Table of Contents
- Gift Wrapping 101: How to Wrap a Box with Invisible Seams
- Packing your box, and a word about tissue paper:
- How to wrap a box with paper:
- How to wrap a gift in just 15 seconds:
- The 15-second hack that’s changed the way we wrap presents
- How to wrap a gift with fabric:
- This paper-free wrapping hack is adorable AND eco friendly
- How to tackle those awkward-to-wrap gifts:
- How make easy DIY gift bags
- Living Well: How to Wrap a Present – 4 Secrets
- HOW TO WRAP A PRESENT: 4 SECRETS
- What You’ll Need:
- Rectangular Boxes: The Three Pieces of Tape
- Square Boxes: The Mathematical Ideal
- Cylinders: The Roll-Up
- Awkward Shapes: The Easy Way
- How to Perfectly Wrap a Present
- 10 steps to perfectly wrap a present:
- How to Wrap a Box With a Lid
- Step 1. Cut out your paper squares.
- Step 2. Fold the paper squares in half.
- Step 3. Fold your paper into a diamond.
- Step 4. Make the paper creases.
- Step 5. Turn your paper square into a rectangle.
- Step 6. Create an L with your paper.
- Step 7. Unfold the edges.
- Step 8. Finish your box!
- This Japanese Gift Wrapping Technique is Brilliant
- How to Wrap a Gift
- How to Wrap a Present With Mathematical Precision
- 1. Recycled Magazine Bow
- 2. Washi Tape Gift Wrap
- 3. Homemade Gift Bag
- 4. Origami Box
- 5. Painted Gift Wrap
Gift Wrapping 101: How to Wrap a Box with Invisible Seams
I might have mentioned this once or several dozen times over the past few weeks of working our holiday pop-up, but I used to gift wrap as my job. I started out at a fancy menswear store, eventually graduating to an art gallery/home furnishings store—both of which were excruciatingly fun experiences. (Please hold autograph requests until the end of this post.)
Photo by Linda Xiao
But what did I learn besides how to tie a fluffy bow of ribbon?
How to wrap a box with paper—and more specifically, how to gift wrap as seamlessly as possible. It’s all about creasing the paper over the edge then flipping it under to create an invisible seam. True, it doesn’t make for a completely seamless present, but there are barely any to speak of and it’s a reliable way to make a tidy package.
These tidy triangle seams are all you’ll see on the box. Photo by Linda Xiao
Packing your box, and a word about tissue paper:
Unless you’re packing up a fragile item and need lots of packing fluff (in which case it’s prettier and safer to grab a dozen pieces of tissue rather than one or two scraggly ones, then crunch them up), it’s nice to lay down a clean layer of tissue paper inside the box for wrapping your gift before boxing.
Tissue paper, doubled over at its middle, to wrap up the gift inside the box. Photo by Linda Xiao
To make it fit without too much crunching, just take a few pieces of tissue, double them over at their middle until the height of the papers matches that of your box, then press them down into the base of the bottom half of the box. Insert gift, then fold the two ends over top before boxing.
From Our Shop
Printed Gift Holiday Ribbon $20
How to wrap a box with paper:
Make the first seam on a long side of the box.
Unfurl some paper from the roll, set your box near the roll itself, then flop the loose end of the paper back over the box. Keep unrolling paper and scooching the box near to the roll until there’s enough paper to cover the package. Cut the paper off by the roll once you have enough (as shown below), then simply grab the end you just cut and swivel it (and the box atop it) so its in front of you.
Ready to wrap?
Wrap the paper around the box, allowing extra just in case, then cut it off the roll.
To make the first seamless edge, follow the 4 steps below. Instead of simply taping down one end of the paper then taping down the other on top of it, you’ll crease and then fold the top piece, creating a neat edge of paper that lines up with the edge of the box so you can barely see it at all.
Photo by Linda Xiao
1. Pull the end of the paper that’s jutting out from under the box so there’s enough of it to cover that whole vertical side. Tape it to the top of the box to cover with a single piece of tape (above, left).
2. Pull the other end of the paper towards you and over that same edge you just covered, tautly (above, right).
Photo by Linda Xiao
3. When you’ve pulled that end taut, crease it along the edge you covered with the other paper (above, left).
4. Now, pick it back up, fold it along that crease you created, then lay it down again so the neat, folded edge of the paper lines up with the edge of the box (above, right). Voilà, seamless! Here it is in motion:
Photo by Linda Xiao
Tape to secure—either by adding double sided tape underneath the edge or by simply taping over the edge the way you always have.
Photo by Linda Xiao
Go have a sip of water. Your box will be there when you get back.
Fold up an end.
Swivel the box so one of its ends with the paper overhang is facing you. Is the paper that’s jutting out longer than the width of the end you’re covering? If yes, trim it down a bit. If it’s shorter, don’t bother trimming it at all; just proceed.
Rather than crushing this tube of paper down from the top like you are feeling inclined to, press in the tube at its sides, creasing it along the vertical edges of the box (below, left). Moving out from that crease, press the two resulting folds into triangles—one against your work surface and one in the air (below, right).
