How to Wrap Presents Like a Professional

Every guy thinks he’s in the clear once he manages to pick out a great present for everyone on his list. Even if someone is a master at selecting the best gifts around the holidays, presentation can have a huge impact on how they’re received. No package feels all that special when it’s haphazardly shoved into a bag or, even worse, presented from behind your back. This means it’s time for a lesson in wrapping gifts.

Before you start to sweat, bear in mind no one is going to expect something as extravagant as what professionals create at department stores. Think of wrapping a present as origami, but way easier. This 10-step guide will turn you into a pro just in time for the holidays.

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First things first, you always want to place your gift so the top is facing down when you start to wrap. The reason for this seemingly fussy step is the bottom will become the top when you’ve finished wrapping. We’ve all seen the confusion that ensues when family members open presents facing upside-down, so this allows them to see what they’ve opened right away.

Also, be sure you’re using an appropriate gift wrap. Just because you have an abundance of rolls that say “Happy Birthday!” doesn’t mean you should use them. Most drugstores carry a wide variety of choices for just a few bucks each.

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Trying to wrap your gift using the whole roll of paper is a guaranteed way to end up with a wrinkled exterior and maybe even accidental tears. Before you make any folds, cut the paper to the proper size. But before you cut, be sure you have enough paper to fully enclose the gift or you’ll have to start all over. If you don’t feel comfortable eyeballing it, grab a tape measure, then mark the correct length.

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When folding the edges of the paper, you’re only ever going to have one free hand. This makes wrestling with a tape dispenser a total pain. For a much easier method, tear off some strips of tape in advance. The amount you’ll need will depend on the shape and size of the package, but most small presents will only need four to six pieces of tape. If you’re dealing with a massive box or a big pile of presents, you might even want to invest in a desk dispenser. They’re inexpensive and allow you to rip off the exact amount of tape you need with just one hand.

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Now you’re ready to fold. Covering the longest part of the box first is the best strategy because you’ll end up with a more manageable amount of gift wrap to work with when you cover the sides. It’s also a lot less likely to wrinkle if you go this route.

Align your present so it’s in the middle of the paper, then fold one half over to cover the longest side. Keeping the paper as tight as possible, fold up the second half so it crosses over the first fold. Use one hand to hold the paper in place and the other to securely tape it in a few spots.

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If you did your job wrapping as tightly as possible, this next part should be easy. Grab the top end of the wrapping paper on one side and fold it down so that it aligns with the bottom edge of the package and you can see both corners. The paper should just about reach the bottom edge of the package. A bit more or less is fine, but you might want to trim some of the paper if you have much more.

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Next, hold this fold in place as you pinch and lift the bottom-right corner of the paper up to the center. You may need to give the pinched edge of the paper a bit of a press to make sure it’s creased. Using your thumb or forefinger, hold this corner in place while you move to the second half.

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Using the same method as before, pinch and lift the bottom-left corner of the paper to the center. Pull the paper taught so the second corner crosses over the first. This guarantees full coverage. No one wants to ruin the surprise by exposing the sides of the package, so make sure the end of the box is completely covered.

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Once both corners are folded to the center, the bottom edge of the wrapping paper will form into a convenient little point. Fold the point up and over, making sure to pull the paper tight. Hold the point in place, then use your free hand to secure it with a piece of tape.

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Turn the package so the other end faces you, then repeat the same folding technique as above. You should end up with two points taped down just at the top edge of the present and a crease running the length of the long side. This will become the underside of the present, so it doesn’t have to look perfect.

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Flip the present over so the un-taped side faces up, and add a bow. If you’re using a patterned paper, match the bow to one of the colors featured. If you went with a solid color, pick a contrasting hue that looks good like red with gold or green with silver. Using a label is also a good idea for keeping track of who each present is for, especially if you’re headed to a huge gift exchange. Now pat yourself on the back because you just wrapped a present like a boss.

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