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HELP with Gift Wrapping!

j Paul

PFG, Picture Framing God
Feb 23, 2004
We have decided to add gift wrapping services this year. Being a guy, I haven't wrapped that many presents, so I need some advice on how to do it quickly and effectivly.

Here is a scenario: I have a gift box 6"square. My gift paper is 24" wide so I cut a pc. about 24 x 25 and wrap the 25" pc around the box and have about a 1" overlap. So far I think so good. The question come up on how to fold the ends.

Now the 6"s box is sitting on the paper that is 24" wide. I have 24 minus the box 6" = 18" div2 or 9" left each side. I know that is too much. ( I know I can slide it over but then I have the same problem on the other end.) Is there some kind of formula depending on the size of the box?How much should I leave on the ends before folding and how do you go about folding it to make it look nice and attractive? I have to learn to do this rather quickly as usually I am the only one in the shop.

Now I don't know how well this can be answered with out being able to demonstrate it to a gift wrapped challenged person but I would appreciate if you tried. thanks JPaul
When you fold the ends, fold them in first. Let's see, how to describe it... I saw those mall gift wrap ladies do it one year and it makes for a very tidy end. I'll have to think about how to illustrate with words... stay tuned...

Try experimenting with the positioning of the box on the paper. I find that if I put the box diagonally (on the bias), I can sometimes get a better yield, especially on a cube shaped box.

This tip applies to shrink wrap on a roll, as well.

edie the allthumbs goddess
Sweet talk a female into doing it for you, they are brilliant at this.
You might want to try visiting a local department store that offers gift wrap ... pick a time when they are not too busy, take a box of doughnuts or some See's candy and get one their experts to demonstrate how to do it right. Just an idea!
Sweet talk a female into doing it for you, they are brilliant at this.
Put on your pith helmet, Mick, you’re gonna get stoned for that one.

Personally, I like tin foil for wrapping presents. It’s shiny (therefore cheerful), and you don’t have to worry about tape; just bunch the ends together so it looks like a slab of hamburger in the freezer.

Kinda a retro-depression era look.
You know, I almost said, "Hey fellas! Just leave it to us gals to do it!"

(But I didn't want to bruise any fragile male psyches...

I don't think I've ever known a male to get this right. That's why I didn't bother trying to explain it. Even gay men have trouble with it.

Must be something in the ovaries...

edie the sheofusefulthumbs goddess
If you were here, I could show you how gift wrap a package in nothing flat, and it would be a professional looking job.

(I had to help out in a gift wrapping department at one of the department stores I worked at when a movie studio called and ordered 500 gift wapped boxes for a movie set. That gift wrap lady was a gift wrapping drill sergeant! Guess that is why she was considered the best).

Like Edie, I don't know if I can describe it to you. I'll try to take some photos tomorrow and post them.

Most people use too much paper on the sides of the box (ideally the paper width should be 2.5x the width of the box, according to General Wrap Lady) and use double sided tape. You should never ever ever see tape! And, always crease your seams.

Right, I'll post pics. ;)
I could wrap pretty well (for a guy, I guess). But my one friend, Donna, wraps perfectly. No scotch tape, she uses a glue stick, no puckers or loose paper at all. You hate to open the present, it looks so perfect.
I used to have an older gentleman working for me (when I was a younger gentleman.)

One day he was watching me wrap Xmas presents for my family and he was clearly getting agitated.

Finally he said, "Lemme do that. You wrap like a guy." He wrapped all my presents for me and it was a memorable Christmas.

(John Ranes will know who I'm talking about.)
Use Kraft paper and ATG. Pull and wrap as tight as you can. Once done.. lightly mist with alcohol or alc/water mix. Let stand till bone dry and tight as a drunk on New Years eve.

Now if you are of the more devious mind... only do this to family and friends who have a sense of humor...

Wrap packages with wonderful pure white....TYVEK. And ATG... the stuff is impossible to rip, and it almost doesn't seperate from the ATG.... :D

Who said the Grinch word???
Ok, here it is and I hope it doesn't take tooooo long to load!


First, measure your box so that you can cut the right amount of paper. Too much paper makes wrapping harder!


I cut the length first--I measure it out and use an exacto and straight edge--faster and neater.


I trim the paper width--2.5 times the width of the box.


Center your box, top facing down, as square as possible with the paper. Wrap up one side (keep it snug!) and secure with double sided tape.


Pull up the other side and secure with double sided tape. One peice will do! You should have an inch or so of overlapping paper aat this point--you DID measure, right?!


Crease around all of your edges that you have so far.


Start to fold your ends. Fold down the paper on one end and make sure you run the paper to the edge of the box so that you can get your edges creased properly. (Note next photo)


Crease the other side.


Crease across the top of the end section, before you start to fold in the flaps.


Fold in the flaps, making sure you are going all the way into the corners.


Crease the bottom.


Crease along the side edge.


Fold the other flap in and crease.


Don't tape this end at this point, but turn the package over on top of this side so that you can repeat all the steps on the other end.


Ideally, your folds on the ends should match up perfectly. However, if the underside of the paper sticks out and looks less than neat, you can do a little counterfold like the above pic to "clean it up".

Fold the flap over and apply the double sided tape to the point.


Press the corner down firmly. (At this point the Ms. Gift Wrapping drill sergeant would have thrown me out, because she insisted that all of the points come together at one central axis on the end of the box....but I'm not quite that much of a perfectionist! You can go that extra effort if you want...)


Turn the box over, secure the other side flap with double stick, and then crease every edge on the package for a clean, professional look.


Now for the bow. Anyone can do this basic bow.
Anyone! Start with a length of tulle ribbon (lots of bang for the buck with tulle ribbon!) Wrap in around one way on the box and tie it off with a simple knot on the top.