Photo by Linda Xiao
All together now:
Photo by Linda Xiao
Repeat with the other vertical edge on this side of the box, pressing the paper in along it, creasing a triangle of paper against your surface and another in the air. You’ll end up with a top and a bottom flap that are both shaped like triangles.
Fold the top triangle down first, crease it along the top edge of the box, then trim any excess from the point of the triangle if it hangs past the bottom edge of the box. Don’t bother securing this part with tape.
Now, create a seamless edge just as before, using the bottom triangle flap: Fold it up and over the edge, crease it along that edge, lift it up and fold along that crease you just made (and cutting away any excess), then tape the newly clean edge along the edge of the box. Tape to secure.
Photo by Linda Xiao
Repeat on the other end of the box.
All in all, you should have only used 4 pieces of tape, and the only visible seams will be neat little triangles at each corner. Crease any edges that didn’t get creased before for an extra-crisp gift, do a little bit of ribbon magic, then gift it to someone who appreciates how hard you worked on the wrap.
Photo by Linda Xiao
I know this feels tedious, but the best way to get good at it is to do it over and over. Eventually, your hands will remember the motions and you’ll be wrapping faster than you ever did before—which is the goal, after all: to get part out of the way so you can rip them open sooner.
Final step? Add a ribbon!
Are you in a cold sweat attempting to wrap a mountain of gifts before Christmas? For the quickest and easiest ways to wrap a gift, turn to the Japanese art of origami and furoshiki — and use fewer supplies to boot! We love these three methods that are faster, easier and even eco-friendly.
How to wrap a gift in just 15 seconds:
The 15-second hack that’s changed the way we wrap presents
Dec. 16, 201601:00
We were inspired by an expert gift wrapper at the Takashimaya Department Store in Japan who had us — and millions of others — mesmerized with this speed-wrapping technique.
When we usually wrap gifts, we center it on the paper but this technique turns tradition on its head by starting on a diagonal edge of your gift wrap.
If you didn’t catch the method, we have you covered. The prep takes a few extra seconds, but it’s pretty easy. Ready to try it? There’s no time like the present!
What you’ll need:
- Gift wrap
- Scotch tape
What you’ll do:
1. Cut wrapping paper so you’re able to wrap the gift with a 2-inch overhang. Paper should cover both sides of the package’s height.
2. Position the narrow side of your box diagonally across the sheet of wrapping paper.
3. Lift the edge of your paper to meet the upper corner of the gift.
4. This creates a triangle. Crease section onto gift and pull corner upward, flush onto the box’s edge.
5. A new edge is created. Once again push paper onto gift and pull corner up once more.
6. Flip present over and tape edge.
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7. Two new edges are created on the narrowest side of your box. Fold the triangle of paper down like the top of an envelope. Tape to secure.
How to wrap a gift with fabric:
This paper-free wrapping hack is adorable AND eco friendly
Dec. 21, 201700:56
Gorgeous, eco-friendly gift wrap is just seconds away. We love the simplicity and sustainability of this wrapping technique called furoshiki. Grab some pretty fabric scraps, napkins or even a dish towel; just make sure the fabric is relatively thin. Remember: It doesn’t have to be perfect! There’s so much charm in the rustic nature of this wrapping technique.
What you’ll need:
- Napkins, towels or thin fabric scraps
- Optional: ribbon, twine or twigs to decorate
What you’ll do:
1. Place your gift in the center of a thin dish towel, napkin or fabric scrap. This works best with square and rectangular cuts.
2. Fold towel around the box in one direction.
3. Fold the towel around the box in the opposite direction. You’ll want to create a clean seam on the edge of your box, so tuck the fabric in to create a straight edge.
Create a clean seam by tucking the fabric.Anna De Souza
4. Tuck the edges in and fold the fabric, resting it on top of the box. Repeat on the other side.
Just have fun, it doesn’t have to be perfect!Anna De Souza
5. Tie a double knot.
6. Be creative and accessorize with twine, twigs or ribbon.
How to tackle those awkward-to-wrap gifts:
How make easy DIY gift bags
Dec. 21, 201701:06
You’re humming right along wrapping books and boxes … but then you stop dead in your tracks when faced with an oddly-shaped gift. Footballs, children’s toys and even wine can be puzzling. Fret not! It’s so easy to make a custom gift bag with any wrapping paper you have lying around.
What you’ll need:
- Gift wrap
- Optional: ribbon, small ornaments, etc.
What you’ll do:
1. Cut enough gift wrap to cover the item, then add an extra inch.
2. Fold the paper in half and fold the other side so it overlaps by a half inch. Tape the edge down.
3. Fold the bottom edge up, make sure the width is enough to compensate for the width of the item you’ll be placing inside the bag.
Origami to the holiday rescue!Anna De Souza
4. Flatten the corners to make two triangles.
5. Next, fold the opposite edges to the middle and secure with tape.
This will create the base of your bag. Need it to be a bit sturdier? Just pop in a piece of cardboard!Anna De Souza
6. Fluff your bag open and place your gift inside.
7. Close the bag and decorate with string, ribbons or ornaments.
How’s that for a bag of tricks? Do you have any gift-wrapping tricks? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Living Well: How to Wrap a Present – 4 Secrets
We covered tying bows last week, now let’s talk about wrapping the presents themselves. I get a little giddy thinking about all of the combinations of paper and ribbon bows. So much prettiness this time of year!
