Most households with kids have a myriad of gift bags stockpiled for reuse. Some are happy birthday bags with firetrucks; some have a jolly St. Nick atop a chimney; still others are that nondescript brown bag of indeterminable use or age. These are great when you're in a pinch because you're son told you an hour before that Billy has a birthday party. However, with just a little bit of extra time and creativity, you can give a gift whose exterior is as thoughtful as its contents. So learning how to wrap a gift is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

loads of gifts

Wrapping A Box

The simplest and way to make a gift look pretty but with more effort than dumping it into a gift bag: cool wrapping paper. There are lots of rolls to choose from stocked in any kind of store, really. Pick out the style which fits the occasion and let's get started.

Materials:

  • Wrapping Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape

How To:

1. Unroll your paper on a hard, flat surface with enough space to work (such as the dining room table or even the floor) and place your box face down onto the paper.

2. Estimate how much paper you will need to adequately cover your box by loosely folding the paper lengthwise and then by its width. Cut. (Remember, it is easier to work with a bigger piece of paper that can be cut again so, if in doubt, err on the side of extra.)

wrapping a gift

3. Now that the paper is free from the roll, bring the two longest sides together in the middle and tape.

first tape gift

4. To cover the ends of the box, fold the top flat against the box and tape. This will force the sides and bottom to create a shape akin to a drawbridge: two isosceles triangles and one rectangle.

end of gift wrap

5. Fold the two triangles inward and tape. The bottom will transform into a trapezoid.

box almost done wrapping

6. Simply fold the bottom up and tape. Repeat on the other end. Wallah! You have a pretty wrapped box!

finished box

Variations

Having a prettily wrapped gift to add ribbons and bows onto is a totally acceptable presentation. However, why not take it one, two or three steps further to create a totally unique packaging? The occasion and recipient for whom the gift is intended can help funnel your creative energy. For example, if you're wrapping gifts for Christmas, you would stock up on red, green, silver and gold materials. If you're wrapping a birthday gift for a toddler, you'd want to use primary colors. These are only some basic guidelines because the possibilities are infinite! Here are some ideas that may inspire you.

wrapping material

Natural Elements

Wrap your gift in kraft paper, wrap twine around the package, then tie or insert natural elements to decorate with natural elements that befits the season.

  • Winter: use small boughs of pine, clips from a holly bush, or sprigs of rosemary
  • Spring: pick wildflowers from any corner of your yard. Even the "weeds" such as Queen Anne's Lace and Elderberry flowers look delicate and beautiful against a blank backdrop
  • Summer: a single, bold sunflower head will look smashing
  • Fall: grab a couple of your favorite yellow, orange, or red maple leaves
christmas gift

Vegetable Stamps

This is a great project to have kids help decorate! Wrap your gift in plain white paper then raid your fridge for fruits and vegetables. Carve or cut the produce that can be dipped in paint then stamped onto your paper. The nub of a celery bunch creates a natural flower. You can carve almost anything into a yam like a christmas tree or a balloon. Any fruit or vegetable that's been halved makes an unexpectedly delightful shape. Use various colors of paint. Let your child decide which to use. Even if it's messy, it's still completely original!

veggie stamps

Fabric

Using any sort of fabric is a cool way to personalize your gift. It doesn't even have to be unused fabric! Anything will do as long as it comes from the heart. For father's day, you can use an old t-shirt of his, cut up, and tied off with an old tie. Other examples can be tablecloths, dress shirts, baby onesies, napkins and dishcloths. Just pick something that will enhance your gift!

fabric gift wrap

Periodicals From Birth Year

This is an interesting way to personalize a milestone birthday - especially those of us who are getting a little long in the tooth. Your library has records of periodicals that can be printed (usually up to 11x14) for very little cost. For bigger pieces, check with your local printers (or even Fed Ex) who have the software and technology to print larger sizes of paper.

periodical wrap

Kids Art Work

Involving kids in any capacity automatically increases the "aaawwww shucks" button and it's super simple. Craft stores sell rolls of white paper in varying widths. Find one that suits your size then let your little Picasso use her imagination! From abstractions using watercolors, to crayons, to splatter paint, this way of wrapping a gift may also be frameable.

kids art

Name Poem

Using the first letter of your recipient's name, think of words that will describe her. For example, Emily can be: Energetic Magnificent Intelligent Loving Youthful. Write or Type the words using pretty font onto card stock. Cut the words out using decorative shears and glue onto your paper. Even before opening the gift, she will already feel loved and special.

Old Photographs

It can be difficult to find a gift for a grandparent who usually has everything they can ever want and doesn't "need" anything. However, what a grandparent never tires of are memories. You can do that on the onset by printing up an old photograph of either them when they were younger, an earlier birthday of theirs, or a Christmas when their children were little. Use a high quality photo paper from an office supply store to print from home. Or, if you plan accordingly, you can use a printing service and get it professionally printed for less than a dollar.

photograph as gift wrap

The biggest thing to remember when wrapping a gift is that it doesn't have to look perfect in order to be perfect. Extra care, thoughtfulness, and personality of an uniquely wrapped gift expresses love to the person to whom you are giving. And isn't that really the point? So have fun and be creative!

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