Take another lenght of the same ribbon and fold it back and forth so that you have at least 2 "loops and one end on each side--holding it in the middle.


get a length of contrasting ribbon, (enough for a couple of loops on each side), and hold it in the middle with the other ribbon.


Now tie that onto your package, using the tails of the first ribbon that you tied around the package to secure it with. Just like tying shoelaces...


Now "fluff" out the tulle ribbon.

Trim off your "tails"


I usually add some little "Tie on", in this case it was a button. I keep a couple of tupperware containers of "things" that I find or buy that I can add to make it a little different. Buttons are inexpensive. Just use a narrow ribbon to tie it on to the existing knot.


The Final Result, held by one of my fab employees, Jacob. (Keith, the one taking the pics, was too shy to hold the package. That's Ok. We'll get him when he least expects it.)

Now. A basic wrap job like this should take you less than 5 minutes. Of course, you need to have your "wrap table" set up and supplies at the ready. This is a wonderful service that will seal your customers as yours forever if you do it right. Promise. ;)
take 1-2 hrs, go to the local dept store, set yourself up at the gift wrapping counter....PAY ATTENTION to what goes on behind the counter...talk to the workers(they'll appreciate the interest)....visit another before you leave & do the same thing....this time of year they are gearing up to be busy....you'll learn LOTS just watching
Using Barb's method illustrated above, you can also make an attractive gift bag for odd shaped items and pieces that don't have boxes.

Follow her directions until you have the side and one end taped. Remove the box, insert a piece of foam core cut to the size of the bottom.

Put the thingy in the bag and fold the top over. Use a hole punch to make two holes in the folded flap. Thread a ribbon through the holes and tie a pretty bow as shown.

(I can NEVER find boxes the right size at Christmas time.)

Barb - I see a book deal in this... and possibly a spot on H/G TV show.... You are very good at this...

I especially "love" (not) the taping of the first edge of the paper to the box - something my husband does - so you can't slide the box out of the wrapping paper and peak to see what it is and then re-wrap it!!

You did a bea-u-ti-ful job on this exercise!!!


PS with this - it is most helpful to make sure you have good wrapping paper and not the thinner paper that tears if you look cross-eyed at it!!
Hate to admit this but being a female and over 30 (Say What!!) I have never been good at gift wrapping. Your instructions were wonderful and now I can quit buyng those dumb bows that don't stay stuck anyway.

In my gallery I used white bags with natural tissue paper and tied natural raffet (SP) on the handles. Looked nice and even I could do it. I even printed out big avery labels and put on the bags.
Barb, yes thank you very much. I know you helped more than just me, really do appreciate all the effort you and your people went to. Yep, I agree a book deal or at least a little pamphlet (SP).
Thanks again.

This post or at least your instructions should get earmarked so it comes up this time every year.!!
Love the button idea....

just crease with your fingers, not a bone... what a concept...(as he smacks his head). :D

Thanks Barb.
Barb, you just brought back memories of when I worked in a home accessory store warehouse. I was put in charge of the pre-wrap temp workers. We sent off pre-wrapped items to all the stores so the customers could just pick one up off the shelves wrapped.

I guess one year some of the temps wrote horrible things on the inside of the wrapping and ruined quite a few Christmas mornings for people who had purchased these items. Caused quite a PR nightmare for the Company. After that they had to have one of the regular crew in charge and watching over the pre-wrappers.

That was my job the year I worked there, I so much more preferred being in charge of the forklift! I had to predetermine the size paper they needed on each item and show them how to wrap it. Only three pieces of tape were allowed to show. All ends had to be folded neatly on the ends. Tight creased corners. If any did not pass muster I had to tear the wrapping off and have them do it again. Oh yeah, nothing like a surly group of temp workers probably just earning their days supply of alcohol......that was a blast.
Ah--so you were one of the mysterious pre-wrapped gift elves! I remember those mountains of prewraps. I must say, however, that they make the visual managers' jobs easier--a sea of red boxes helps with the holiday impact.

Yes, you must buy good paper. You are risking it if you just throw caution to the wind and order your giftwrap online or from a catalogue--unless you know the supplier well. This alone is worth a side trip to the gift mart. (Or get a good relationship with a gift wrap rep.) Not only do some papers rip easy (talk about a nightmare), but some do not recieve tape well. (Frustration!)

Last year we bought a large multipack of "store brand" tape, and it was nasty. (all went to the dumpster) 3M for us from now on.

Another tip--once you get your wrap, go over to the fabric/craft store and check out the wonderful yummy selection of yarns!! Knitting is coming back in a big way, and the yarns are so very cool. Nubby textures in bright colors (reds, oranges and pinks) will look very updated on a plain lime green paper for Christmas. Use it to tie on a candy cane, and you are done! Be careful though--it was hard for me to leave with only a couple of skeins....and I don't knit!

I forgot to show you the store label. We do our label clear with copper logo, to match the paper and also the copper that is on all of my signs, stationery etc.
Why not approach a local girl scout troop or another similar organization with the thought that you'd provide the materials and they'd wrap the packages for a requested donation to their organization? This would free you up to get last minute orders out, allow you to provide the service and benefit a local organization.

In lieu of that, consider purchasing imprinted gift bags and tissue...quick and easy.

Dave Makielski
Originally posted by Framing Goddess:
You know, I almost said, "Hey fellas! Just leave it to us gals to do it!"

(But I didn't want to bruise any fragile male psyches...

I am horiffic at wrapping. Customers always ask me to wrap things up in brown paper and then look at me in terror as I attempt to wrap it up. (female)