It’s an assumption that every person in the world knows how to wrap and present and crease the wrapping paper just so, but I’ve been surprised on several occasions to hear friends confess they never actually learned, and that they buy gifts based on shop gift wrapping services or accessibility to gift bags. : )
HOW TO WRAP A PRESENT: 4 SECRETS
In case you are in the same boat, or in need of a little refresher, I’m here to help. And I have a few secrets to make wrapping more enjoyable.
But before we get to the wrapping part, let’s talk about paper for a second. I prefer to use a sturdier, thicker paper because it creases nicely and is less prone to tearing, and just looks nicer. Sturdier paper also comes in handy if you are wrapping something that is oddly sized. Which brings me to Secret #1: Whenever possible, find a box to fit your gift. Everyone loves the crisp look of a wrapped box! You’ll find inexpensive white gift boxes can in the wrapping paper section of stores.
On to the wrapping! Let’s begin with measuring the paper.
An important first step, after choosing a great paper, is to measure it correctly for the size of your present — top and bottom, side to side. Lay the box down on the paper and pull the paper up a little more than halfway up on the end of the box.
An easy way to measure the paper for the width of the box is to lay it down on one edge of the paper and “roll” it on all four sides across the width of the paper. After the fourth roll, leave a generous 3/4″ to 1 1/2″overhang.
Once you’ve made your measurements, go ahead and cut the wrapping paper all the way across the roll. Secret #2: If your scissors are sharp enough, you should be able to hold the scissors partway open and run them quickly across the paper for a clean cut. (And if your paper comes printed with a grid on the underside, you can use it as a guide!)
Next, trim off the ends. You don’t want the ends, which will be folded in, to be too long. It’s much easier to trim any excess now than when the present is halfway wrapped and taped.
Place the package with top side down so the seam will be on the bottom. Center the box and bring one side of the paper up.
Secure with tape in the center.
Fold the edge of the other side down just a bit and crease well. If your edge is a little uneven, folding will correct it. And even if it’s a nice straight cut, folding over the edge will fortify that edge making it less likely to develop rips. In either case, you’ll end up with a neatly folded edge facing outward.
Fold the second side up to the center, pulling gently so it’s taut, but not too tight.
Secure again with tape. Secret #3: Magic tape or Transparent tape? Totally up to you! I like to use transparent tape most of the time because it seems less conspicuous to me.
Once the sides have been folded, it’s time for the ends.
There are two main ways to fold the ends. I’m going to demonstrate both. The first one is good for bigger, taller boxes, such as perfectly square boxes, or the one that is shown in these pictures.
Holding the seam towards you, fold both ends in towards the center, the top and bottom flaps become triangular.
As you bring the edges to the center, be sure fold them flush against the box and crease well so they will lie flat once they are folded down and taped.
The first flap folded down should always be the seam flap. Secure it with a piece of tape to hold it firmly in place.
Flip the box around and repeat with the other (seamless) flap.
Fold down about 1/4″ of the flap to make a nicer edge.
Fold it down and secure with tape. Then repeat this process on the other end of the package.
Finished. And gorgeous!
Now I will show the second way, which is better for flatter, rectangular boxes, such as clothing boxes — similar to the one pictured.
Just as before, measure the wrapping paper, leaving some overhang on the sides and bringing the paper up a little more than halfway on the ends.
Fold the first side over and secure with tape.
Again, on the remaining side, fold over some of the paper for a nicer, finished edge.
Secret #4: This time, I used double-sided tape on the underside of the paper before I folded it over. The tape becomes invisible, and the finished present looks extra pretty.
Fold over and press to secure.
Now for the ends. Place the box face down on the table with the seam facing up. This time fold the paper down first, flat against the end of the box.
There will be triangular “wings” on the sides. Crease the edges well.
Next bring the wings towards the center and crease well.
Fold the edge of the seamless flap up about 1/4″ as before, for a nicer finished edge.
If you use the double-sided tape, place a few strips on the on the folded flap and fold it up.
Now all this present needs is a bow!
If you really want to go the extra mile with your presents, you can adjust the paper seams so they fall in the center and can be completely hidden by the ribbon. This is the ultimate way to perfectly wrap a present and takes a little practice and fidgeting to get it just right. But I’m sure the holidays will provide you plenty of opportunities to practice! : )
P.S. — Want to know all the Secrets to Living Well? Find them here.
Text and images by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.
Your holiday shopping might be done, but now you’re faced with a pile of gifts to wrap. (The average American spends three hours wrapping each year, according to Consumer Reports, and collectively, we spend $3.2 billion on wrapping paper, according to Hallmark.) Instead of paying to have online purchases wrapped or waiting to have it done in-store, follow our tips to speed up the wrapping process and save paper.
