How to REALLY wrap presents! Part 2
As promised we’re going to talk more about how to wrap badly, on purpose! Basically I’m trying to introduce a new way to level up your gift giving experience. It’s a way to make your holidays more magical, best of all, this works for any present giving time, birthdays, weddings, anytime! If you’re just tuning in you should read part 1, where I introduce the first principles of stealth wrapping. Today I’ll give some more examples and a few helpful hints I’ve learned over the years of doing this. Let’s get going!!
Since I can’t showcase this year’s gifts for fear of discovery via blog, let’s look at last years! In my household we have one expensive gift and every other gift is under $25, so today you get to see an expensive gift and how I try to wrap a large regularly shaped object. Sometimes the regularly shaped packages are the toughest because you have to fight the urge just to wrap it as is without any thought as to what it COULD look like.
First up is a some fuzzy holiday socks! These guys are a big favorite in our household and every year I come up with new and creative ways to wrap them. I think I really outdid myself last year. It was my first year in a new city and I had a whole new set of
victims recipients who don’t know what’s coming. I decided that I would turn those socks into a teddy bear. First, I needed to get the outline (if there is one thing you take away from all of this it is LINES!!! THE LINES NEED TO BE RECOGNISABLE!).
I repurposed the shipping package for the head and a wrapping paper tube to create the framework for the arms. Now you may be thinking, they don’t look soft enough to be arms and legs, well you would be right. Then again I’m only using it as the framework, the wrapping paper will be doing the job of making it look like nice fuzzy arms and legs, but the tubes will help everything hold the shape I want.
Using some wrapping paper to bulk up the legs, I’ve suddenly got the outline of a nice fluffy bear. Just wait, you’ll see it all come together. Stealth wrapping takes vision, creativity, and a whole lot of patience. Let’s see how it comes together as I get my wrap on.
Suddenly my tubes have filled out very nicely using just a little extra wrapping paper. Now let’s get the arms done and we can see how it will fill out.
Now we’re getting somewhere! The head is kind of throwing me off at this point, but once I wrap it, it will come together. Again, you need to have a little vision with these things and you need to embrace imperfection to get it looking right, awkward shapes and what not.
Now to finish it off, I like to put little hints in my to/from cards. This guy says to: (SOMEONE) may your holidays be bearable. Now I just need to throw a little bow on it, I wonder where I could put it that would further highlight a teddy bear?
Yep, square on the nose. This guy took about an hour to get crafted and wrapped. These things really do take time. So friendly reminder, if you’re going to do this, make sure you have plenty of time in your schedule. Even if you go fast or will be easy to do, it will take far more time than you think. Next up, I wanted to wrap something with a very regular shape, but I needed to do something to make it a little more… irregularly shaped. Since this gift already had a nice square shape to it, I decided to make it into a doll house. Let’s go over the steps for this one.
Reusing the box it came in, I made a nice slanted roof. Sometimes exaggerating the shapes will give you the best results. In this case I wanted to add a little something extra to really drive the point home, so whats a house without a chimney?
The angle of the photo makes the roof look lopsided, but it isn’t. You’ll see in the next few photos I got it nicely centered, it will make for a better shape if it looks centered. The chimney was just a cardboard flap I folded into a square, then I cut the bottom to (somewhat) match the angle of the roof. Now to the wrapping! Thankfully this isn’t too bad, I’ve only got the side with the chimney that is odd, so it will need some extra attention to make sure I highlight the shape, don’t do the work to make a shape if you’re just going to cover it with wrapping paper, you did the work, show it off!
This guy I wrapped better than my other examples, I wanted to show off a bit and you can see on the left that I tucked the fold into the edge. It’s a nice way to hide the fold (over the create a 45 degree flap method that we usually see) for those who want to wrap like a pro. Now you may see the chimney is still not wrapped, technically that whole side is not wrapped, let’s get a better look at it so you can see what I did.
Since I want to wrap the chimney tightly, I left this whole side unwrapped. Don’t worry, we’re getting to it. So I wrapped the chimney, then I went ahead and wrapped the rest of the roof and side, this way the chimney would be nice and visible. Let’s see the finished product.
Now I just need to place the bow. Remember, the front has no material, it’s only the wrapping paper, so I decided that would be the best place for the bow, I didn’t want people poking at it and I’m hoping it will force people to pick it up from the base instead of trying to pick it up by the roof.
I realized after the fact that I don’t take a straight on photo… oops. Well there you have it! The gifts are nicely wrapped and all of them are under the tree looking nice and obvious. Let’s see what it looks like with the two new additions.
As you can see, we’ve got a very interesting set of gifts under the tree. All of them look like one thing, but are very much something different. You might notice the doll house is missing, it’s on the other side of the tree (you can kind of see it on the right).
And there it is, it needed to go somewhere out of the way and there wasn’t room in the front, so it ended up over here. Not a bad spot for it, plus this side looked a little… well normal.
There you have it. Last years batch of stealth presents are under the tree and ready to be opened tomorrow. A little recap for those of you who want to do this yourself. There are a few pitfalls and rules you should follow if you don’t want to get yelled at.
- Make sure the way you wrap it, isn’t what something actually wants. Notice the toys theme in my wrapping, none of the adults these gifts are for wanted those toys. If you’re wrapping for a child, you may want to try something more mundane. One year I wrapped a gift as a stand mixer (think kitchenaid, complete with individually wrapped beaters). I really need to tell that story, so expect that tomorrow (probably).
- Don’t be afraid to get creative. Sometimes the best stealth wrapping jobs are the ones where I’m not sure I can pull it off. Last year was fairly simple due to lack of time and the fact that I was sick.
- Take your time! It will take twice the wrapping paper and about four times the amount of time it would take to wrap the present like you would normally, but it’s worth it. Plan ahead, think of the way you could incorporate the gift into the shape of something else, then go nuts.
- PLAN! Planning is probably the best advice I can give you if you want to do this. Seriously, take your time and figure out how you want to reshape the gift into something else. Try to hide the lines of the original gift, especially if it is something recognizable.
- It’s all about the LINES!! Don’t forget small details are great, but you want to make sure you capture the lines of the gift you are trying to wrap it as. Notice I made BIG lines, fins, arms, a roof, a chimney. I could’ve made little windows, or odds and ends for the rocket, but it takes a long time to do this without those little details and they won’t guarantee that the person will be able to tell what the gift is supposed to be. Make sure you get the big lines, the little details can be added later. Don’t be afraid to wrap small details separately and attach them to the gift either, if you plan it right, they won’t notice.
Well there you have it! Make sure the people you are doing this for are good humored. I mentioned this previously, but I’ve had people mad at me for this thinking that I couldn’t be bothered to wrap the gift better (it made the big day super hilarious though). If you do this, prepare for people to be disappointed until they start opening the gifts. It’s super worth it and it makes the holidays a little more magical so I really do recommend trying this method of gift giving (any time of the year really).
With COVID everyone could use a slightly more magical holiday season, so why not give stealth wrapping a shot and make this year memorable for a good reason! As usual, stay safe and have a good holiday season.