Holiday Gift Wrapping Tips
Gift wrapping holiday gifts can be a joy -- if done ahead using a generous supply of materials and a little inspiration.
However, it it's left until the last minute and you're scrambling for scissors, tags, and tissue paper, then it's a job that can turn into a stressful chore.
Here are some helpful tips for organizing gift wrapping jobs and some ideas to make gift wrapping easier.
Collect Generic Gift Wrap Materials - Instead of buying Santa gift paper, try going with a plain red, a metallic silver, and a beautiful white. These papers can look wonderful during the holidays by using red, green, or metallic ribbons. And later they can look equally wonderful for Valentine's Day with pink ribbon or for a birthday with blue ribbon. Cellophane Bags - Clear or printed cellophane bags (like the ones florists use for corsages) can be a lifesaver for small non-fragile gifts, candies, or baked goods. Simply insert the item into the bag (wrapped in tissue if desired) and seal the top with ribbon, raffia, cording, or a twist tie. These bags come in several sizes. Look for them in bulk at a paper warehouse outlet. Colored Tissue Paper - Tissue can make any gift seem more festive. Collect several colors to use when lining gift boxes, to cushion delicate items, inside cello bags, or even to use as gift paper. Avoid buying a few sheets at a time, as these are particularly expensive. Order in bulk or browse paper warehouses.
Hole Punch - Use an inexpensive hole punch to puncture gift tags (to insert a ribbon) or to punch two holes in the top of a folded gift bag (to insert a ribbon or raffia).
Stickers - Seasonal stickers are a fun way to decorate plain gift bags, tags, or to close cello bagged gifts.
Tags - Beautiful tags are a lovely touch. However, they can sometimes come off and get lost. Try the stick-on types when mailing gifts or for large gatherings when the tag could be inadvertently detached. To and from information can also be written on top of the gift (on the wrapping paper) or on the ends of the ribbon tie. Or, glue or tape the greeting card right to the top of the box.
Making Gift Tags - Craft and stationery stores have blank tags in a variety of shapes. You can also make your own tags in any size or shape using colored paper or cardstock. Scalloped edge scissors will also help create beautiful looking tags.
Recycled Greeting Cards - Cut off the fronts of beautiful holiday cards and attach them to your gifts using double face tape. The picture on the card will dress up your gift and add a bit of color and style. Use a simple cording as ribbon.
Embellishments - Gifts can be made special by tucking in a bit of greenery. Look for artificial leaf or pine sprigs to use on gifts.
Pens - Keep gold, silver, gel, or colored pens available for writing greeting cards and gift tags.
Raffia - Raffia strands are available in natural beige as well as a number of bright dyed colors. They give a homey touch to gifts and are perfect for more country or rustic decors. Use at least 3 strands together when using as ribbon. Knot strands from end to end to make longer lengths for larger gifts. Ribbons - Passion for beautiful ribbon has increased in recent years. Keep in mind, however, that gorgeous ribbons are often very expensive. Use them for special gifts rather than presents that might be ripped open in the blink of an eye. It will also help to confine the use of special ribbons to smaller items and come up with cheaper alternatives for large bulky gifts. Glitter Wire - This is a useful item for all sorts of gifts in bags. Glitter wire (or garland) is metallic covered wire with sprays of metallic cutouts (stars, hearts, trees, etc.) bursting out in every direction. Use wire cutters to trim to shorter lengths and use them as "twist ties" to close cello or paper gift bags. Wind the ends around a pencil for a curly finish. Wired Ribbon - Wired ribbons are becoming widely available. Most offer beautiful colors or sheers with the convenience of wired edges. Making a package look gorgeous is a snap with wired ribbon since you'll be able to "fuss" with the bow to get it looking just right. Trim the ends of wired ribbon on a slant or in a V-shaped "swallow tail" cut. Bags - Gift bags -- plain, colored, with or without handles -- are terrific for giving items that don't have a box or for gifts that include multiple items. Use ribbon, raffia, or glitter wire to close the top of the bag. Look for inexpensive colored lunch bags (we found purple and green in the photo at right) that might be used to contain party favors or children's gifts. Alternative gift papers - Many people like the look of using wrapping paper that is homemade. These can be done in brown craft paper (plain or rubber stamped with designs), using the comics as wrapping paper, origami papers for small gifts, wallpaper scraps, old scarves, or even pieces of fabric. Cording - Metallic cording is a simple but elegant touch on a package. In addition it can be reused easily later on another gift. Collect several colors.
Paper Sleeves - Interesting effects can be made by using wrapping paper strips as ribbons for gifts. Use one or two layers, and tape or glue them in place. These can also be nice for mailed gifts since this is a ribbon that won't get crushed.
Curling Ribbon - This inexpensive narrow ribbon can be curled with the blade of a knife or scissors. It can be somewhat fussy to use, but is colorful and fun for kids gifts. Gather three or four strands of assorted colors and use them together as if they were a single strand. Tie in a knot, leaving about about 12" of end to curl.
Sewing Notions - Martha Stewart is fond of using seam binding as ribbon. Purchase it on her website, or simply go to your local fabric store if you like this look. Browse other sewing notion trims -- rick rack, satin binding, tape, cording -- any of these might be used as ribbon.