Beautiful wrapping is like the cherry on top of a great gift—it’s that simple finishing touch that makes it all the sweeter. So there’s nothing more frustrating than a wrapping job gone wrong. Luckily, mathematicians have figured out how to wrap gifts quickly and efficiently every time. Here are four techniques that work for gifts of all shapes and sizes.
What You’ll Need:
- Wrapping paper
- Gift bags
- A ruler
- Bows, ribbons and gift tags, and
- A large, flat working surface
Rectangular Boxes: The Three Pieces of Tape
Always start by putting your gift in a box to make it easier to wrap. This method works for almost any rectangular box: clothing boxes, shoeboxes, jewelry boxes, tie boxes, you name it.
And it’s easy—just measure with your box to cut a perfectly sized rectangle of wrapping paper.
STEP 1: MEASURE
Always use the box’s largest face as your base, so the width is the longest side, the depth is the medium side and the height is the shortest side.
Measure the box against the width of your wrapping paper—two depths and two heights—by rolling the box end over end. If it doesn’t fit, turn the wrapping paper and measure the other way, against the length. This gives you one side of the rectangle. Add about an inch for overlap and mark the spot with a little crease.
2 heights + 2 depths + 1 inch overlap = side one
The other side of the rectangle should measure one width of the box, plus two heights, plus a half-inch of wiggle room. Mark this with another little crease.
1 width + 2 heights + ½ inch overlap = side two
STEP 2: CUT
Using the creases as guides, cut out your rectangle.
Place the box upside down in the middle of the rectangle so the wrapping paper seam will be on the bottom of the finished package.
STEP 3: WRAP
Wrap the paper around the box and secure with one piece of tape. Fold in the sides and secure each with one piece of tape—for a total of three pieces of tape. Add as many ribbons, bows and gift tags as you like.
Square Boxes: The Mathematical Ideal
If you have a square box, this wrapping hack—developed by mathematician Sara Santos—is the way to go. You’ll need a ruler, but it will help you get a perfect finish every time.
This time, you’ll be cutting a square piece of paper. To figure out how long each side of the square should be, start by measuring the diagonal of one of the square faces of your box. Remember that number.
Next, measure the height of the box (the non-square dimension) and multiply by 1.5. Add this number to your diagonal measurement. This sum is how long each side of your square piece of paper should be.
Our box measured 5 inches diagonally and was 2 inches tall. 2 times 1.5 is 3, so we added 5 and 3 for a paper measurement of 8 inches.
1 diagonal + (1.5 x height) = length of each side of the paper
Cut the paper and lightly fold it in half both ways to give yourself guidelines.
Set the box on an angle in the middle of the paper, with its corners lined up with the folded guidelines. It should be resting upside down on one of its square faces.
Wrap the paper onto the box one corner at a time. The first few times, you can use two pieces of tape. With practice, you might even be able to do it with one.
Cylinders: The Roll-Up
This gift-wrapping hack is for cylinders that are taller than they are wide. Think bottles of wine, scented candles or tall jars of homemade treats. Mathematician Warwick Davis calls this a “rotational method.” In plain English, you roll up the item in the paper.
Place the item on its side on the paper, parallel to the roll of paper. Roll the bottle or jar up to check that you’ll have enough paper to wrap around it completely. You should also double-check that there’s enough at the ends to cover the item.
STEP 2: CUT AND WRAP
Cut the paper, roll up the bottle and tape to secure. You can either fold in the ends of the paper or tie them off with ribbon so the package looks like a wrapped candy.
Awkward Shapes: The Easy Way
If you’ve made it through all the other gift-wrapping methods, you’re ready for this advanced technique. This is for objects with weird shapes, like toys in plastic packages or sports equipment.
STEP 1: PLACE
Mathematicians agree that to limit wasted paper, you should just put these items in a gift bag! Add a ribbon and a gift tag, and that’s a wrap.
Happy wrapping, and happy holidays from GEICO More!
Next article: How to Prevent Common Holiday Hazards
How to Perfectly Wrap a Present
If you love design, you might agree with me when I say that wrapping presents is something of an art form — the perfect temporary canvas on which to play with whatever colors, shapes and textures happen to be inspiring you at that particular moment. The kicker? There’s something of a science to this art, and in the words of Pablo Picasso, “You have to learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” So, before you go off buying every wrapping paper and ribbon in the store, let’s go back to basics, shall we? Scroll down for the step-by-step guide to wrapping a present perfectly.
photography by Molly Culver
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When it comes to gift wrapping, having a large flat workspace is super helpful. The work table in our new craft room makes it easy to gather all our supplies, and still have plenty of room to unroll a large roll of wrapping paper.
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The single most important factor in neatly wrapping a present is starting with a correctly sized cut piece of wrapping paper. This is the hardest part to do (and the hardest part to explain!) so read carefully.
10 steps to perfectly wrap a present:
1. Unroll your wrapping paper face-down, and place your gift on top of it. If your gift is a rectangle, align the longer sides of the box to be parallel to the end of the roll. Fold the end of the paper up and over the gift until it fully wraps the box. Mark where the end meets the wrapping paper, and add on 1 inch. This indicates the width of your paper.
