How to Wrap Presents in 7 Simple Steps

The winter holidays are quickly approaching- are you ready? Whether you already have your gifts for family and friends sitting in your closet or you’re an annual last-minute shopper, you need to have your wrap game on point to present those beautiful presents! Learn how to wrap presents with these 7 simple steps and amaze everyone with your gift-giving and gift-wrapping!

Even the most perfect gift will look unappealing if you don’t make gift-wrapping a priority, and mall and department store wrapping centers can make your shopping budget explode before you know it. But knowing how to wrap presents doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor! Read through our step-by-step tips for ideal present wrapping, and you’ll be prepared to wrap presents for all of your special occasions.

Why Wrap Presents?

There is more to wrap presents than meets the eye. A huge pile of carefully concealed presents under a tree or sitting on the table does inspire curiosity and excitement, but science suggests that there is more to our interest in present-wrapping than that.

In 1992, a study was done at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Texas determined that recipients were happier after receiving a well-wrapped present than a hastily wrapped one. The theory is that a wrapped present brings to mind past happy experiences, leading the recipient’s mood to lighten even before opening the present. You know that you’ve picked the perfect gifts for your family and friends, so why not add that extra step to bring them even more joy? Learning how to wrap presents can provide you and your loved ones with even more happiness today!

How Long Have People Been Learning How to Wrap Presents?

While ancient communities probably didn’t have bright red and green metallic paper with which to wrap their gifts, they were still wrapping presents! In Japan, Korea, and China, evidence of gift wrapping dates back hundreds of years.

In the Western world, wrapping paper and gift wrapping haven’t been around all that long (dating from the late 1800s), but after the explosion in popularity of Hallmark wrapping paper in 1919, the market for wrapping paper and other gift wrapping products has been booming. Today, the wrapping paper market makes over $3.2 billion a year!

Wrapping Paper Prices

The price of wrapping paper is almost as diverse as the styles and prints on wrapping paper. Around the holiday season, it is common to find bins of wrapping paper ranging from $1 -$5 per roll- the cheaper rolls of paper are traditionally thinner and slightly more difficult to cut smoothly.

However, wrapping paper prices don’t stop there. You can find thick, top-of-the-line wrapping paper for upwards of $25 for one roll! Additionally, if you are decorating your own wrapping paper, it is priceless!

Different Ways to Wrap a Present


If you think don’t know how to wrap presents, you’re probably thinking of the traditional perfectly paper-wrapped gift (see below for the easy step method to learn!). Gifts, especially those in boxes or in square or rectangular shapes, are often wrapped with a paper material, whether it’s a thick fancy paper from a specialty store or the comic section of the local newspaper. These wrappings typically use tape, ribbon, or string to hold the wrapping onto the present before the big day.

Bagging It

Another easy wrapping option that doesn’t take much how-to-wrap-presents know-how is the bag method. Choose your favorite bag- either pre-decorated especially for your occasion or one that you decorate yourself- and place the gift inside. Use some colorful tissue paper, glitter, and ribbon to cover the bag and tie the handles together to prevent any pre-holiday peeking!

DIY Gift Wraps

Both methods of how to wrap presents make it easy for anyone to create or decorate their gift wrapping at home. Gift wrap paper doesn’t have to be store-bought- in fact, it doesn’t even have to be paper! A cloth-wrapped gift is a perfect solution for the seamstress in your family- tie the wrap together with an extra strip of fabric, some thick yarn, or a loop of elastic.

Another easy way to personalize your gift wrap is to include decoration. Take a plain paper bag (or a blank sheet of printer paper, depending on the size of your gift) and fill the blank space with creative drawings or colors. Use paper doilies (either taped on to the gift wrap or used as a stencil) to create unique designs, cut out some of your favorite pictures or scenes from magazines, or use a sponge to paint creatively in your (or the recipient’s) favorite colors! Or, in addition to learning how to wrap presents, learn how to fold a paper crane or a paper calla lily and use your newfound skills to wrap and decorate the perfect gifts!

Trying to figure out how to wrap presents with a bit more personality? Print out your favorite pictures onto printer paper (or specialized wrapping paper for printers) and use that to wrap your gifts! This technique might take a bit more planning- you don’t want your face to get cut in half by a corner!

7 Steps to Wrapping

If you have decided to wrap your presents in a more traditional format with paper, then look no further and follow the simple instructions to teach you how to wrap presents perfectly every time. Before you get started, make sure you have scissors, tape, the paper you want to use, and the gift. Find a large, flat surface on which to work- the kitchen table (when it’s free of crumbs!) is a much better wrapping surface than the carpeted living room floor.

Be sure to take the price tag off the gift first or black it out with a marker, and if your gift is an unusual or soft shape (like an article of clothing, a stuffed animal, or a soccer ball) you might want to pack your gift in a box before wrapping to make the process a bit easier.

1 Roll out the wrapping paper, so it covers more space than the gift itself.

2 Place the gift in the center of the paper. Move the gift over to the end of the wrapping paper (away from the roll) and scoot it back in until you have enough wrapping paper to cover fully the edge of the gift.

3 Measure the paper by lifting it and wrapping it around the gift. If it doesn’t fully cover the gift, unroll a bit more paper and try again. It is better to spend more time measuring than to cut out a piece of paper that doesn’t fully cover your gift!

4 Cut the wrapping paper. Hold the roll steady and try to cut in one fluid motion. This will prevent your scissors from catching and will give you a clean, even edge.

5 Move your gift back to the middle of the paper and flip upside down. This will ensure that when the gift is placed under the tree, it will be right-side up. Repeat the measurement step from before (step 3) and trim off any unneeded paper. Make sure that the paper still covers the entire gift, but too much extra paper can lead to a strangely bulky gift and a lot more unwrapping work! Also, these small extra strips can be used for future small gift wrapping.

6 Starting with the longer side (if your gift is a rectangle), fold the sides of the wrapping paper in and tape in the middle. Use your discretion when it comes to taping- too much tape will make the gift impossible to open, but too little tape will make your next steps more difficult as the paper will not stay in place.

7 Crease the corners and fold them down into flaps. Fold the flaps up and tape onto the edge of the present (or, if the triangle flap is long enough, tape onto the back side of the present. Again, use tape judiciously.).

8 Add a to/from sticker to the front of your gift. You can also cut a small extra piece from your wrapping paper, turn it over to the blank side, tape it to the gift, and write the to/from tag there.

9 Use ribbon or string to decorate your gift. Start by looping it around the gift, cross in the middle, and loop it around the other way. Tie the remaining ribbon or string in a bow and cut off any extra.

10 Apply a bow to the top of your gift. If you’re looking to give your gift a special and unique touch, add an old brooch or a small trinket to the top of your gift!


Learning how to wrap presents doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or frustrating. Don’t let this important element of gift-giving give you a headache or take away from your holiday spirit! Now that you know how to wrap presents try experimenting with making your own homemade wrapping paper, decorating your gifts in unique ways, or making fun and festive holiday gift cards to accompany your professional-looking presents!

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