The Holy Trinity of Gift Wrapping:: Secrets from an Overachiever

The Holy Trinity of Gift Wrapping:: Secrets from an OverachieverI was raised with great gift wrapping genes. I grew up watching my grandmother and aunt masterfully prepare the gift wrapped items at their women’s boutique. I learned at an early age a few key principles of all great visually appealing gifts. 

  1. Bags are for cheaters.
  2. Bows are always necessary – and stick on ones don’t count.
  3. There is no such thing as half-way. Go big or go home.

This was all deeply cemented in my creative brain before I became a teenager. Then, came my love for all things ribbon and glitter. I attribute this magnificent quality to my mother. She has fostered in me the highest of standards as I strive for holiday excellence. My aim for excellence has spilled over into tree decorating and wreath making, but I take particular pride in preparing my gifts to reflect the glory of the crafter’s most excessive season, or what non-OCDers {Obsessive Christmas Disorder} simply call gift wrapping. There are three key components that we must breakdown in detail:: the paper, the tape and the ribbon.

The Paper

First things first. Boxes with dogs in Santa hats are not wrapped. A box is a box, and whether it says Amazon or Merry Christmas, that box deserves some paper. Moving on.Any paper will do’  is a lie from the depths of the devil of wrapping. Don’t believe it. Run from it. There is good paper, average paper and BAD paper. I am not in the business of paper, but I am semi-professional. I am a big fan of all discount stores. Dollar Tree is a second home to me. I do not, however, condone or celebrate any purchases of discount wrapping paper. It will tear. It is sure to fade. There are things that one should skimp on – toothpaste, dish soap, even tissue paper, but save your pennies and fork them over for the good stuff. I know that many who repel at the thought of glue guns also find that their cars cannot pull into the parking lot of Hobby Lobby. Make this sacrifice, my non-crafting sisters, and get yourself to the holiday aisle for the best paper in town. Their paper is heavy. It has grid lines on the back for easy cuts. It is far superior in durability standards. Pro Hint:: If you only shop for one thing after Christmas, make it Hobby Lobby paper. Typically, it goes 66% off a few days BEFORE Christmas, and will go all the way to 90% off in the weeks following. You will likely miss out on of the pick of patterns if you wait, but I keep a full stock of this paper for year-round gift wrapping. I love it THAT much.

The Tape

Did you know that there was such a thing as “good” tape? Sure, the high priced stuff from office supply stores works, but more times than not, I need to make adjustments in my precision folding and this area of gift wrapping can provide savings and functionality. If you, too, enjoy the pleasure of a good bargain, use your time in your favorite discount chain to look for tape. If you are feeling really fancy, a wristlet tape dispenser is a fine accessory. But lets be honest, we overachievers are more than capable of holding paper and reaching for tape. Shiny tape looks lovely on shiny paper, but again, its not necessary. One word of superior wrapping:: as you place your tape on the ends and back of your package, always think ahead to your bow positioning. If you plan to center your bow, center your folds and tape. Ribbon is an excellent way to hide taping imperfections.  

*If folding paper on the ends of wrapping seems to bring you stress, I recommend minutes 4-5 of this clip. She shows you some great tips. To me, the secret to successful wrapping is not having too much paper on the ends!

The Ribbon

The Holy Trinity of Gift Wrapping:: Secrets from an OverachieverBows on packages are a must. Imagine a grilled cheese sandwich that was not heated. That’s just a cheese sandwich. A box with no bow is a wrapped box. Give that thing a bow and make it a gift! There are many bows that can meet all levels of experience and talent. Remember, a stick on bow is not a bow. That is a sticker. We will discuss bow varieties in the order of simplicity::

Bronze Medal Bow::

The easiest way to make a pretty package is to use tulle. This net-like fabric can be tied like you tie your shoelace. Its literally that easy. Mix multiple colors or stay simple. Layer the tulle for a thick full appearance. Whatever you do, just PUT A BOW ON IT!

Silver Medal Bow::

Wired ribbon is the key to a great “fancy” bow. Beginners should aim for a 1″ width and you can, again, be as simple as a standard bow or as complex as a full bow complete with multiple ribbons and many loops. The secret to a good bow is the knot. The tighter the knot, the better the bow. For those that want to step up their bow game, I have created a video tutorial. One word of caution, the more that you add to your bow {glitter ribbon, thicker ribbon} the more precision you need. Staying simple yet committed to the cause is the key to leveling up in the bow arena.

Gold Medal Bow::

If you have mastered the wire ribbon and are ready for a challenge, try your hand at acetate ribbon. Texans may know this as “mum” ribbon. Usually, this ribbon is solid and fair warning – it is hard to work with. But if you want to take your bow game to the next level, this will make your packages stand out. You need to make a FULL bow. It can take as many as 20-30 loops to make this type of bow. This was the bow of my childhood. Every package that my aunt and grandmother produced had a beautiful acetate bow, complete with ornaments attached and gold foil gift cards. Call me sentimental, but there is nothing better than taking the bow off these packages – because they stay together – and placing the entire half basketball sized fluff ball on your head. The number of “big” bows that my cousins and I wore around the house on Christmas are too numerous to count. 

Above all instructions and tips, I leave you with this gift wrapping benediction::

May you know the joy of receiving the BIG bowed present.

May you know the satisfaction of successfully wrapping that awkward shaped toy.

And may you always know that someone sitting around that tree sees your hard word and appreciates the perfect tape and ribbon, even if your jerk of a brother is complaining about all the glitter. 

Go in Holiday Peace. 

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