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2. Cut along the mark from bottom to top. We love using Sugar Paper wrapping paper from Target because it has a grid on the back.
You should now have a piece of wrapping paper that is wide enough to wrap entirely across your gift, but is too long.
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3. Make sure the box is still in place. Then, fold the top edge of the wrapping paper up to measure just over halfway up the side of the box. For example, if your box is 6 inches tall, you want the paper to measure around 3.5 inches. Do the same for the bottom edge of the box, and cut.
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4. You should now have a piece of wrapping paper that’s perfectly sized to wrapping your gift box. From left to right, the paper should wrap all the way across the box. From top to bottom, the paper should come halfway up the sides of the box.
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5. Wrap the left and right sides of the paper up and over the box to meet in the middle. Pull the paper taught, and secure in place with tape.
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6. On the top open end, crease the paper over the corner as pictured and fold over. Tape this down onto the box for good measure.
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7. Again, crease the paper as pictured.
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8. Fold the two creased ends in as pictured. Fold the bottom flap up and crease firmly, then tape in place.
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9. Repeat on the opposite end. Then take a step back to marvel at your picture perfect gift wrapping job!
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10. Add the ribbon or bow of your choosing.
A tutorial to learn how to wrap a box with a lid to be able to use it over and over – and make your wrapping easier and go faster every year after.
Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them and purchase I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
One of my favorite things I stumbled upon developed to help make the holidays simpler is this easy gift wrapping system. I love, love how I can wrap all our family’s gifts in about 30 minutes – and that I’m saving money and helping the environment a bit, too.
A key part of this system is wrapping sturdy boxes and the lids that come with them each separately so that they can be opened without tearing the paper and then can be reused from year to year.
While the finished box looks complicated – and my kids always thought was special – it’s really fairly simple to do. It did take me a few tries to figure it out the first time I wrapped a box, though, so I thought a tutorial was called for so you can use this technique to make your wrapping easier, too. (Affiliate links are included below for your convenience.)
How to Wrap a Box With a Lid
Materials you’ll need:
- A box that is very sturdy and has a lid. I prefer the boxes where the lids only go halfway down the side of the box, as I’ve found the lids that go all the way to the bottom of the inner box are harder to wrap and they tend to cause the paper to rip when being used. So those cheap shirt boxes are really not the best ones for this- look for thicker boxes that will last for years.
- Thick, beautiful wrapping paper. Choose what you love and/or that coordinates with your holiday. You’ll be seeing if for a long time, so this is the time to splurge on the expensive paper (or find it at the after-Christmas sales). Here are some Christmas-themed options and here are more generic options.
- Invisible gift wrapping tape
Directions To Wrap A Box
Step 1: Lay the lid on the paper and cut the paper. It should cover the long sides with about an inch extra to fold over the top. Leave the short ends long enough to fold up and over the sides with a slightly longer overhang, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches (in this example it’s about 3-4 inches total).
Note: This example is actually a square box, making all the sides even, but the idea is the same with any size box- two sides are just folded over, the other two that make up the ends need to be longer because they are folded twice.
Step 2: Fold the long sides up and over the lid. Use a piece of tape to attach the paper to the inside edge of the lid as pictured and repeat on the other side (just one piece now to hold in place).
Step 3: Take the end sections and fold just like wrapping a regular box: 1. Bring the edges in and fold as pictured. 2. Make creases and fold the edges that stick up over the box as shown.
Step 4: Tape the first folds to the inside lip of the lid. Where the side and end papers meet in the corners is the only tricky part, but just tuck and fold until flattened and then place a piece of tape to hold. Continue to fold and wrap the end just like a regular box, but take extra time folding and creasing, since you want this to look nice for years to come.
Step 5: When finished folding the end, wrap it over the lid edge and secure it with tape.
Step 6: Repeat with the other end.
Step 7: Go back over the lid and fully tape all un-taped edges. This makes the wrapping job last longer through many years of kids ripping the lids off on Christmas morning.
Step 8: Repeat all the steps with the bottom of the box.
That’s how to wrap a box- pretty simple, huh?
However, if you’re thinking you couldn’t do a “perfect job” of this, here’s my full reveal:
This is the obviously imperfect edge on the inside of the bottom of the box.
I’m here to tell you that on Christmas morning, NO ONE cares about this, so I don’t either. I’m just happy to get them covered and cannot be bothered with making all the edges even!
See? It looks great from the outside, and that’s what matters (well, only for boxes- it’s just the opposite with people, isn’t it?)
So go forth and wrap a box…permanently and with confidence!
PS – Go here to see how I use this for my get-it-done-quick (and cheaply) holiday gift wrapping system that’s also great for the environment.
This article is part of the 8 Weeks of Christmas Ideas series where you’ll find resources for cooking, gift ideas, time savers, recipes, traditions & more all November and December through the 24th.
Disclosure: affiliate links in this article will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn’t change your price. to read my full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.
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Are you ready to elevate your gift giving with wallpaper that is as thoughtful as the gift inside. Spoonflower’s Smooth Wallpaper offers a slight satin finish and can be ordered in one foot increments. The best part? You can apply any Marketplace design (or your own) to go with any theme or holiday décor. You can even create your own personalized wallpaper!
