Monday, December 15, 2008

A Tutorial For the Wrapping Challenged

Last year, I took step by step pictures of wrapping a Christmas gift in order to provide instruction to those who say they find it hard to wrap gifts. This year, it gets posted to the blog instead of on a message board.

How did I gain such experience? Each year, my Mom organized her restaurant's holiday party. Each employee got a gift or two, there were raffle prizes and gag gifts. In all, there would be about a hundred gifts to wrap. Who helped out? Yours truly.

Then, each Christmas Eve from the time I was about ten or eleven, I'd be holed away in Mom's bedroom for part of the day or evening, where I'd be entrusted with wrapping everyone else's Christmas gifts. It was a fun way to spend the holiday, finding out what everyone else got!

Somehow, at each department store I worked at, I'd make the mistake of sharing the fact that I know how to wrap gifts. That meant being drafted to go back to the dreaded gift wrap department (like on Mother's Day-such fun!). Yeah, more gifts. Then, I started working for a retailer that provides complimentary gift wrap and once again, I would spend a lot of time wrapping.

Today, you get the wisdom of my experience:
I need to preface with this with two things: Use a table or flat surface and do whatever you can to be eye level with your folding. At work, they would typically find me at the workstation on my knees so I can improve the folding.

I couldn't use the table when I photographed this demonstration, since it would have ruined the surprise for Chef when I took these! Enjoy the view of my bedspread! Also note, I do not normally recommend using packing tape as your adherent-but it was all I had in the house and time was of the essence for getting the tutorial on the board last year. (I wonder if someone is going to bump that thread up?)

Step one: The package before application of tape:

Step two:Bring the paper to one end of the box for a more polished look. Apply tape on each corner of the box.
Step three:Cut your paper so that there is enough to fold over when you get to the other side.
Step four: 'crimp the paper' by pulling it taut, then press down along the edge of the box with your thumb to indicate where you will fold the paper under. It'll make a gentle bend that you will fold under.
Step five: Fold the paper under, then tape at top and bottom of the box. It helps to tape one end, then smooth down the paper to the other end to prevent a gap in the paper.
Step six: On the side that doesn't have the seam, fold down the bottom left corner, making a right angle triangle. Apply tape to the bottom left paper, then smooth the paper up against the package and apply more tape. This will be a little like an origami paper fold, you will fold the bottom left, top left, top right, then bottom right.
Step seven: After you've applied the tape, fold the paper again so that it matches the appearance of the first fold you made. Most people find it easier to get crisp folds when they fold the item away from themselves.
Step eight: Fold the paper down and smooth against the box. Anchor with tape on the bottom.
Step nine: Once you have anchored the paper, smooth the paper over to the right, then make another triangle with the right corner, folding from the top down.
Step ten:Fold the paper over, smooth and anchor with tape. It's best to put that piece of tape as far down as possible.
Step eleven: Fold paper up, smooth and anchor with tape. One side is done!
Step twelve: I'm showing this side with too much paper to show how you can fix it. Repeat steps 6 through eight. Do your best to get the paper flat through smoothing and anchoring with tape.
Step thirteen: Fold over the right corner into the package Smooth and anchor with tape. It will look something like this.
Step fourteen: Fold over excess paper towards the box and smooth edge of folded portion.
Step fifteen: Fold paper up to top of box and anchor with tape. You are done.
Top View of finished product:
Bottom view of finished product:

Now, we all know that Santa wraps in different paper from the rest of the gifts, right? That's how Ed sussed it out when he was a kid! I suspected way too young because Santa's handwriting resembled a certain female in my house, so nametags have been made on the computer in our house.

I make a pretty darn good bow with ribbon, but that's far too complicated to explain without having people do it in front of me, so you'll have to suffer with store bought. Hey, that reminds me, I need to head to the dollar store and get a bag of them.

Hopefully, this helps you have pretty presents under your tree (or next to your menorah?) this year.

10 People talked back:

imaginary binky said...

Very useful information. No one ever teaches you this stuff, you know? I learned it the hard way one day when I accepted a job as "customer service" for a small department store. At the last minute, some guy decided he needed his gift wrapped. I made the attempt. I failed. Then, a very nasty manager came over and sighed loudly as he made a fuss over the present and joined the customer in making me feel about 10 inches tall.

I much prefer learning from you. Heheh. But hey, I wrap one hell of a present now.

songbird's crazy world said...

you're hired. can you come over sunday and bring Chanukah paper? no way can I ever wrap anything...that's why G-d invented gift bags.

Joyce-Anne said...

Tim also wraps a mean gift. I give him the most difficult items to wrap and he does a great job.

Suzanne said...

Sarah, we had one person who was horrible at wrapping, but she'd tell the people "I'm what you get for free-if you pay, Suzanne does it!"

SB, Good, I love Silver and Blue-on my way with the gift wrap and latkes.

Joyce, it must be the engineer mentality in him!

Joyce-Anne said...

Btw, Lou posted about wrapping gifts today too. Hmm, it must be the season...

ligirl said...

I'm sorry to hear about that, Imaginary Binky!!! I guess I am naive about this...I never really understood what the fuss was about. I HATE the holidays, but I actually enjoy wrapping gifts (there's a paradox for ya, I know) and I come from a long line of good gift-wrappers. I never really got what folks thought was so difficult about it. Then I met my Ex, who could never get the hang of it either. Especially everything from step six and beyond!

ligirl said...

Hi, Songbird!!! How does one do the gift bag thang...with the tissue paper? I can wrap a mean gift, but whenever I try to do a gift bag it never looks pretty...more like I tried to stuff everything in there with my feet!!! I'm thinking there must be a technique, but whatever it is, I didn't get the memo!

Gypsydoodlebug said...

I wrapped at one of our malls during the holiday season. Some presents SUCK to wrap. I learned the same way you showed!

Suzanne said...

Donna, here's a trick I learned from a coworker with the gift bags.

Lay your tissue paper flat. Pinch it in the center, pull up the tissue, then quickly whip your wrist around. It'll give you a neat 'fan' of sorts to place gently in the bag atop whatever you're giving.

Okay, I need to feed you and demonstrate the technique. Hmmm, I can do video with your camera...

Bess said...

I'd love to learn ribbon bows from you at some point :)