Friday, December 15, 2017

Wrap your presents with pizzazz: Easy gift-wrapping ideas

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Here are some simple ideas to jazz up your Christmas gifts this holiday season. They aren't professional-level wrapping techniques, which makes them doable for any of us mortals; they use materials that are easy to source; and they still add a snazzy touch to your presented presents.

The first and easiest way is to buy interesting ribbon.
Even a simple bow will look fancy if the ribbon is.
about being too matchy-matchy to the paper
as long as the color scheme works together.

To tie a nice bow: Cross the ribbon strand you're using
right over left, then left over right.
Repeat as needed for knots or double knots,
always switching sides for what's on top.
I say this because I recently overheard some teen girls
who didn't know how to tie a bow that lies flat,
and I really, really wanted to help!

Another easy option is to use multiple colors of the same ribbon.
This works well if you have plain ribbon to make it look more interesting.
You can wrap all the colors around the entire gift,
or you can choose to tie the contrasting colors only around the knot at the end.
Curl the ends to make a nice poof of color.
I find you can get curly ribbon to stay put in a nice round shape
if you interweave the ringlets a bit, tucking any errant strands
under the ribbon crossing the package as needed.
If they aren't staying nicely, you can always affix parts in place.
Tiny bits of double-stick tape, glue dots, or other mini adhesives
would be easiest for such tasks.

Combine the two steps above by using multiple strands
of an interesting ribbon, such as this shimmering cloth variety.
Bonus: The recipient can reuse cloth ribbon if desired.

Try adding flair with decorative objects 
such as a color-coordinating feather, flower, or leaf.
You might tuck an uninflated balloon under a ribbon for a birthday gift,
or use an image-heavy gift tag or card as the focal point.
You could place a photograph or photo booth strip of
the recipient with the giver.
Another option is to use part of the gift, 
assuming it wouldn't give away the surprise,
or an additional small present:
a hair thing, a nail file, a small sheet of stickers, or the like. 

Wide ribbon also can make a poof,
though you might need to form the loops more intentionally
and tape the ends to make sure they stay put.

Take advantage of long, narrow presents to wrap them
in an old-fashioned bon-bon presentation.
Wrap the cylinder, and then cinch both ends with ribbon.

Wide ribbon can be split to form additional curls.
That way, you get the advantage of the wide swath around the package
but the explosion of curlicues usually seen only in narrower ribbons.
Carefully cut a notch on the end of the ribbon, and then pull apart lengthwise
— either until you reach the knot at the package, or until you see
that the ribbon might be veering off course and might be pulled off entirely.
If you're concerned, split a ribbon only in half to make sure the result will be stable.
I've had good success splitting ribbon in thirds,
as long as you space the notches carefully and cut down exactly vertically.

Combine the techniques: Here's wide ribbon in 
assorted patterns and finishes
curled into a poof.

And here's wide ribbon in two different color schemes
split lengthwise at the end for extra curl.

One of my favorite wrapping techniques is to use shredded paper.
You can buy it in a myriad of colors in bags that will last you forever,
or you can reclaim it from packages that come to you for free.
Tie the ribbon's first knot, and then clump some shreds in a coordinating color
over the top. Now tie another knot over the top of it, securing it in place.
Finish with a bow or curls.

Here's an example with shredded paper combined
with an interesting ribbon type, an elastic metallic.
I also wrapped a thin strip of metallic wrapping paper 
around the gift underneath the ribbon.

Here are multiple colors and curls of ribbon
combined with shreds.
You can see how it easily adds three-dimensional texture
along with a colorful touch.

Same here.

You can combine paper shreds with interesting and multiple ribbons.

Note that you can combine multiple coordinating colors 
of shredded paper as well.
That can look particularly striking when the paper itself
is a solid color or relatively plain.

If you want to include the kiddos,
give them some holiday stickers and tell them to go wild.
Textured and 3-D stickers will add glitz with the amount of 
effort and skill even an eager toddler can provide.
(Just ask my three-year-old, who helped us out this year!)

I hope these decorating techniques gave you some ideas for enlivening your presents this Christmas! I find it a lot of fun to try out different ribbons and gift ornamentation and hope you and your recipients will enjoy it, too.



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