If you’re short on boxes for your smaller gifts, you can still use your favorite designs on a $5 Smooth wallpaper swatch with a handmade paper box. Follow the instructions below to see how we’re ditching the tape this gift wrapping season.
Shop the featured designs
- 1 24″ x 12″ wallpaper swatch
- Featured designs
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
Step 1. Cut out your paper squares.
To make our box we’ll need two square pieces of paper. To make sure the top fits nicely over the bottom, your bottom piece needs to be at least 1/2″ smaller than the top piece.
If your paper isn’t square, use a ruler to measure out a square, mark with a pencil and cut with scissors or an X-Acto knife. Your box can be any size you’d like, but for this tutorial we’re using paper that is 12″ for the top and 11.5″ for the bottom which will give us a finished box measuring 4″.
Step 2. Fold the paper squares in half.
Starting with one of your square pieces fold it in half vertically pressing down the fold to crease it well. Unfold and lay flat. Now fold your paper horizontally also being sure to crease it well. Once both folds are done unfold the paper again and lay it flat. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Pro Tip: Use your nails or a credit card to push down along the folds and make extra crisp creases.
Step 3. Fold your paper into a diamond.
Starting with one corner, fold it up to the new creases in the center so it makes a small triangle and crease that edge well. Repeat this process in the remaining three corners. In the end our paper should look like a smaller diamond. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Step 4. Make the paper creases.
Rotate the diamond 45° so it’s a square, and fold the top edge down to the center where all the corners meet and crease. Then fold the bottom edge up to meet it in the middle, crease it well and unfold both the top and bottom so we’re back to our smaller square. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Step 5. Turn your paper square into a rectangle.
Next unfold the top triangle shape up so it lays flat and repeat with the bottom triangle. Now fold in both the left and right edges to the middle and crease well. Our piece should look like a tall rectangle with triangles at the top and bottom. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Step 6. Create an L with your paper.
Now we’re ready to start forming our box! There will be a few creases running horizontally across the folded paper, but we want to stand the top triangle up at the third crease from the top so it makes an L shape. Fold it flat at the third crease and press well to get a better edge. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Pro tip: If you feel like you’re a few creases short, double check that you rotated your paper 45º in step 4.
Step 7. Unfold the edges.
Now lift and partially unfold the far edge up so it forms a corner with the first piece we stood up. Repeat this process on the opposite long edge so you have two corners of the box made. Repeat for the second piece of paper.
Pro tip: Depending on which direction pieces were folded try re-creasing them to get a better end shape.
Step 8. Finish your box!
To finish your box, fold one top triangle flap down into the box so it lays flat against the side and the bottom. Repeat this process on the last side and the box top.
Bonus paper project! See how to make a Danish Christmas star with Spoonflower designer Lilyoake.
Wrap your presents with care!
Shop these designs to make your presents pop.
This Japanese Gift Wrapping Technique is Brilliant
You may have seen this super speedy gift-wrapping technique on social media lately—and we can totally see why it’s trending! This folding method comes from a Japanese style of gift wrapping and, we have to admit, it’s way faster than the traditional gift-wrap method we normally use. The technique uses a pull-and-fold method on each side of the gift, which means that once you’ve mastered one move, you can wrap the entire gift in seconds. If you’re used to wrapping presents the old-fashioned way, this method does take some getting used to—but we promise it’s totally worth it. Plus, it works with any kind of wrapping paper, such as this DIY dip-dyed gift wrap. Impress your friends with this fast and easy hack, or show off your skills at a gift-wrapping party.
How to Wrap a Gift
- Gift wrap
Follow these simple how-to instructions to perfectly wrap a gift. It’s so easy, you can wrap a package in under 30 seconds!
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Step 1: Secure and Fold
The best part about the Japanese gift-wrap technique is that you don’t have to worry about measuring your paper perfectly to avoid extra folds showing. We started with a piece of paper that measures about four times the size of our gift, and it was just the right size. Since this technique involves folding all excess paper under the visible seams, if you start with an extra large piece of paper, your gift is likely to look lopsided at the end.
To begin the wrapping process, position your gift box so there is enough room for the top right corner of the paper to form a diagonal across the top of the package. Fold the paper so the corner of the gift wrap meets the corner of the box, then hold the paper in place with your left hand. There will be a natural fold in the top right side of the paper; pull this side out with your right hand and press down so the crease forms a line perpendicular to the top right vertical corner of the box. Then use your right hand to pull that corner up and over the box, allowing the excess paper to fold and crease under the flap. This pulling and folding technique is how you’ll cover all four sides of your package.
Related: Our Favorite Gifts Under $25
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Step 2: Pull and Fold
After you’ve made the first fold, use your right hand to hold the paper in place on top of the box. You don’t need to tape down the folds as you go, like you would with the traditional wrapping method—another plus! Instead, you’ll just hold the previous fold in place as you create the next fold until the box is completely wrapped. While your right hand holds the previous fold down, use your left hand to pull and crease the wrapping paper up and over the next side of the box the same way you did with the first fold.
