Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brown paper packages...

This week's Tuesday Talent is so flaky it really might have qualified for a Finicky Friday post, but I just had to share it, and if you read through to the end, you'll pick up a How To's-day tutorial, too!

Yesterday, I had my first full shift back at the giftwrap desk at Williams-Sonoma. In five hours, I wrapped more than two dozen packages (most of them pre-wraps in anticipation of sales later this week and next). I had a bit of a slow start (it actually takes a few packages to get back into the groove), but I averaged under ten minutes to wrap a gift from start to finish and was thrilled when, at the end of my shift, I noticed one package was wrapped in five minutes (no, we're no timed; I was just keeping an eye on the clock at that point in the day).

So anyhow, here are my professional tips on how to wrap a present.  Note, this is part one--wrapping the gift.  Part two--adding a ribbon bow--will be posted next week to avoid an insanely long post today!

Before you start wrapping, collect the following:

  • A box, if your gift is not already in one. Boxes are infinitely easier to wrap than oddly shaped items (though personally, I love the challenge!).
  • Wrapping paper. You want a nice, medium weight wrapping paper. The super-thick (read: expensive) stuff is sometimes tough to get sharp edges and smooth folds with. The thin (read: cheap) stuff will rip when you try to pull the paper tight.
  • Tape. I keep both double-sided and traditional scotch tape on hand.
  • Scissors. I keep two pair on hand--one to cut paper and one to cut ribbon. Trying to cut fabric ribbon with scissors used mostly to cut paper will frustrate you and destroy the ribbon.
  • Ribbon. I love a two-inch grosgrain, because it makes beautiful simple bows. If you're going to make a fancy bow, use a wired ribbon. By all means, feel free to use curling ribbon if you like a pile of curly ribbon on the top of your package (and use the paper-cutting scissors for that one).
Now, on to the wrapping part of this tutorial:

Unroll enough paper to wrap all the way around your box, plus a couple inches. You might measure the circumfrence of your box and roll out that much paper, then cut it off to be sure you've got the right amount. Also, measure the width plus the height of the box (shown as the red line in the graphic below), and add a couple of inches to get the width of your paper. Cut (using the paper-cutting scissors!) so that your paper is the right size.
Set your package in the center of the paper, top side of the package facing down and top of the package facing away from you. (The paper that comes with a grid on the back makes this easy, but you don't need a grid. Just eyeball it!)

Pull the edge of the paper closest to you up and onto the back of the package. Secure with tape (I use the regular tape for this step. Then, reach across to the opposite edge and pull that paper up to meet the taped edge. It should overlap by a couple inches. Before you secure it, fold the edge over so it makes a neat edge (no one wants to see the rough cut edge). Secure the neatly folded edge to the package (I use the double-sided tape for this step. Just like no one wants to see a rough cut edge, I don't think they want to see tape).  When you pull the flap over to secure the edge, pull tightly so that the corners are crisp.  Otherwise, you'll have too much extra paper in the next step and your corners will be sloppy.

You should now have a rectangular tube of wrapping paper with a package secured in the middle. There are two ways to address closing up the ends. If your package is flat (like a shirt box or a jewerly box), I prefer method one. If your package is blockier (like almost anything else), I prefer method two.  (Note, in my explanation below, I refer to 'top' and 'bottom' flaps.  I've not moved my package, so the front of my package is on the table, and the 'bottom' flap will be folded up from the front of the package toward the back; the back of the package is facing up and the 'bottom' flap will be folded down toward the front of the package.  Clear as mud?)  
  • Method One: Fold in the front and back sides of each end and secure with tape (regular tape).  This will leave you with a triangle (or maybe a trapezoid) on the top and on the bottom.  Line the edges of the triangle with double-sided tape and fold down to the end of the package.  Then, fold the bottom flap up (without tape).  Notice how far up the package the tip of the triangle goes.  Decide how you want the end to look (flap to the end, flap folded over at the middle of the package).  Unfold it, add double-sided tape, refold and secure.  Repeat for the second end of package.

  • Method Two:  Fold the top side down and secure with regular tape.  Crease the front and back sides, which now look like right triangles.  Line the long edges of both triangles with double-sided tape.  Fold the back side (closest to you) flat against the package and secure.  Fold the front side flat against the package and secure that, as well.  Finally, decide how you want the end to look (flap to the end, flap folded over at the middle of the package). Unfold it, add double-sided tape, refold and secure.  Repeat for the second end.
As I mentioned in the first step, pull the paper tight so that your corners are crisp.  At this point, I pinch my thumb and forefinger together and run it along all of the edges to be sure my edges are well-defined.  It just looks nicer this way, doesn't it?

You should now have a beautifully wrapped package.  Next week, I'll cover accessorizing with ribbon and tying a bow.  I'm doing a gift wrapping training at our store for seasonal employees later this week, so maybe I can sneak pictures of  'good' and 'not so good' examples to share, too!

Finally, I'm planning to link up to Beth's linky party, so if you get here before I've linked to her blog, check back later in the day to see the other cool tutorials!

Home Stories A2Z


Becky said...

Okay, do you know how much I'm giggling at how specific this post is?!! Also, you're not allowed to (ever) look at the presents under my tree. Although, they'll probably all be in bags, so it doesn't matter. And - actually - that probably would cause you great distress, too. So yes, no looking under my tree for you, missy.

JE Melton said...

Becky, I've seriously been re-considering your offer to wrap your gifts. I figure if I've got all the wrapping supplies laid out ready to go, and if we wait a couple weeks until I'm in top wrapping form, I should be able to knock it all out in an hour or two, right? :)

Becky said...

dear lord, please wrap them all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!