Knowing the basics of how to wrap a gift makes the task quick and easy. After you master these easy gift-wrapping steps, you'll find your own shortcuts. If you're feeling ambitious after you wrap the present, embellish it with small extras such as ornaments or flowers. A beautifully wrapped gift is a present in itself and makes the recipient feel extra special.


Clear out a large, hard work surface — table-height is easiest on your back — and gather your materials.

You'll need scissors, wrapping paper, ribbon, premade bows, transparent tape and tape dispenser, gift tags, pencil, and pen.

Tip: Use wrapping paper that comes on a roll instead of folded paper; the creases from the folds can mar the look of the finished wrapping. Sometimes, wrapping paper will have gridlines printed on the back, ensuring straight cuts all the time.

An office-type tape dispenser is best because you need only one hand to cut off a piece of tape. Or, cut pieces of tape and stick one end on the edge of the table; pull off as needed. Use "invisible" tape, which has a matte finish; shiny tape is distracting, especially on small packages. If you don't want tape to show at all (for a really beautiful wrapping job), use double-faced tape.


Determine the length of the paper that you'll need.

Roll out some paper and place your gift on it. Take the free end of the paper up and over the remaining three sides of the box, rolling out more paper as needed. Make a pencil mark about 1 inch past the point where the edge of the paper meets the rest of the paper. Set aside the gift.


Make your cut and a folded edge at the same time.

Fold the paper at the pencil mark, making sure the edges of the paper line up. Make a crisp crease along the whole length of the paper and then unfold the paper. Cut the paper (on the roll side) about 1/2-inch away from the fold.

Remember: All the paper edges of a wrapped gift should be folded under so that you don't see any cut edges, whether they've been cut by you or the papermaker.


Determine the width of the paper and trim the excess.

Place the paper (printed-side down) on the table with the folded edge toward you. Put the gift on the folded edge, leaving enough paper on one side to cover the end of the box and add 1/2 inch. Do not move the box.

Estimate the same amount for the other end, as shown, and make a pencil mark where you want to cut. Fold the paper at the pencil mark and cut on the fold (or cut according to the gridlines, if the paper has them).


Center the box, upside-down, on the paper and do the main wrapping.

Bring the top edge of the paper to the center of the box and tape it in place. Bring the folded edge to the center, pull tight, and tape in place.

If you're using double-faced tape, place the tape on the bottom of the folded edge, close to the outer edge. Bring the folded edge to the center, pull tight, and press to seal.


Wrap the ends of the box.

For each end of the box: a) fold the top side down and crease the side folds; b) fold in the sides, and crease the folds; c) on the final flap, make a 1/2-inch fold on the edge. Fold in the flap and secure with tape.


Add a crisp look to the package: Press along each fold of the paper, and run your thumb and forefinger along each edge of the box.

This step adds a professional touch to the wrapping.


Tie on ribbon, add a bow and embellishments if you want, and attach a gift tag.

Tip: Write out the tag (or do this ahead of time) and attach it to the gift as soon as you finish wrapping. Doing so ensures that the right person gets the right gift; otherwise, you might find yourself unwrapping a box to see what's inside! Also, tags can fall off, so make sure they're securely attached.

For embellishments, use ornaments, sprigs of fresh or artificial flowers or greenery, or anything appropriate that you have in the house — use your imagination!