What are some different materials that can be used for gift-wrap?
“So many materials can be used to wrap gifts. Maps, newspapers, magazines, discarded books, posters, wallpaper and especially brown paper shopping bags all work well,” says Viv.
“But it’s certainly not all about paper. Fabric is huge this year and it’s only getting bigger. It draws on the Japanese art of Furoshiki, which is the tying of fabric such as scarves or tea towels into a reusable wrap. There’s also a lot of clever environmental entreprenurs coming out with stunning and practical fabric wraps.”
Fabrics to try: calico, tulle, muslin, cheesecloth, burlap and Liberty of London fabric.
DIY Idea: “Don’t overlook the paper in your printer tray. Drawing a simple grid on photocopier paper creates a stylish monochrome look.”
What prints and colours are going to be big this Christmas?
“Traditional Christmas colours such as red, green and gold are always going to be big. Plus a seasonally fashionable pop of colour.”
“Green is a big trend this year in shades of sage, hunter green and olive. These greens reference the very strong trend for everything botanical in gift wrapping.”
“Every year there is also an on-trend Christmas print or motif that rises above the others.
This year, it’s all about the Christmas tree. From stylised trees, to water colours, from monochrome to geometric – it’s amazing how many different takes there are on the Christmas tree.”
Viv’s special tips and tricks of the trade
“The best weight for wrapping paper is around 80gsm, the weight of photocopy paper,” says Viv. Any lighter and the paper stands a good chance of ripping or tearing at the corners or seams. Any heavier and the paper can become very difficult to fold and even more difficult to secure, even with the best of sticky tapes.”
“I always have two pairs of sharpened scissors for wrapping. One is for paper only and one is for ribbons (or fabric) only,” says Viv. “Paper and fabric have very different fibres, so they will blunt scissors quickly and there is nothing worse than hacking at a ribbon.”
“The tape you use is important. The cheaper the tape, the less tack or stick it has and it won’t be able to secure layers of paper in place. I always use double sided tape to secure the paper, and I love small glue dots (which you can get on a roll) because you can slip them in to all sorts of nooks and crannies to secure layers of paper or artfully position a ribbon.”
Viv’s top 5 gift-wrapping tips
- “Measure your paper or fabric carefully. Most people cut too much paper and too little ribbon. Use twine to measure the length of paper required to go all the way around the object. Allow just over half way on the shorter sides. You don’t want any more paper than you need to cover the object because that will create scrunched bulk. Bulk is the enemy of polished gift wrapping.”
- “Wrap standing up at a bench. The kitchen bench is perfect for this as it’s designed to be at working height. Although it’s tempting to grab a glass of wine and sit on the floor watching Carols by Candlelight, this is not good for your back or your gift wrapping. Your paper will crinkle and you won’t be able to pull it tight.”
- “It’s fun to give a fabulous big gift. However, it can be unwieldy to wrap, and it does use a lot of paper. If you’re making a statement for a special occasion, then by all means wrap the big gift. However, I like to take a photo of the gift unwrapped, pop the photo in a little box, wrap and ribbon that box beautifully, then place it under the tree. The box can also contain instructions – a bit like a treasure hunt – as to where the big gift is located.”
- “Oddly shaped gifts present a challenge. Here’s where bubble wrap and cardboard are your friends. Use bubble wrap to take the edges and curves off the gift. The aim is to position the bubble wrap on the gift to get as close to a rectangular shape as possible. I place clothing and fabric gifts on a piece of cardboard and then wrap them. This provides a flat, stable surface for the floppiness of the gift and also allows me to pop a ribbon or twine on that won’t scrunch in. I also use cardboard for what I call my vanilla slice wrap: if you’re wrapping something like a bowl or a platter, place a piece of cardboard on the bottom of the gift and a piece of cardboard the same size on top – you’ll end up with a prism like shape which is so much easier to wrap and will protect and disguise the gift.”
- “Pop gifts inside mailer tubes. These come in varying widths and the length gives plenty of space for a range of items. You can do a tube of toys, a tube of BBQ acessories, a tube of make-up, a tube of stationery. Neat and tidy and no one knows what’s inside.”
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