wrap like a pro

hi there!  if you've dropped by this blog often lately, you've probably noticed that i LOVE packaging and gift wrap.  i've had several posts featuring some of my ideas for wrapping up small treats.  wonderful things can come in small boxes and if you dress up that small box with beautiful papers and embellishments, doesn't the object inside become even more wonderful?

i recently put this project together for the Crate Paper blog.  i had to come up with a tutorial and because it was going to post a week before Valentine's Day, i had to make it about wrapping up Valentine treats!  when i think of Valentine’s Day, the first word that comes to mind is sweet.  it applies to actual sweets like chocolates and candy, feelings (sweet on you), and cute treat packaging.  there is an infinite number of ways to wrap up Valentine treats but i thought i’d show you how to take those gorgeous patterned papers from the Fourteen collection that we all adore and turn them into wrapping paper.

a few years ago i worked at one of Paper Source's retail stores here in Orange County.  if you've heard of PS then you probably know they have gorgeous, colorful papers and make some of the most beautiful stationary in the business.  that's what drew me in...and i fell so head over heels in love with their products, i had to get a job there to pay for my PS paper habit!  it was while there that i learned how to gift wrap like the professionals do and i'm going to pass that knowledge on to you today--straight cuts, sharp creases, and seemingly seamless edges!  settle in...this is a long one!

the great thing is that you don’t need much for this, either...

a pencil, a paper trimmer, super sticky double-sided tape, a bone folder, and 12x12 patterned papers get you started.

and once your package is wrapped, simple and coordinating embellishments are a cinch to put together! 

before we begin, i just want to mention that i’m using 12x12 heavyweight scrapbook paper here, but the same steps apply when using lighter, traditional wrapping paper.  the first thing you’ll do is measure your paper for trimming.  i’m wrapping up small boxes of chocolates so i can do two or three with one sheet of paper.  if your packages are small enough, 12x12 paper is fantastic to use because you can trim it with your paper cutter to get a straight cut.  if your gifts are larger, you can also achieve straight cuts by using a large cutting mat, straight edge (a sturdy t-square works best for me), and a kraft knife.

let’s get started!  bring one end of your paper over to meet the edge of your box as shown in the photo.

then fold the long end over and mark where you’d like to make your cut; i like to bring it to the middle of the box.  trim.

next we’ll plan the ends.  you want the paper to reach about three-quarters of the way up the box.  make your mark and then trim again.  now we’re ready to wrap.

lay your box face down on the backside of your paper.  for placement’s sake, bring one end all the way over to the edge of the box, as you did previously when measuring for the cut.  this will be your top layer.   

getting those sharp creases is easy with a bone folder.  simply hold it flat between your thumb and forefinger and run it up and down the length of the box, pressing firmly as you go.

{tip:  the heavyweight scrapbook paper can be a little tougher to wrap with than regular wrapping paper.  for this reason, you’ll need to pinch the creases firmly with your bone folder and fingers as you move over the length of the box.  you’ll also want to do this a few more times than with normal paper.}

you will then do the same with the bottom layer, which should now measure to the box center--exactly where you want it.  after you make your creases on this side, you’re ready for tape.

an important rule when wrapping professionally is “no tape directly on the box!”  keeping this in mind, you will put your tape on the top layer--remember it’s the one that reaches to the edge of the box.  using double-sided adhesive ensures that “unsightly” tape is never seen on the outside of your beautiful gift!  it’s a good idea to use a very strong adhesive to get a solid stick.  i used Super Tape for this and because my paper is heavy, i taped the entire length of it to be sure it wouldn’t ripple.

bring your shorter side over to the middle and wrap your long side around it, pulling tight to the edge of the box.  you can use your bone folder again to smooth it down.  (it will be fun for you to watch your recipient try and figure out how to open this gift!)

for the ends, keep your box upside down and fold down the top part of the paper, creasing the edge with the bone folder again.   fold in the sides and crease again, moving your bone folder into the corners to make it very tight.

once you’ve made all of your folds, you can put your tape on the end flap.

fold the end up and press firmly to adhere.  you’ll see that your end looks neat and tidy, meeting up nicely with the seams.   repeat with the opposite end and your package is complete!    

so now you have a box (or a few) that look crisp and professional but need to be dressed up.  with a few accessories, you can achieve a sweet look for your boxes of sweets!

sticking with the patterned paper theme, i found you can really step it up and make beautiful things with it.  that’s why we all love it so much, right?  using a mix of 12x12 and 6x6 papers in “Cupid” and “Connection,” i wrapped up 4 packages and then used color and a heart theme to coordinate them.  they don’t all have to look exactly the same to accomplish a cohesive look.

i wrapped a doily, lace, and aqua seam binding around this box to sweeten it up.  then i tucked 4 hearts punched from pink chevron paper behind the trims to make a cute border.  the final touch was a simply decorated white tag. 

another lace and ribbon wrap with more punched hearts...quick and easy!  all that was left to add was the “darling” label sticker and a couple of vintage buttons.

for this package, i stitched vellum hearts to paper hearts and dropped some white sequins in between.  and it’s not hard to guess what might be inside from the “YUM!” spelled out in alpha stickers, is it?

the last box came together using more punched hearts and a piece of doily.  i also wrapped a slip of scallop-edged vellum around the box for a soft touch.  carefully chosen snippets of “Valentine” and “February” 6x6 papers leave no question that this is a Valentine treat!

when i started on this project, i also made a few matching packages with glassine envelopes, which i didn't include with the original tutorial since i didn't actually wrap them up with paper.  i just photographed them today and my fingers are crossed that i got some good images so i can share them tomorrow.  i hope you had fun today!