How to Wrap a Gift (with pictures!)

Disclaimer: I’m a bit of a gift wrapping snob. My intention is to help you if you struggle to wrap gifts well, but if the instructions are too specific, take them with a grain of salt! 🙂

Step one: gather materials

You will need:

  1. Wrapping paper
  2. Clear Scotch Tape
  3. Scissors

If possible, splurge for a thick, high quality wrapping paper, which will be less likely to tear as you wrap.

Also, a dark colored paper with a bold design (unlike the the paper I used!) will usually look best, as it hides wrinkles that naturally occur in the paper.

A gift I wrapped with my favorite wrapping paper. Unfortunately, I ran out of the paper before writing this article. 🙁

Step two: cut

Position your gift so that its longest side is parallel to the longest side of the wrapping paper.

Start to unroll the wrapping paper and gently slide your gift towards the roll, folding the paper over the gift until it is completely covered.

Cut across. Do not cut more than an inch away from where the ends of the paper meet. Excess paper will cause difficulties later on!  

Trim perpendicular to your first cut to create a long rectangle. For a hardcover book, a margin of roughly 1-2 inches on either side of the book is plenty. Leave more room if your gift is taller.

Step three: fold (part I)

Position your gift in the center of the rectangle. Fold the paper tightly to cover the gift and tape in the center. Also add a small piece of tape on the centerfold at either edge of the gift. This will help prevent an air bubble from forming when you try to fold the sides up!

Step four: fold (part II)

Flip the gift to look at one of the unfolded sides. Hold the top of the gift with your non-dominant hand, pressing down firmly near the edge.

Now’s the hardest part. Use your middle three fingers on your dominant hand to gently push the paper down, while your thumb creates a crease at the top of the paper that’s angled slightly towards the center of the gift. Your thumb should begin at the left corner of the gift, first making a hard fold inwards and then moving outwards along the crease as the rest of paper (guided by your middle fingers) continues to move down. Still with me?

This corner is probably the most important part of the whole process — make sure it folds sharply! The aforementioned crease is hidden between my thumb and pointer finger.

Push the crease up and to the right with your dominant hand, while you push the rest of the paper down with your non-dominant. Move the crease towards the gift so that it is flush with the top edge. Do not push so hard as to move the gift within the paper.

Please note: this is NOT how your hands should look during this step! I needed one hand to take the picture, so here I’m simply holding the crease I already folded. Realistically, your non-dominant hand should be pushing the center of the paper downwards as your dominant folds the crease up.


Shift your non-dominant hand to hold the crease in place at the top of the gift. With your dominant hand, fold the bottom left side of the paper inwards, pushing primarily towards the gift, as well as down.

Repeat this entire process on the right corner.

You’re almost done!

Get a small piece of tape and hold it on your pointer finger on your dominant hand. Grab the edge you just created with one hand on each side, thumbs on the bottom of the paper and the rest of your fingers on the top (excluding the finger with tape, obviously). Fold upwards, pushing firmly inwards with all your finger, especially the middle ones. Once the fold has reached the top of the gift, hold it in place with your non-dominant hand. Tape the center of the edge with your other hand. Add another piece of tape along this fold at either edge of the gift.

Repeat this step on the other side.

Congrats! You’re Done!

Happy Holidays.


Posted by Hope Anderson

Hope Anderson, senior, is a Senior Editor and a waffle enthusiast. In her spare time she watches British dramas and eats off-brand organic snack products.