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Everything you need to wrap a present

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to start wrapping presents. Many people can wrap presents, but not everyone knows how to do it in a way that looks professional. But since the wrapping is the first thing your loved one will see, the appearance can make a difference.

Whether you’re planning for the holidays or it’s someone’s birthday, knowing how to wrap presents is a good skill to have. Here’s everything you’ll need if you’re just getting started, as well as some tips and tricks to make your gifts stand out.

Tools you’ll need to wrap a present

sharp scissors

Scissors or another cutting tool. To properly wrap a gift, you’ll need the right cut and size wrapping paper. A pair of sharp scissors or even a box cutter will help with this. These tools let you cut the wrapping paper to the precise dimensions you need. Plus, you’ll get to experience the fun, gliding sensation of slicing through the wrapping paper.

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Fiskars 7-inch Gift Wrap Cutter

Cutter with ribbon curler. Although scissors work for most people, you may want to get a multipurpose tool like Fiskars 7-inch Gift Wrap Cutter. It not only cuts but also curls ribbons for that festive look everyone knows and loves.

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Scotch Tape

Tape or glue. Both tape and glue work great for wrapping presents. Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s clear or transparent so it doesn’t show on the gift. If you’re using tape, Scotch Tape is one of the best options since it’s suitably sticky and blends in with the wrapping paper.

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Ruler. Some basic wrapping paper will feature a grid, which makes a ruler unnecessary when measuring and cutting it. However, most festive options, like Christmas wrapping paper, don’t have this feature. With a ruler, you can perfectly measure out the amount of wrapping paper you need. This cuts down on excess and gives wrapped gifts a pleasing, finished look. For larger gifts, consider using a retractable measuring tape instead.

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reliable colored pens

Colored pens or markers. It never hurts to have a few reliable colored pens, pencils or fine-tipped markers when wrapping gifts. You can use them to mark measurements for cutting wrapping paper, or you can use them to fill out gift tags. Avoid sharpies or thicker pens though since they are more noticeable and may bleed through thinner wrapping paper.

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bundle of wrapping paper

Wrapping paper. The wrapping paper you choose will determine the theme, making it one of the more important aspects of wrapping a present. For example, Christmas wrapping paper typically has colors and designs suited to the holiday. This means snowflakes, reds and greens, reindeer, and holiday-related words. Some wrapping paper is reversible, meaning you can display either side. If you’re wrapping multiple gifts, you may want a bundle of wrapping paper. That way, there’s not as much repetition in the way they all look. 

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gift tags are adhesive

Gift tags. When it comes to gift tags, there are many options. Some gift tags come with strings, while other gift tags are adhesive, making it easy to mount them to the gift. Many gift tags have “To” and “From” text inside where you can easily fill out the names of the giver and recipient. Gift tags may be basic or festive, depending on the occasion.

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colorful ribbons

Ribbons and bows. Most gifts come with a ribbon or wraparound bow. While these aren’t required, they add a fun aesthetic to the present. Plus, they give you the opportunity to bring out your own personal flair. Consider getting some colorful ribbons or multisized bows for a special touch.

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colored tissue paper

Other materials. You can also use stencil art, glitter glue and other fun ways to decorate a wrapped gift. If you choose not to use wrapping paper, you may want to get some gift bags and colored tissue paper.

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How to wrap a present

The way to wrap a present mostly depends on its shape. Before starting, don’t forget to remove any price tags from the gift.

Rectangular or square boxes

Start by rolling out some of the wrapping paper on a flat surface. Make sure the side you want to be displayed is facing down toward the surface.

Next, place the gift as close to the center of the wrapping paper and the roll. The gift should be top side down so that it’s facing the right way when fully wrapped.

Now, pull the edge of the wrapping paper until it covers half of the top of the gift. Do the same for the other side by pulling from the tube side. It should overlap the first side by a good inch or two. If the wrapping paper doesn’t quite cover the box, turn the box around until you find the right fit.

Using two fingers to hold the wrapping paper in place, get your scissors or other cutting tool and cut a straight line all the way across to separate the paper from the roll. Once more, with the gift in the middle of the wrapping paper, pull one side until it covers half of the top of the box. Place a piece of tape lengthwise along the wrapping paper to secure it to the box.

Pull the other side of the wrapping paper until it is tight and without any wrinkles. It should overlap the first side by an inch or so. Tape this side as well.

Now, it’s time to tuck in the corners of the wrapping paper. Do this by pushing each side of the wrapping paper in until it’s flush with the box. You should have triangular-looking folds that stick up. Fold them tightly and press them down over the box. Tape them in place.

Odd-shaped presents

Not every gift is rectangular or square in shape. If that’s the case, you may need to use a ruler or soft tape for accurate measurements.

For circular gifts, start by measuring the circumference. You can do this by wrapping the measuring tape around the gift’s curves. Next, measure the diameter. This is the flat side from one end to the other. If the sides differ in size, measure the diameter of each.

Now, mark the wrapping paper based on the gift’s dimensions and cut it. Be sure to leave an extra inch or so for wriggle room.

With the wrapping paper’s design face down, put the gift in the middle of the paper. Pull one side of the wrapping paper until it covers half of the gift. Apply a piece of tape. Now, pull the other side so that it covers the other side. There should be some overlap. Tape that side as well.

Once the base is done, twist both ends of the wrapping paper so that the design side is visible. If there’s too much excess, carefully cut some of it off. For longer, cylindrical containers, you may not be able to twist the ends. In that case, fold them flat against the sides and tape them in place.

Wrapping presents with a ruler

If using a ruler, unfurl the wrapping paper. Then, measure the length, width and depth of the gift. Set the gift aside and measure out the same dimensions on the paper. Use a pen or pencil to mark the places you’ll need to cut. With a pair of scissors, cut the wrapping paper. Proceed with the steps above.

Adding the bow, gift tags and ribbons

To add a ribbon to the wrapped gift, start by draping it all around until it meets on the other side. Cut it, but leave an extra couple of inches so you can tie it easily later. If you want a second ribbon, repeat the process on the opposing sides of the gift.

If you’re adding a bow, simply remove the paper or plastic bit to reveal the adhesive. Then, stick the bow where you want it to go on the present. Finally, fill out the gift tags and place them wherever you’d like.

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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