Some gift wrapping tips for
those who aren’t really good at it

It looks so easy. There are the sample packages gift-wrapped in the store, or in an ad or on TV. They’re always almost too pretty to even think of unwrapping them. Anybody could wrap packages look like that, right?


Your mother told you not to run with scissors. But, did she then teach you how to cut a straight line with them – when you didn’t have a straight line to follow? Even if she did, can you do it now?
What about tying a bow? Somewhere besides your shoes, that is.What if the package you’re trying to wrap isn’t a book? What if it’s in one of those plastic cocoons that is not only impossible to wrap but impossible to open?
Here are some small ideas to help you through.

Have the store wrap it for you. That’s taking the easy way out but you have other things to do with your time. Failing that…


Before you cut a piece of wrapping paper, try folding it first so that you do have a straight line to follow. That way you know if you’re going to take off just the right amount or maybe too much or too little. Once you’re sure then you can haul out the scissors and cut away. If your scissors are sharp (and they should be!) most of the time you can cut through the paper without making it look like you tore it with your teeth. Just slide the open scissors along while keeping the two parts of the paper on either side of the cutting path as taut as possible – this might require additional hands or you can weight one side of the paper down with something and hold the other as you’re cutting.


Oh, and if there’s a top and a bottom of your gift, put the top on the largest uncut part of the paper so that the folds and taping all go on in less conspicuous spots – like the bottom. Then…

If you’ve still measured wrong and there’s an embarrassing gap in the wrap – add a patch. It could be a leftover piece of the same paper or paper that coordinates or even contrasts. You might also use that spot for the “tag” for the gift and put a rectangular piece of colored paper with the “to” and “from” information.


Bows are a different story. Buy them pre-tied if at all possible – preferably in the same color as the rest of the ribbon. Use ones from packages past if you are one of the millions of us who always save those pre-tied bows “for next year.” Well, now it’s next year.

If you are stuck without a pre-tied bow bought at a store, try pre-tying one yourself. Tie two or three shortish lengths of ribbon into individual “shoe bows” and then group them together. You can fasten them to your package in a clump with tape. If that doesn’t work, and you usually have someone help you tie bows whenever that occasion arises – by holding their finger on the intersection of the two parts of the ribbon – try tying the bow around a pipe cleaner or a plastic straw. When the bow is tied you can remove the non-person helper.

More Tips

If your gift isn’t a pure rectangle try putting it in one. You can either find a decorative box (that doesn’t then require wrapping at all) or a more utilitarian box that you can then wrap normally.If your gift is really an odd shape – or its shape is a dead giveaway for what it is, like a CD – try confusing the issue by wrapping it as though it were much larger or putting it in a container (such as a gift basket or a bag for a gift bottle) that won’t give away its true identity until opened.

Speaking of bags, if the gift is really humongous try putting it in a large trash bag and tying it closed with a bow – you can use just a regular shoe bow in this case. This is a convenient double benefit because it’s quick – and the bag can then be used to hold all of the used wrapping paper for recycling.

If, on the off chance that you run out of paper the night before it’s needed and you’re exhausted from assembling toys that “require some assembly,” try using the newspaper. Remember newspapers? Those big sheets of paper with type and pictures and ads in them? You can take a jar of finger paint and draw a Christmas tree, a big star, Frosty the Snowman or whatever inspires you right on the newspaper. Just like you did in kindergarten.


Time for a commercial – you can find just the right personalized ornament right here at and tie it on whatever gift you’re giving. The recipient will be so impressed with what you’ve done that you can get away with almost any wrapping job and not worry too much about it.

Written by Dianne Weller
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