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Articles / Erthyglau

Stylishly wrapped presents

(December 03, 2014)

Stylishly wrapped presents

Having found the perfect gift for someone this Christmas, expending some time and energy on its wrapping, changes a good, but bog-standard present into something very special. Few things are more impersonal than just placing a gift in a gift bag, with the ubitiquous sheet of tissue paper scrunched for dramatic effect.

A stylishly wrapped present (or series of presents) can be achieved by adopting a colour theme (typically reflected in your home décor during Christmas), or as an elaborate series of wrapping styles, all similar but complimentary to one another (using for example complimentary ribbons, twines, wrapping papers, feathers etc.), incoporating different textures and finishes to create a sophisticated, deliberate effect.

Wrapping 1 Damask Paper

People commonly associate stylishly wrapped presents with expense, assuming that a great deal of technical knowledge is required (such as using ribbons to full dramatic effect). This could not be further from the truth, and this article will give you some tips on how to achieve beautifully wrapped gifts, both easily and cheaply.

Wrapping, just like home accessories and fashion, follows themes and styles each season. Flicking through some of the Christmas magazines available, currently, two distinct styles seem to have emerged this year. Elaborate, baroque, flock-themed paper can commonly be seen in-store, using embossing and heavy decoration - incoroprating feathers, diamante and crystals – perfect for the Hollywood noir look.

In contrast to this luxurious and dramatic look, there seems to be a desire to move away from elaborately wrapped gifts. The main themes seem to draw inspiration from the continued popularity of home-crafts, baking and a strong emphasis on individualised and personalised gift giving. To achieve this look use: brown parcel paper; wrapping paper designs inspired by vintage motifs; labels and images; luggage labels (used as gift tags); handmade gift tags, from vintage playing cards (see our article here); two-tone twine (instead of ribbon); raffia; lengths of pom poms (instead of ribbon); and decorative jam jars and vintage inspired sweet jars, to display gifts.

First, the wrapping paper …

Give a chic look by picking two or three colours/textures that compliment one another. Try to avoid your gifts looking as if you simply bulk-bought one design of paper and wrapped every gift in the same style. As a huge fan of Paperchase, I purchase a number of rolls from them each year. As with last year, they have an offer on their premium wrapping paper of 3 rolls for 2. Acknowledged, the rolls are on sale at £3.50 per roll, and are typically only 2 or 3 metres in length, but I do believe they represent excellent value for money to wrap smaller gifts. However, they would not be advisible to use for large volume gift-giving.

Wrapping 2 Cellophane

This year I opted for my traditional Baroque look, purchasing some stunning paper - a black background with a silver, glitter, flock raised design, called Glitter Damask: http://www.paperchase.co.uk/invt/00499989/

Another style that caught my eye this year was Paperchase's range called Book Plate. The design incorporates a brown background, decorated with black vintage label motifs: http://www.paperchase.co.uk/invt/00499994/

Another excellent source of paper is John Lewis, which for me, this year, offers fantastic value of money. I purchased a number of their plain silver foil rolls at £1.50 (per 3 metre role), which will make a great contrast to the Damask and Book Plate designs (above): http://www.johnlewis.com/231577341/Product.aspx

Paper does not always need to mean traditional wrapping paper. Other lovely ideas I have come across recently are sheets of music, pages from comics (for younger gift receipients) and pages from fashion magazines for the fashionista in your family. Another option is to use wallpaper remnants.

Once you have decided on the paper you want to use, I suggest choosing the ribbons/decorations. I always recommend using wired ribbon, as it is relatively simple to use and when the ribbon is manipulated, will give you the dramatic, full bows you see in magazines. Using non-wired ribbon is more problematic, but is worth it if using, for instance, a stunning velvet ribbon with matt paper (a very chic look). But that may require a little more practice.

Present in Box


I've seen lengths of pom poms recently (in John Lewis), which are a great alternative to ribbon. Strings of glass pearls, vintage rhinestone necklaces, Christmas baubles and raffia ribbon, can all be used to secure your gifts. However, you don’t have to use paper to wrap your gifts, with the Japanese art of Furosiki becoming popular recently. This technique uses lengths of fabric to wrap gifts. Typically, remnants of luxurious fabrics such as chiffon and devore are used, silk scarves or other items, which then form gifts in themselves, when the gift is unwrapped. The beauty of using fabric is that it will work well with irregularly shaped gifts. Gift boxes are an excellent alternative for irregularly shaped gifts, and can be gifts in themselves. Paperchase and TK Maxx have excellent selections.

Wrapping 4 Flock Box & Wired Ribbon

Pink Spotted Box


Another alternative I commonly use each year, especially for gifts which are not square or oblong, is printed cellophane wrap. Traditionally used by florists for bouquets, or to wrap hampers, printed cellophane is available in hundreds of different colours and designs. Typically sold in five metre and ten metre lengths, and are widely available; from eBay especially. When using cellophane I will wrap the gift in tissue paper, then surround with the cellophane wrap, and finish with a large bow. This technique is also really effective when giving foodie gifts such as baked biscuits and tarts. Although I would strongly suggest using a cake board for tarts/cakes etc., to provide strength to its base.

Hope you enjoy receiving your gifts, as much as you enjoy giving them. Have a lovely Christmas.

Claire Meredith, December 2014

If you liked this, you'll also like:
     Vintage-inspired gifts; December 2014

     Handmade cards; December 2014
     Handmade gift tags; December 2014
     Personalised Christmas decorations; December 2013

     Accessorize your home this Christmas; December 2011
     Shades of Grey; Caregos Couture new collection; September 2011
     History of costume Jewellery; September 2010
     Statement pieces from Caregos Couture, September 2010
     Easter/Spring party gift and decoration ideas; March 2010
     Modern accessories vs retro-chic; March 2010
     New Art Gallery in Cardiff 'Off the Wall'; Septermber 2009
     Statement necklaces; September 2009
     Stylish party canapés, September 2009
     George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009
     Whitefriars Glass, March 2009

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