A poor tradesman might blame her tools but clever gift wrappers know what tools will create the most professional look. I’m often asked what specific items I use to wrap. And my answer is always the same. You don’t need the spare bedroom room full of bits and pieces, just focus on a few key essentials.
Don’t spend a fortune on expensive (and often quite heavy) dressmaking scissors. I use two pairs of scissors – one pair is a x20 cm Semco brand scissors which are easy to manoeuvre and the other is a pair of very sharp pointed embroidery scissors for intricate cut outs, trimmings or little snips in hard to get to places. Your scissors should be sharp enough to positively glide through 80gsm paper and cut ribbons crisply. If you are hacking a ribbon, it’s time for a sharpen up or a new pair of scissors.
Double sided tape
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Double sided tape changed my life. It means sticky tape is never visible on your gift. Double sided tape comes in a variety of widths and quality. I always stock up on the 6mm width of X-Press IT brand because I’ve found (to my detriment and usually when I am in a hurry) that the cheaper versions from discount stores don’t stick as well and the backing paper doesn’t come off as easily. The 6mm width covers the vast majority of wraps.
Well here’s a no brainer I hear you say. Even though I use an awful lot of double sided tape, there is always a place for traditional sticky tape and the only one to use is a name brand in a dispenser. Boo to cheap rolls. The dispenser makes it easy to find the end of the roll and keeps the tape from sticking to itself. I particularly like the new wrist dispensers that sit on your wrist, are easy to access and never seem to go walkies in the middle of your wrap. I use traditional sticky tape to secure internal wrapping that can’t be seen like tissue paper or bubble wrap.
This is another little lovely that I cannot live without. You just pop a little dot on and hey presto! Your embellishment is fixed in place right where you want it with no glue seeping out to ruin your look. I use glue dots to make paper bows and other little touches. But beware – not all glue dots are created equal. Just the other day I ran out and ended up buying dots that were thick, impossible to get off the backing sheet and spread like goo – may as well have dribbled glue everywhere in the first place. I swear by ZOTS which come in large, medium and small size.
Get yourself a craft scalpel and you’ll be surprised how much you use it for producing beautiful sharp cuts when run along a metal ruler. The scalpel will also create circular shapes when run around a plate or bowl. Genius. Make sure you store your scalpel away from little people or handymen – the former could get cut and the later will blunt the blade.
Metal ruler and fabric tape measure
No…not a wooden ruler or a plastic promotional ruler but a true blue metal ruler. I have 100 cm version and a 30cm version, but if I could only have one, it would be the longer version. I run my scalpel along the metal ruler to create sharp, precise cuts. Secondly, I use the fabric tape measure (jauntily strung around my neck like a Saville Row tailor when not in use) all the time to measure the placement of embellishments, belli bands or folds. While I like to think I have wrapped enough to place and fold by eye, the truth I can’t do it precisely every time against every pattern and you probably can’t either. So measure, measure, measure everything (including the size of the bow loop) and you will achieve a super symmetrical look.
What’s that you say? Probably as you blush. I held out on this one. A bone folder is a cross between a letter opener and a cement trowel. When I first saw them, I thought they were a bit silly (actually I used a more colourful word). But then I succumbed to my Martha Stewart crush and because she had one, I had to try one too. And guess what… it works. OMG you run it along folds for a crispness that will set your heart to flutter. Take it from a sceptic. This little tool works.
Notable omissions and assumptions
You’ll notice I haven’t listed a hot glue gun (use double sided tape instead and save yourself blobs and burns), pinking shears (why bother – use ric rac or buy a set of kids craft scissors with patterned blades) or glue sticks (again – why bother with a congealing lumpy stick that attracts most of the fluff in your house when you can accurately place a glue dot instead).
I’ve also omitted the increasingly popular home cutting machines such as the Cricut and the Silhouette which can cut out fancy pants shapes. They can do some clever cutting and have come down in price. I have dabbled with using them but they are cumbersome, take some practice and time to drive, and can’t replicate the precision or volume capacity of a laser cutter. So if there is a particular shape you want and you want it in volume for an event, track down a pro with a laser cutter – worth every cent I say,
Finally, I‘ve also assumed you do have an HB pencil, a metal sharpener and eraser on hand – okay so perhaps that was an assumption.