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Step 3: Continue Folding
Pull your second fold over the top of the box and hold it in place with your right hand. Don’t worry if it hangs over the edge of the box top, you can attach the leftover paper at the very end! Use the same pull-and-fold technique to complete the final fold. On the last step, make sure all of the extra paper gets folded up under the main fold, so none remains visible.
Related: Last-Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Get on Amazon
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Step 4: Finish and Secure
Finish wrapping the gift by pulling the final fold over the final side of the package—this is where you’ll tape and secure the entire wrapped gift. You can keep the fold flat against both sides of the box (like the previous folds), or you can add creases on both sides to form a triangle shape. Add a piece of double-sided tape to the underside of the triangle, or use a piece of regular clear tape to secure the fold. Add a ribbon and a pretty DIY gift topper and your gift is ready to give!
Related: Learn How to Wrap a Gift with Fabric
You may have already finished your holiday gift buying, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. A gift isn’t ready to be presented until it is properly wrapped, and don’t think you can get away with a sloppy job. If you care enough about someone to buy them a gift, it had better be wrapped nicely.
Here’s the WIRED guide to wrapping most rectangular boxes. If your present isn’t a rectangular box, find one to put it in (it’ll make your life a lot easier). Or if your gift is small, find a decorative gift bag and some colored tissue paper (to hide the present from snoopers). If you do have a box for your present, here’s what you’ll need:
• Your present
• Gift wrap
• A ruler
• A pencil
• Double-sided tape
• Optional ribbon or gift tag
Make Some Measurements
Find a large flat surface and unravel your wrapping paper. Place your box on the wrapping paper with the side that has the largest area face-down. To check to see if you have enough paper, roll your box and make sure that the paper is longer than the total of each side of the box by two to three inches. You can use the ruler if the box is too heavy to roll, just total up four sides of the box and see if the paper is longer than that. The ruler may also come in handy as a straight edge for folding and cutting. Mark the gift wrap with your pencil so you know where to cut. Next, pull up the other edges of the paper to see if they can cover the box’s height. Once you are sure that the paper can cover all sides of the box and you have a few inches of wiggle room, cut the paper. Gift Stylist Corinna vanGerwen suggests pulling the wrapping paper while you cut for straighter lines. Nothing says “I wrapped this present in 5 seconds on Christmas Eve” like messy scissor work.
Using double-sided tape is an easy way to make your gift wrapping look professional. By hiding the tape from view, gifts look much cleaner. Center the box in the middle of the wrapping paper with the largest side face-down. Lift up one edge of the paper and make sure it can cover one of the vertical sides of the box. If your box is rectangular, and not a cube, this side should be one of the longer sides, and not the smaller end. Lift up the edge of the paper and wrap it around the side so that a few centimeters of extra paper makes it onto the top of the box. Then tape the paper down.
Next, bring the opposite side of the paper over and around the box until it meets the corner you just covered. Mark the paper where it meets the edge of the box, then fold the paper. The trick is to get the end with the folded paper to line up perfectly with the corner of the box you previously covered. By lining up the edge of the paper with the edge of the box, you hide your creases, and your wrapping job will look super professional.
Cover the Ends
At this point, your gift should be in a perfect rectangular tube; now its time to cover the ends. Pick an end of the box and tuck the wrapping paper towards the middle of the uncovered side. Put some pressure on the top of the box so it doesn’t slide, then make a crease. Repeat with the other side of wrapping paper. By now, you should have covered the corners of the box and have a flap of wrapping paper at the top and bottom of the present. Pick a flap and fold it down. If your flap is longer than the height of the box, you will want to trim off a bit of it before you tape it down. Next pull the other flap and fold it over the flap you just taped. If this flap is to long, fold the tip so that the crease lines up perfectly with the edge of the box (just like you did with the sides). If you use thick wrapping paper and the edges wont stay down, try using a little bit of glue. When the end of the box is wrapped up and looks like an envelop, repeat the folding process for the other end of the box.
No more sides of your present should be visible. Use your thumb and pointer finger to pinch the edges of the box to create sharp corners. Then add your ribbon or gift tag. Your gift should be presentable to your loved ones or look good under a Christmas tree. If you’d like a visual demonstration on how to wrap other shapes, watch Corinna vanGerwen’s gift wrapping video. For more general tips, check out her blog.
How to Wrap a Present With Mathematical Precision
It’s not hard to wrap a box if you don’t care how much wrapping paper or tape you use, but what if you care about efficiency? What if your aim is to use only what you need?
Mathematician Sara Santos, who specializes in finding entertaining ways to popularize math, worked out the formula for a wrap that uses paper and tape most efficiently. If you have a three dimensional box you can solve for the dimensions of the two dimensional square of paper that makes for the best wrap.
For a square box, it works out to be the diagonal added to one and a half times the height of the box. This video by Aimee Daniells offers a beautiful demonstration:
For a rectangular box, things get more complicated. You can still figure it out by solving for the following:
Not only does the power of math let you optimize for paper and tape usage, it also lets you prettily match up the pattern on the wrapping paper where the edges meet. Check out the magic at the 3 minute mark on this video from BBC’s The One Show:
Now get out your rulers, spreadsheets, and calculators, and get to work on your most satisfyingly exact giftwrapping season ever!
