Mirror Magazine


The fine art of gift wrapping

Have your own gift-wrap kit
Create a gift-wrapping corner, table, closet, or box where you can keep everything ready to use. Here are things to include in your gift-wrap kit.

Pens - Keep gold, silver, gel, or coloured 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 colours. They give a homey touch to gifts and are perfect for creating some rustic decor. Use at least three strands together when using as ribbon. Knot strands from end to end to make longer lengths for larger gifts.

Ribbons - The 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 cut-outs (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 colours or sheers with the convenience of wired edges. Making a package look gorgeous in a snap with wired ribbon since you'll be able to fuss with the bow to get it look just right. Trim the ends of wired ribbon on a slant or in a V-shaped swallow tail cut.

Bags - Gift bags - plain, coloured, 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 coloured lunch bags that might be used to contain party favours or children's gifts.

Alternative gift papers - Many people like wrapping paper that looks as if it 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 colours.

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.

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 colourful and fun for kids' gifts. Gather three or four strands of assorted colours and use them together as if they were a single strand. Tie in a knot, leaving about about 12" of end to curl.

By Ishani Ranasinghe
Gifts, gifts and more gifts is one of the best things about Christmas.

Come Christmas Day and gifts are piled high under the tree. What a beautiful sight. All wrapped up in colourful paper and … all the same. Wouldn't it be great if the wrapping had variety?

Now, getting a gift is easy, but remember Christmas is all about sharing and giving. Which means we also have to give gifts. Some of us have spent countless hours scratching our heads trying to figure out what to buy whom, with the limited budget we have.

After all the hard work, we all would like our gift to be a bit different, a bit unique and maybe have our own style embedded in it … At least in the wrapping.

A common problem encountered when giving a gift is how to wrap it. Yes, we can get it wrapped at the store, but then, if we do the wrapping, it adds more meaning to the gift and shows the person that we really do care.

Char- minie Hema-chandra is a well-known artiste in the handicraft field. She conducts gift wrapping classes and shared with us some of her thoughts. "It's something very simple and can be done in a 'jiffy'," she says with a quick click with her fingers. "Even if you are short of time, you can still wrap your gift in a nice way."

She wraps a wine bottle in a way to resemble a butler, with the coat and the buttons. A shirt box is wrapped up in natural paper and then outside is pasted with a little collar and a tie made out of a striking paper. "Natural paper at the moment is 'in', so many use it to wrap gifts."

She continued to say that anything can be used to wrap gifts, if we want to. It is all a matter of taste and what we like. There are myriad of choices in wrapping paper: bookstore wrap paper, paper tissue, foil, cellophane, construction paper, even plain brown wrapping paper or newspaper. You can also make your own paper from scratch or decorate plain paper with pen and ink drawings, stamps or paint! We should never limit ourselves but have fun trying out different ways, she advises.

Cardboard gift boxes, cans and gift bags look presentable and attractive too. Tie them up with ribbons, lace, string cords or twine. For more effect, these can be adorned with anything you can think of; dried flowers, origami, twigs, even soft toys or a simple card. Have fun experimenting with different materials and combinations. "The person who is getting the gift will relish the gift even more when it is given in an attractive package."

So how did this whole wrapping business gain such importance? According to her, it all started in Japan. Japanese people give much thought to the wrapping more than the gift itself. Thus, it evolved and slowly the idea got carried across the world.

Well, we have to admit that gift wrapping at times is not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially when you have so many gifts to wrap and so many more things to do. Here are some helpful tips for organising gift-wrapping jobs and some ideas to make gift-wrapping easy.

Collect gift wrap materials - Instead of buying Santa gift paper, try going with a plain red, metallic silver, and a beautiful white. These papers can look wonderful by using red, green or metallic ribbons.

Cellophane bags - Clear or printed cellophane bags can be a lifesaver for small non-fragile gifts, candies or baked goods. Simply insert the item into the bag (wrapped in a tissue if desired) and seal the top with ribbon, raffia, cording or a twist tie.

Coloured tissue paper - Tissue can make any gift seem festive. Collect several colours to use when lining gift boxes, to cushion delicate items, inside cello bags or even to use as gift paper.

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. Crafts and stationary stores have blank tags in a variety of shapes. You can also make your own tags in any size or shape using coloured 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 gift. The picture on the card will dress up your gift and add a bit of colour 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 to use on gifts.

Gift-wrapping sure can be fun and a learning experience. However, if it is left until the last minute and you are scrambling for a scissor, tags and tissue paper, then it is a job that can be turned to a stressful chore.

But then, considering how easy gift-wrapping really is, maybe your gift will turn out looking wonderful just the way you wanted.

If you are pressed for time, you can always go to a store and get the gift professionally wrapped. As for your creation… there is always next year. Merry Christmas.

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