Wrapping Ideas for the Fumble-Fingered Wrapper

by Anthony Garcia

Special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays means not only buying gifts, but also wrapping them. Whether you are in a masters degree online, a busy working professional, or a stay at home blogging parent, wrapping with paper can be a bit of a hassle sometimes, and expensive.

Sadly, it doesn’t matter how elegant the wrapping paper and no matter how much time I spend wrapping that special gift, it always seems to end up looking like a five-year-old wrapped it. My brother wrapped gifts beautifully, something he’d learned in working retail as a teen. However, even under patient coaching, my efforts never came out looking like his with neatly tucked ends and fancy folds.

Wrapping is just not something I do well. I have even been termed wrapping impaired, since it seems I have a physical inability to wrap a present. Over the years, I’ve developed other ways to wrap the gifts that do not include laying out a sheet of wrapping paper and subsequently destroying the look of my gift. If you are like me and cannot wrap a present to save your life, I have tried to take some of the stress out of your holiday by asking around. Luckily, there are some solutions for us to consider before the upcoming holidays.

Find a box the gift will fit into. Spray paint it a color to go with the occasion and use stickers to decorate the box. You can also use markers or paint for additional decoration or leave the outside a plain color. Place the gift inside and cushion it with small wrapped candy. Use colorful tape to close the box. These days, duct tape can be purchased in any number of bright colors. For a Christmas gift, paint the box green and secure with red tape. For Valentine’s Day, paint the box red and add white tape. Finish with a large sticky bow. This requires little precision, and seems much more fun than traditional wrapping, in my opinion. It is also unique.

One of the things that bugs me about traditional wrapping paper is that it’s pretty for about a minute, and then it is impossible to reuse- especially if I wrapped it. Fabric makes a fun gift wrap. Choose a fabric that goes with the gift-giving occasion. If you check clearance fabric, you can get a length of fabric for very little money and, if it is large enough, use it to wrap more than one gift. Measure the gift and add two inches to each side. Cut two pieces of fabric this size with pinking sheers. Turn right sides together. Create a seam ½ inch from the edges on three sides. If you sew, sew the three edges. If you are like me and do not sew, carefully staple a seam or use fabric glue and staples to secure the three sides to create a bag. Turn right-side-out. Iron flat. Add a strip of fabric interlocking tape to each side of the opening. Slip the gift inside and push the interlocking strips together. If that all seems too complex, you can also fold the fabric and tie it in a neat way. Add a sticky bow as a finishing touch.

Some resources suggest using craft paper or gift bags. You can also use whatever paper there is on hand that fits the size of the gift–copy or construction paper, like plain paper bags or butcher paper. Decorate the paper with stamp pads, paint, markers, crayons or stickers. It helps to cut a sheet four inches wider and six inches longer than the gift. Create a tube on the wide side, overlapping and taping the edges together. Flatten the tube and fold up one end two inches, then again and secure with tape. This allows for neat seams. Slip the gift inside. Fold up the open end and staple or tape. Circle with elastic ribbon.

Even though wrapping is a skill that I do not possess or seem able to acquire, I’m looking forward to trying these methods more this holiday season. Wrapping gifts doesn’t have to be about expensive wrapping paper. Instead, I have learned that I can use creativity and imagination to make the gift more unique and memorable. Furthermore, special coverings like the fabric idea can often be reused, making the wrapping a second gift. Children, who often find wrapping with regular paper beyond their skills, can help decorate gift wrapping to wrap their gifts on which they spend so much creative time.


About the Author: Anthony recently completed his graduate education in English Literature. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington. He writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture.