Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gift Wrap 101 - Lesson One

I did promise to get a bit more practical in showing you gift wrapping tricks of the trade. This is the first post in a series so you have some good basic skills for the holiday season ahead. I will use this gift shown above to illustrate a number of techniques and tips in a series of posts over the next week. How to go 'tapeless", how to measure and fold for neat edges, how to tie ribbon so the bottom is flat, and what to do with the gift wrap strips that are always at hand. Some of this I have touched on before but I have photographed step by step for those of you who are interested in learning the extra steps to a professionally wrapped gift. Gift wrapping is an art......but as I always say, it is not a difficult one, you just have to have the right tools at hand.

Lesson # 1 - DO NOT USE THIS TAPE if you want a perfect gift. Yes, it even says Gift Wrap Tape and though 3M may be the industry leader, I really wonder if they have tried it. I'm not going to get into a lecture about scotch tape (nor am I only talking about 3M) but I will tell you this about any satin finish is really, really obvious and it doesn't stick that well on good quality paper which means you have to use a ton of it and then it really does look a mess. There is a much better way.

This is how your gift package will look if you actually use any satin finish Gift Wrap Tape. You really can do better than this and I am going to tell you how..........

If I go to all the trouble to wrap a beautiful package with pretty gift wrap and gorgeous ribbon, I do not want to see's that simple. I don't think anyone does. I certainly know that my customers don't want me to send out a package with obvious scotch tape all over the place. Your absolute best tool for gift wrapping is double-sided tape. It is the single best tip I can give you. It is not difficult to use, actually it is easier as it does allow some movement if you make a mistake. As you will see in the next post, it is used on the underside of all your paper edges so if you have to move your paper a bit to pull tighter no one is the wiser. When you find double-sided tape, stock up on it as it can be difficult to find in some areas. I can promise you once you make the switch to "tapeless" wrapping, you will never use a visible tape again. In fact, you might even start to feel downright superior about your new find and technique.
My second essential tip is that you remove the spool and put it into a office tape dispenser. This means you only have to use one hand for pulling a piece of tape, the other hand is where it should be......holding and taping the paper tightly in place. To try and pull tape with a regular dispenser is cumbersome and impossible. No one can do this nicely, not even me. When you purchase double-sided tape, you have to pull off the first bit before it gets to the part that is sticky on both sides. I am embarrassed to admit that when I first bought double-sided tape it took me awhile to figure this out.

Double-sided tape eliminates any visible tape so your folded edges are beautifully finished. Doesn't that look much nicer?

I am showing you the underside of this sample gift for two reasons. First to show you how the switch to double-sided tape eliminates all the messy tape along the much better don't you think? My next post will show you how to use double-sided tape and how to measure and fold your paper. The post may go over 2 days as it is photographically longer. After that I will show you how to tie ribbon so the bottom is flat as you see here. When I learnt this technique, I couldn't believe how much nicer it was to eliminate the wobbly knot at the bottom that results from using wider ribbon. For those of you who feel a four-sided ribbon tie is too intimidating, I will also show you a easy way to get the same look. You are going to be such pros at this gift wrapping thing!

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life


  1. I am so excited, Sande! I'll be making a gift wrap shopping list as we go along and I am marking double-sided tape at the top. I'm really looking forward to the next tutorials on this.

  2. oh, this is going to be so much fun as I love to wrap gifts and am NEVER happy with the outcome and tape is one of the problems, as is the lumpy ribbon, how much paper, etc etc etc!


  3. thank you for going the extra mile, sande to demonstrate how you achieve such a precise and polished look in your wrapping! going that extra step makes all the difference and is certainly well worth it ... letting the focus be on the beautiful embellishments!
    my mom was a very particular wrapper in the day 'before bags' and i fondly remember her making the whole kitchen a wrapping station at christmastime ... she did it all in one day and into the night ... i can still hear the even tear of the paper as she neatly slide a knife on the fold and the little quick rips of the tape on the dispenser. her corners were neat as a pin and each fold-in on each end was even to a t!
    your detail to this art brings warm memories ...
    thanks so much for sharing your 'gift' ~

  4. You always delight me with your gorgeous blog photos! Thank you thank you for bringing gift wrapping back in style! I have always believed that the presentation is just as important as the have made it a reality for me to share with others...I now know I'm not alone in my desire to wrap my gifts..not bage them! Always a joy to visit you here. Can't wait until the next class! Blessings to

  5. I will be back for this gift wrapping tutorial for sure! Your gifts are so lovely.

  6. Hi Sande~

    What a GREAT lesson! Who would have thought of double sided tape but YOU! What a delight although even with this WONDERFUL tip...I don't think any of my gifts will ever be as pretty as yours. You are amazing!

    Miss Kris

  7. Sande-A great tip-I can't wait to learn more!

  8. Actually I think I'm feeling superior already and I haven't even used the tape!!

    Your right, so instructional (just what I need)!

    Don't give on up Clive yet, you bet he's havin' fun, but hey, I'm thinking of bootin' him out anyway ..... you know, on to the next one :o

  9. Wow! I'll be keeping watch for your series! Thanks sooooo much for your generous sharing.

  10. Sande,
    Oh...I couldn't help but laugh out loud at my gift wrapping faux pas-using tape that shows!!! I am so embarrassed! And how funny-Scotch tape's Gift Wrap tape is worthless! Do you mind giving us the brand name of your recommended double-sided tape???
    And the dispenser idea is so valuable. I don't know why we don't just break down and buy a stupid $10 or $20 dispenser to avoid all of those irritating moments when we lose the end of the tape on the tape roll and have to try to peel it away and start over!!! Not to mention that the factory tape dispenser that's supposed to tear the tape never cuts right and the tape always gets crumpled! This first lesson will already make gift wrapping more enjoyable for me. Thank you so much. I look forward to the next lessons!

  11. Love your tip today....I will use it! Can't wait for more! I adore your inspiring ideas!

  12. I am glad I am doing something right! I love double stick tape and I have a nice heavy tape dispenser. I am ready to wrap and roll!

  13. How did you know that I wanted my packages to look prettier! Thanks for the lesson, and more, for such a lovely blog! I'm just beginning mine, and felt quite inspired sight-seeing through yours!

  14. Thank you for sharing your tips with us. I have some special events coming up soon that will require a little more special attention. I love wrapping presents but don't have any "gift" for it. Hopefully your tips will help with this. Thanks again. Leanne

  15. I love the tip about the tape.


  16. I have always liked to wrap my parcels beautifully. I have used double sided tape and agree that it's the best tape to use for parcels, XXXX

  17. Sande, Gift wrapping 101 is perfect!! Love the photos, step by step instructions and your tips. Am looking forward to learning about getting rid of that "wobbly knot". Only YOU could could put so much delight and inspiration in gift wrapping!

  18. Sande,
    Thank you for going through ALL the steps & taking such clear photos. You make double-sided tape look glamorous! Can't wait for the ribbon post & more.
    Also Sande thank you for the special mention, it was a joy to include you!
    xo Lisa

  19. Just stumbled across your blog and am absolutely smitten! Each and every package is so very beautiful. It's all so inspiring, I want to wrap something right now! Thank you for an excuse to shop for presents : )
    XXX Kate "the NEO-trad"

  20. You know, you go through life thinking you have learnt some things or two...I LOVE double sided tape and use it everywhere, but NEVER thought of wrapping with it...or putting it in a dispenser. Brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing these great tips. I await the perfect ribbon wrap sans "lump"!
    BTW, I am a fellow Canadian in the States most of my life though. I do have quite a bit of family in Ontario.

  21. Thank you for writing about how to wrap properly. You have some really great tips and tricks for using tape! Fantastic!! I can't wait until you show us how to create your incredible bows!! ~Kristine

  22. Love the tip! Now proven...You not only the smartest gift wrapper in the world but the prettiest gift wrapper I have ever known in this world:)

  23. I have double sided tape in my drawer which I use for mounting photos but I never thought to use it for gift-wrapping. Maybe I can make a pretty gift too! But the gift wrapping package I bought from you is too pretty to open, so it might be a while before anyone actually gets the royal treatment.

  24. Wow now that is a work of art! Thank you for the lesson!

  25. Though you have the "eye" to make packages fabulous, even our everyday gifts WILL look better with a little extra effort, like double sided tape. Thank you for the tip and lessons!

  26. Hi Sandee,
    I love gift wrapping 101 :) Thanks for getting back to the basics for us.

  27. Great idea! On my list this week!


Your comments are such a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.


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