How to wrap a gift correctly

December 20, 2005 — 1 Comment

Correct gift wrapping 1
Have you ever wonderend how people can make perfect presents that look really good? I’ve been practising my whole life but couldn’t become a master. Anyway, I’ve developed a tricky technique that makes presents look good. Not very good, but good is enough for me. Try it out yourself.

I prepared a set to help me explain what I’m talking about. Correct gift wrapping 1 shows the material needed:

* wrapping paper
* scissors
* sticky tape
* the gift, respectively
* patience (at least with my descriptions)

I’m using a book here, but you could use anything else that’s not too abstract (like a statue or a teddy bear). In fact, this method works best with objects that are (close to) cuboids.

### Cutting the paper ###

Correct gift wrapping 2
Put the book at the edge of the wrapping paper, leaving a three finger margin around the borders. Now cut through the longer side for about a bit more than two times the width of the book (see Correct gift wrapping 2 if I haven’t made myself clear). Don’t worry if you’re not good at cutting – it will never be seen since we fold this part to the inside.

Correct gift wrapping 3
Now put the book at the very edge of the paper (avoid rotating it). Memorise the position of the right border and move the book to the left until the left side is at this position. Add the thickness of the book two times plus three additional fingers in the same direction (see Correct gift wrapping 3). Now make a cut from the bottom to the top. This cut and the previous one should meet at one point (since this is almost never the case, do it as good as you can).

Congratulations! If you made it this far you can now put the scissors away and start folding (my favourite part).

### Folding the wrap ###

Correct gift wrapping 4
Unless this piece of wrapping paper has never been used before there could be a slight chance that the left edge is not a straight line. This is not very nice since this edge is going to be visible from the outside. Don’t worry, there’s a solution to this. Make an inside (valley) fold the width about half a finger to the inside (see Correct gift wrapping 4 for visualisation). That way we get a straight line at this edge. Now relax and enjoy for a while.

Correct gift wrapping 5
OK, we’ve created a straight edge at the left side. Now wrap this edge around the book. Position the book so that this edge and the left edge of the book make a line (see Correct gift wrapping 5). The paper should lie flat on the book. Don’t move the book on the paper, the book should keep this position on the underlying paper. Relax the folded edge but make sure the book doesn’t move.

Correct gift wrapping 6
That the right edge of the paper and wrap it over the right side of the book. It should lie flat on the book like the left edge was lying flat before. If you like (and if the surface of the book allows it) you can put some sticky tape to fix this edge to the book. I couldn’t do it since the surface of this book didn’t allow it. In fact, the book would have been harmed if the tape is removed. Think about it.

Correct gift wrapping 7
Here comes another tricky part. Put the left edge, that we folded before, and wrap it around to the right side of the book (where the right edge should now cover part of the title page of the book). This edge and the right edge of the book should again make a line. If it does, put sticky tape across to fix this part (a width of about two fingers should be enough to do the job). Your half baked gift should now look like the one on Correct gift wrapping 7.

### Folding the top ###

Correct gift wrapping 8
Center the book in its paper wrapping. Rotate the upper side to you. Put the fingers of your left hand at the upper edge of the book and make sure the book doesn’t move (see Correct gift wrapping 8). You should try to make a crease in case the book accidently moves. This way you won’t lose the actual position of the book.

Correct gift wrapping 9
Take the edge that is closer to you (like the one on Image 8) and move it to the center of the books upper edge. Look at Correct gift wrapping 9 for what you should be doing. This is also a tricky part since the paper doesn’t always do what we want. You have to be careful, try not to move the book. Make a crease where horizontal and vertical parts of the paper meet (see Correct gift wrapping 9). Fold the edge of the new diagonal part flat on the table.

Correct gift wrapping 10
If you could do the last two steps the next two shouldn’t be a problem. The same procedure as before, rotate the book clockwise so the other edge faces you (like Correct gift wrapping 10 shows). You already know what to do, but I’ll guide you through it anyway. And I’m still smiling ;).

Correct gift wrapping 11
We use our thumb to fold the paper across the right downward edge that is facing us (see Correct gift wrapping 11, also see Correct gift wrapping 8 for additional help). Fix the book so it doesn’t move (I can’t stop saying this since it happens all the time and is frustrating and demotivating).

Correct gift wrapping 12
Fold the newly created diagonal flat on the table. Your wrapped book should now look like mine on Correct gift wrapping 12.

If the two diagonals and the upper edge of the book doesn’t describe a triangle but a trapezium – don’t worry. This happens either if your margin was less than three fingers or you are Kate Moss. The next steps will still work for you.

If you happened to take more than three fingers width as margin around the book then unfold the last few steps which created the diagonals. Then take the scissors again and cut away approximately the width of one finger from the upper edge. Fold in the edges and check again. Redo as often as needed.

Correct gift wrapping 13
Take the corner that was created by the two diagonals and fold it inside (valley fold) to the upper edge of the book (see Correct gift wrapping 13). In fact the corner shouldn’t touch the upper edge. It is easier for you to fold it upside when there is some buffer left.

Correct gift wrapping 14
Repeat the last step as often as needed. Stop if the width of the folded part is less than the thickness of the book. I had to do it a second time. If I used a smaller margin around the book at the beginning then it would have taken me less time to wrap up my gift. But who am I sporting here, dude?

Correct gift wrapping 15
Correct gift wrapping 15 shows how to fold this part to the upper edge of the book. Again, don’t move the book! Freeze it with one hand and use the other to fold the thing. Press the book from the open side to this fold to create some tension. This step is needed so your gift looks like wrapped up in wrapping paper and not in a paper bag.

Correct gift wrapping 16
Put sticky tape on the edge so you fix the part you folded. Don’t use too much tape, the gift might look like you only used tape to wrap it ;). Also, if the tape is carefully removed you can eventually reuse this piece of wrapping paper (to put a book in there the same size, but half the work).

### Folding the bottom ###

Correct gift wrapping 17
The upper edge of the book is finished. As you no doubt already guessed – same procedure on the other side. Rotate the book so the bottom of the book now faces you. Take the left edge and… You know how to do it, don’t you? Use the next images to look how I did it.

Correct gift wrapping 18
Correct gift wrapping 19
Correct gift wrapping 20

### The finished gift ###

Correct gift wrapping 21
This is how your gift should look like when you’re finished. If it isn’t as good as you wanted it to be then don’t worry – as long as it was made by yourself the receiver will respect your effort. And the next one will get better, trust me. All that is left to say now is: have fun wrapping!

If you have any suggestions on how to improve this how-to let me know. Also let me know about corrections on the article or on the images.

Note: I know what book it is since it was me who wrapped it up. But the person this gift is meant to doesn’t, so please don’t tell what the title of the book is nor who wrote it. At least until Christmas eve. 🙂

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  1. Jo's Journal - December 21, 2005

    Scissors, tape and lots of patience

    I have finally finished wrapping my xmas presents and of the 20 or so that I’ve wrapped this month, am pleased to announce that I only had to rip the paper off one and start again. Rather than go through it again next month, I’ve also wrap…

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