This year, splurge on the gift, not the gift wrap.
Not everyone can have their own gift wrapping room, equipped with the finest, high-quality ribbons and bows — no matter how much we dream about it.
When the holidays roll around, shopping for everyone on our list alone can be a stressful mess, let alone having to remember buying all that wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, tags and tape.
Luckily, improvising (or even a little creativity) can be a lot more rewarding than hitting up the dollar store for some cheap wrapping.
This year, your gifts will be so gorgeous, your friends and family won’t even want to unwrap them.
1. Recycled Magazine Bow
Tear out a page that you think would make a great bow. Something colorful like a full page ad or a photo spread does nicely. We chose a full-page photo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler because a.) we love them, and b.) their faces would make a beautiful bow and we think they’d agree.
Cut 3/4 inch strips, lengthwise, from your page. You will need:
Three 11-inch strips (luckily, most magazines are 11 inches already)
Three 10-inch strips
Two 9-inch strips
One 3-and-1/2 inch strip
Make figure-eights out of your 11-inch, 10-inch and 9-inch strips. To do this, hold your strip, tuck the top-side around the back. Then, bring the bottom edge toward yourself, loop around and pin to the top (shown above in the photo).
Make a small circle out of your 3 and 1/2 inch strip.
Group together your 11-inch figure-eights into a star and tape together. Do the same with the 10-inch figure-eights. Then, tape together the 9-inch figure-eights. These are to be the layers of your bow.
Working from the bottom up (from largest measurements to smallest) tape your pieces together until your bow is complete, placing each piece inside the previous one. The circle goes directly in the center.
2. Washi Tape Gift Wrap
Brown postal wrap
Washi Tape (as many colors as you like)
Wrap your gift with your brown paper as normal.
Place your washi tape as you like. Start with one color, leaving room to adjust. You may need to cut your tape and create a neat shape the reaches around the back.
If you have another color of washi tape, place it on your gift, anywhere you like. You can keep it freestyle, or follow a neat, striped pattern, depending on whatever aesthetic you prefer.
3. Homemade Gift Bag
Image: Jhila Farzaneh/Mashable
Brown postal wrap
Cut a piece of your paper about twice the size you desire your bag to be. Fold it in half. Use your washi tape to secure the paper down the middle.
Fold the bottom of the bag up, about three to four inches.
Open one side of the bottom of the bag and flatten the corners, making triangle shapes.
Fold over the edges of the bottom of your bag, stopping at the center line.
Secure the center line of the bottom of your bag with washi tape.
Make four holes near the top of your bag. Pull your ribbon through the holes and tie large knots on the inside to secure.
4. Origami Box
Two pieces of origami or scrapbook paper
Measure and cut your paper to your desired size. You’ll need a sheet of paper for both the top and bottom of the box. The sheet of paper for the bottom of the box needs to be 1/2 inch smaller in dimension than the top. For example, if the dimensions of your sheet for the top of the box measures 10 inches by 10 inches, the dimensions for the bottom need to be 9 and 1/2 inches by 9 and 1/2 inches.
Place your paper pattern side down and fold in half. Then turn it 90 degrees and fold in half again. You should have four, equal quarters.
Next, fold your paper, corner to corner, to form a triangle. Turn it 90 degrees and do the same. You should have four, equal triangles on top of your equal quarters.
Fold each corner into the center of your paper square, meeting all corners in the middle.
Fold the bottom edge of your square to the center line. Repeat for the other side. You should now have a rectangle. Open it out, turn 90 degrees and repeat. Make creases and open it back to your square.
Lift up two opposite triangles and lay them flat.
Lift up the top flap of your triangle which is tucking in the side corners. This should force the sides of your box to pop up, forming 90 degree angles. Bring the top point of your flap over, tucking it into the interior of the box. You should have a nice square forming. Do the same for the other side.
Once your box is done, you might want to use a little tape on the inside to keep the little triangles on the interior from unfolding.
Do the same for the smaller piece of paper. Once you are done, it should fit easily into the larger piece.
5. Painted Gift Wrap
Brown postal wrap*
Paint (White, or a metallic color also works nicely)
A pencil with a new eraser
* You can buy a roll of brown postal wrap for between $4 and $6 that gives you at least twice (or even three times) the yardage that a roll of quality wrapping paper (which usually costs you anywhere between $5 and $20) will give you. The important thing is, when shopping for paper, think about the cost per yard you’re spending and how much you’re getting out of the price. Or, depending on how big your gift is, you can cut up some paper grocery bags for an even less expensive option.
Wrap your gift with your brown paper as normal.
Use a paper plate or any safe surface to pour your paint. Dip the end of your eraser into the paint.
Carefully dot your paper with your eraser, making a grid all over the gift. Do this for all sides. You will need to let the top side dry before painting the bottom.
Once it is completely dry, you can add bows and ribbons, if you wish.