By Jolie Kerr
Presentation isn't everything — but it is something, and after you've gone to all the trouble of picking out the perfect gift for your girlfriend, mom, brother, or whoever, don't blow it by handing it over in a plastic shopping bag.
Gift Bags Are a Cop Out … But They Don't Have to Look That Way
Let's all acknowledge that gift bags are the easy way out when it comes to gift wrap. But you know what? Life is hard enough, let's all agree to take the easy way out vis-a-vis gift wrap, okay? Okay!
But just because we're taking the easy way out doesn't mean we have to be half-hearted about things, so let's also agree that we'll endeavor to make our gift bags as attractive as possible.Here's how: Before you put the gift inside the bag, you're going to create some drama by stuffing it with colored tissue paper that coordinates with or compliments the design of the bag. For medium-sized bags you'll need 2-3 pieces of tissue paper, that you'll pinch in the center to create a cone; place the pointed end in the bottom of the bag, so that the flared part of the paper peaks out of the top of the bag, jauntily. Nestle the gift in the bag, among the tissue, then tie the handles together using a piece of curling ribbon to finish it off.
Level Up with The Candy Wrapper Method
Even the least dexterous among us can manage the candy wrapper-style of gift wrap. All you'll need is tissue paper, tape, and ribbon. If the ribbon is the curling stuff, you'll also want a pair of scissors to make it actually curl.
The candy-wrapper method involves putting the gift in the center of a piece of tissue paper, rolling it up and securing the tissue with tape. Then, with your ribbon, you'll tie off each end of the tissue, making the gift look like a foil-wrapped piece of candy — hence the name "candy-wrapper."
Master the Art of Curling Ribbon
Curling ribbon is kind of like popping bubble wrap, in that once you start doing it you'll be all, "This is so weirdly satisfying, why can't I stop doing this?" It's also super easy and will make your gifts look as though they were wrapped by a pro.
Place one blade of a pair of scissors on the ribbon and, holding the blade with your thumb and the ribbon with your pointer finger, pull the blade down the length of the ribbon in a fluid motion. According to Scientific American (yes, really), "if you want to curl ribbons using a pair of scissors, researchers say the secret is to be firm but slow. Conventional wisdom supposes that a quick scrape of the blade makes for tight curls, but slowing things down seems to give the ribbon more time to adjust to its new, curly state."
The Trick to Making Wrapping Paper Work for You
There's actually a secret to taking the frustration out of using wrapping paper and here's what it is: Measure the paper before you cut it. You don’t even need to bust out a ruler for this! Start by placing the the gift down on the paper and flipping it on all four sides across the paper, leaving an overhang of 1"- 1½" on each side. Once you've got the right amount of paper, do your wrapping on a hard, flat surface like the kitchen table. It's also a good idea to place the box upside down in the center of the paper, so that the seams of the wrapping end up on the bottom. That way, when the recipient opens the gift, she'll see what it is instead of a barcode. And for pete's sake, don't forget to remove the price tag before you wrap the gift!