How To Wrap Presents Like A Gift Stylist
A prettily-wrapped present makes what’s inside feel even more thoughtful. And if there’s anyone who knows how to make presents look pretty, it’s UK-based gift stylist Jane Means. With a client roster that includes one of the Beatles, Yves Saint Laurent and the Queen herself, Jane is known for her ability to make gifts look truly special. We caught up with the gift wrap guru at the Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls holiday press preview, where she showed us first-hand how to make Japanese pleating with wrapping paper. Now, we’re sharing the step-by-step, along with three other clever gift wrapping ideas from her book, Giftwrapped. Get Jane’s tips for wrapping tricky items like a bottle of wine, a vase, and a gift basket, below.
I have long been a fan of Japanese giftwrapping and origami. During my regular trips to Japan in the early 1990s, I used to frequent a small chocolate shop in Ginza, downtown Tokyo. Here I spent hours watching the staff wrap boxes of chocolates in all shapes and sizes, and was mesmerized by their attention to detail. While there I learnt the art of Japanese pleating. Now you can, too.
You’ll need a box, paper, scissors, double-sided tape and ribbon.
Cut the paper to the right size for your box. Place the paper face-down in a portrait shape and fold it in half along the longest side.
Unfold the paper and place your finger and thumb on the fold a third of the way from the edge. Pinch the paper to make the first pleat, fold over 2.5 cm/1 inch and crease it. Lift the paper up and tuck under to form the next pleat (to match the first one), and pinch, fold and crease as before.
Open the paper out and repeat the steps again until you have as many pleats as fit neatly across the box – stick with an odd number. I like three or five.
Turn the paper right-side down and tape the pleats in place.
Pick up the paper and lay it right side up on top of the box. When your pleats are straight and central then crease the edges (these are handy markers), and then turn the box and paper over.
Now, start wrapping the box, ensuring it hasn’t shifted position on the pleats. Bring the long edge of the paper towards you and mark this paper with a crease where it lays over the edge of the box nearest you. Then fold over the paper on this crease and attach double-sided tape.
Bring the long edge of the paper over once more, peel off the tape’s backing and stick down, so that the taped edge is neat and sits exactly on the edge of the box.
Now, do the sides. Flip the box over (pleats on top), push the top layer of paper down and push your fingers right into the corners, creasing the paper as you go along. Repeat on the other side.
Take the outer folded paper into the middle, so that it’s snug against the side of the box. If you don’t get a perfect point, here’s a little trick: take the flap and fold the paper back gently so that the fold sits halfway up the side of the box – you’ll see its edges line up with those on the box.
Cut some double-sided tape and stick the flap down.
Now, try out a few trimmings to decide whether you would like a coordinated or a contrasting ribbon.
Tie a simple bow and trim the ends of the ribbons at an angle.
This design calls for stiff ribbon and is easy to make. Its voluminous style is often seen on wreaths and bouquets of owers, as decorations on large gifts, and also on wedding cars.
You will need to tie a length of ribbon around the box, wreath or bottle neck as shown. The ends need to be approximately 15 cm/6 inches long (these will be used to tie the loops in).
Take another good length or roll of ribbon and form a circle, then squeeze it in the center so there are two loops.
Form lots of additional loops with one hand while holding the center with the other hand.
As you start making the 5 loops, pull the ribbon at slight right angles so you create more volume.
After you have made 6 – 9 loops, stop and cut the ribbon.
Tie in the collection of loops with the two ends from step 1.
If you are using a wired ribbon, you can roll the two ends into circles, which will then blend into the loop design.
Vases make great gifts for wedding, birthday or house-warming celebrations, and here I’ve used a stunning Art Deco urn-style vase from one of my favorite interiors stores. Although you can use paper for this project, I prefer to use a flexible wrapping, and a remnant of your favorite fabric would work really well. Pick up fabric remnants from haberdashery markets or garage sales. Stiffen your fabric with starch spray to make it more rigid, if you like, and decorate with faux flowers.
You will need fabric remnant, scissors, ribbon, faux flower decoration and a vase.
Cut the fabric into a square shape, ensuring there is enough to cover the item. Fray the edges of the fabric by simply pulling away loose threads. Pre-cut your ribbon and flower decoration. Place the vase in the center of the fabric, then gather the fabric around the vase, gently pulling the edges into the center as you would when wrapping a bottle.
When all the fabric is bunched together, use one hand to hold it in place and the other to wrap your ribbon around the vase. Then tie in your embellishment with a simple bow.
I have wrapped hundreds of hampers in my career, and nowadays they are hugely popular for everything from baby showers to bespoke groceries. London store Fortnum & Mason is renowned for its gourmet food and wine hampers, which are sent around the globe. To create your own bespoke version, it’s a good idea to buy the basket first, then decide on the contents. Here I have used a wicker basket, but you could also use a wooden crate, a large terracotta pot or a planter.
You will need a wicker basket, shredded paper, food items, roll of cellophane, scissors, transparent tape, ribbon or raffia and a decorative embellishment.
Fill your container with shredded paper. Next, arrange the goods so the tallest items are at the back, and flow the items into a pyramid shape. Group the items together tightly to avoid movement during transit, and add extra shredded paper if required. Measure your cellophane so there is enough to go around the basket, ensuring you have ample to cover the highest items. If it’s a large basket you may have to use two layers of cellophane slightly overlapping, securing them with tape to achieve the required double width. Place the hamper in the center of the cellophane.
Gather the cellophane to form a bunch at the top of the hamper and tie some ribbon or raffia into a loop around it, then tie in your decorative embellishment before you complete a simple bow. Lift up the hamper and stick a strip of tape along a folded V then tape this down to the bottom. Secure in place with a small strip of tape.