So you survived another Black Friday, and now all your fabulous finds need wrapping.
It’s just a hunch, but we’re guessing that’s not your favorite part of the holidays.
Relax. The wrap artists at Apropos gift shop in Wadsworth, Ohio, are about to make the job a little easier.
The shop is renowned for its gift wrapping, which is complimentary with purchases there. Owner Sally Shantz and longtime employee Ramona Britenriker have developed a trick or two over the years, which they shared with us.
So put on some Christmas tunes, and let’s get wrapping.
Gather Your Tools
Stores will have a gift-wrapping station where everything needed to produce beautiful packages is within easy reach.
Even if you don’t have that luxury in your own home, you can still take a cue from the shop’s setup by keeping all your supplies together so you don’t have to do a lot of hunting and gathering before you wrap. Probably the easiest way is to use a container big enough to hold everything you need – wrapping paper, tissue paper, tape, scissors, ribbon, tags, boxes and anything else you normally use.
It’s a good idea to keep scissors, tape and pens with your supplies so they’ll always be handy. Use different scissors for cutting wrapping paper and cellophane for gift baskets, since cutting paper dulls scissors.
Use the Right Supplies
Use only heavy, good-quality wrapping paper. It can be expensive, but because it doesn’t tear as easily as the cheap stuff, it will save you untold aggravation.
A weighted, desk-type tape dispenser is another valuable tool, because it lets you pull and rip the tape with just one hand while you’re holding the paper in place with the other. Use clear cellophane tape, which yields a prettier package than frosted tape.
The shop also uses unwired floral ribbon, which can be purchased by the bolt at craft stores and is cheaper per yard than gift-wrapping ribbon. Britenriker likes ribbon that’s a little stiff, because it holds bow loops better.
Get on Your Feet
Lots of people wrap gifts while sitting on a floor, but it’s better to stand if you can. You can reach everything easily that way, and you won’t strain your back the way you might when you’re hunching over gifts on the ground.
A table or counter work fine. Take a few moments to clear off your work surface before you start, so you’ll have plenty of space to unroll wrapping paper.
If you’re using a kitchen surface, be sure to wipe it clean. Crumbs and grease do not make attractive embellishments.
Wrap in Stages
When you’re wrapping a number of gifts, it’s easier to do it assembly-line style instead of wrapping each gift from start to finish.
Start by putting the gifts in boxes lined with tissue paper, if boxes are needed. Wrap everything next, then add the ribbons, and finally add the bows and tags.
How can you keep the recipients straight? Affix a small sticky note with the recipient’s name to each package until you can get the tag on.
Most people make the mistake of cutting a piece of wrapping paper that’s too big for the gift, and then they either have to trim it during the wrapping process or struggle with the bulk, Shantz and Britenriker said.
They recommend measuring the gift before you cut, adding just a little extra on all sides. You don’t need a measuring tape; you can just wrap a string around the gift, lengthwise and widthwise.
Apropos cuts paper in advance to fit the various sizes of boxes it uses all the time. If you have more than one gift of the same size, cutting the paper for all of them at once will save you time.
Tackle the Odd Stuff
It’s always easier to wrap things in boxes, but sometimes that’s not possible.
For oddly shaped items, Shantz recommends wrapping first with bubble wrap or tissue paper, and then wrapping in gift paper. The inner wrapping softens the edges, so you’re less likely to tear the wrapping paper.
Gift bags are another option, but those should be pretty, too. Shantz places the gift in the bag and then covers it with three or more pieces of tissue paper – usually two of one color and a third in a complementary color or pattern. She grasps each piece of tissue in the center of one edge and pushes it gently down into the bag, so the edges stick out the top.
Put a Bow on It
Ribbons and bows add that extra accent that makes a gift special.
For smaller packages, a simple shoelace bow made from wide ribbon is all that’s needed to dress up a package.
For larger packages, you might want to try your hand at creating a florist bow. Britenriker shows how in an instructional video on Ohio.com.