

1.  To measure your paper length correctly, line one end of the box up with the end of the paper and 'flip' your box over 4 times to get the right length with just a bit extra for overlap.  Whenever possible, work horizontally across the paper, cutting the entire length across and then trimming if necessary, rather than working vertically (parallel) with the direction the paper unrolls.

2.  To measure your paper width correctly, pull the paper up on the short side, then cut along the opposite edge of the box.  This will give you just enough to make your folds on the sides, without having lots to trim.

3.  Once you have cut your paper, line it up so the straight edge (uncut) is even with one edge of the box.  Using the precut edges of the paper keeps things neat!

4.  Make sure you crease your paper at the box edges so that you get a nice, tight fit.  it also helps keep things in place while you are taping.

5.  Now put double-sided tape along the length of the paper and secure to form a clean edge.

6.  Always tuck your sides in first, rather than tucking the top down first.  This leaves the top and bottom edges free to meet in the middle, securing once again with double-sided tape.  Double-sided tape really is the professional gift wrappers secret!

7.  Now it's time to embellish, usually with a bow.  Fabric ribbon is another 'must have' for a professional finish and wired fabric ribbon works really well.  Personally, I like to use tulle for my embellishments because tulle pom-poms make such a statement and I believe that a well-wrapped gift makes the recipient feel extra special!
So, stay tuned for Part Two of 'How to Gift Wrap Like a Pro' and learn how to make pom-pom bows!
Merry Christmas Y'all!


  1. What a fun posting on how to wrap gifts! I love to use wire ribbon that I find at a good price at Costco or I stock up for the next year right after Christmas. I haven't used tulle before, but what a great idea! It sure makes a fun little pom-pom!

    1. Thanks Laurie - it's fun and inexpensive really! I actually prefer the stiffer tulle to the kind found on the spools, but the convenience of the spools trumps it!

      Merry Christmas!

  2. Great tutorial. I love that wrapping paper!

    1. Thanks! I should also add that if it isn't a 'box' shaped package already, to make it really look neat, you should always box in something larger and fill with tissue around it. A good foundation is important!

  3. I never thought about using tulle for ribbons. I just love wrapping presents. I always wished it paid better, so I could do it for a living! :) Thanks for the inspiration for alternative bows and ribbons. Maybe I'll peruse my craft stash when I start wrapping this year.

    1. Me too. other than the Barbara Mandrel,I really enjoyed the gig every year. Really puts you in the spirit of the season and it makes people happy!

  4. I love using tulle for make a beautiful fluffy bow every time! Great tutorial. Thanks for linking up to Centerpiece Wednesday!