Gift Wrapping Ultimate Guide – How to Wrap a Present

four gift wrapped presents in different styles, some with ribbons and some without and the title reads "gift wrapping guide"

This is the ultimate gift wrapping guide. Follow along step by step to wrap presents of different shapes and sizes. From quick and easy to more intricate, there are several gift wrapping ideas that will have you perfectly wrapping presents.

Pin it so you can come back any time you need some gift wrapping ideas!

four gift wrapped presents in different styles, some with ribbons and some without and the title reads "how to wrap any present - ultimate guide to gift wrapping"

Table of Contents

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.

My Experience as a Professionally Trained Gift Wrapper

So gift wrapping for me is actually kind of a funny story. I can technically say I am a professionally trained gift wrapper! Some background on me – I got my first job at 16 at a local toy store. This store was locally famous for its wrapping paper – glitter tissue paper. Growing up if you saw a gift wrapped in that paper, you knew you were going to get something special. So when I started working there, aside from learning the price gun, one of my first tasks was to learn how to wrap presents.

We used all different colors of tissue paper to create stripes and beautiful origami folds on the gifts. Then wrap them in tulle ribbon and tie it into a bow. Ever since then, this is how I wrap my own presents and consider it its own craft. You can use tissue paper or regular wrapping paper to make these designs so hopefully you can learn how to wrap a gift perfectly or simply be inspired by the different gift wrapping ideas.

The Different Gift Wrapping Ideas

Here are all of the different variations and styles included in this ultimate guide to gift wrapping. If you’re new to wrapping presents, I recommend starting with the first to learn the basics as the others will reference those basic techniques.

Click on the image or title to jump to that gift’s instructions.

And if you make any of these gift wrap designs, I’d love to see them! Tag me on Instagram @ab.crafty!

How to Perfectly Wrap Any Present - Gift Wrapping 101

Here are the basic steps to wrap any item, regardless of the shape or size. These basic techniques will be used for all of the variations. So if you’re just looking to learn how to make a simple perfectly wrapped present, this is where you want to start.

holding the finished wrapped present with rainbow wrapping paper and a tulle bow and the title reads "gift wrapping guide - how to perfectly wrap any present"

Materials to Wrap a Present with Wrapping Paper

  • Wrapping Paper – Be sure to get good quality wrapping paper. I cannot express to you enough how frustrating it is to attempt to wrap a gift with cheap paper. I highly recommend getting some with cut lines on the back to make it easy. In my experience, those also tend to be good quality (such as these that can be used for holiday presents and birthday presents)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (for a more clean look, get the clear tape like this one, which is the one I use)
  • Tulle Ribbon, optional (this is the one I used for this present, but you can also get a pack like this one with a bunch of different colors to match your paper)
  • The Present (can’t forget this!) – and if you need gift ideas, here are my top picks of gifts for crafters and also specifically gifts for crocheters and knitters

Instructions to Wrap a Present with Wrapping Paper

Start by placing the wrapping paper face down on the table and place the gift on top. (In this case I was wrapping this bone for my dog, Joker)

Cut the paper to size. You want to make sure it can wrap around with at least an inch extra. Then if it’s a box you want the sides to be just smaller than the height of the box. If the item is flat like this dog toy, you want roughly an inch on each side.

cutting paper with a nylabone durachew dog toy on top

Tape the paper to the flat side of the gift.

taping rainbow striped paper

Then this is the single immediate improvement you can make to your gift wrapping. Fold over the edge of the other side of the paper to make a clean edge.

It’s such a small change, but makes a big difference.

folding over the edge of rainbow striped paper

Then fold it over and tape it.

taping the rainbow wrapping paper around the gift

Folding the Sides of the Gift - Gift Wrapping Basics

Next you’re going to fold the sides.

Starting with one side, fold the top paper down, creasing the edge it’s folding over. You can also tape it down to hold it in place.

folding the center edge of the paper down

Then on one side, push into the corner and down to make a crease from the corner of the gift to the end of the paper. Repeat this on the other side.

folding the side corner of the wrapping paper

Fold in the corner of one side and line up the crease with the top of the gift. Use your other hand to make a crease on the outside and along the bottom edge. Repeat this on the other side.

folding in the corner of the wrapping paper against the box

You’ll see this will form a triangle along the bottom. Fold in the edge of the triangle to form a clean edge. Remember the easy way to improve your gift wrapping – fold in the edges!

folding the edge of the corner of the paper on the side of the gift

Lift up the edge and tape it to the bottom of the gift. Repeat the process on the other side of the gift.

taping the paper down to the side of the gift

Flip it over and you have beautifully wrapped present! You can wrap a ribbon around it, place a sticky bow on it, or simply leave it as is.

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the finished wrapped present wrapped in rainbow striped wrapping paper

Using Tulle to Wrap a Present with Ribbon

I personally love to use tulle to wrap presents with ribbon. For this gift, I used this glitter yellow one that I felt worked well with the colors of the paper.

Pull the ribbon under the gift and cut enough to make a bow.

Tip: To make sure you have enough ribbon, wrap the ribbon around the gift and then give yourself an extra foot or two, depending on the size of the gift and how big of a bow you want.

the gift on top of yellow glitter tulle

Tie the ribbon into a bow just as though you were tying your shoes.

Then place your fingers inside one side of the bow and open up the tulle so that it fluffs it up.

opening the bow made of yellow glitter tulle

Now your gift is perfectly wrapped in ribbon and ready to be gifted!

holding the finished wrapped present with rainbow wrapping paper and a tulle bow

Origami Style Gift Wrapping

This gift wrap technique uses tissue paper to make beautiful origami folds with pops of color. Working at the toy store as a teenager, this is the wrapping style we were known for. It’s a fun and unique way to wrap gifts!

holding the finished origami style wrapped present with blue yellow and orange tissue paper forming triangles and a ribbon made of white tulle and the title reads "gift wrapping guide - origami style folds"

Materials to Make Origami Style Wrapped Gifts

How to Wrap a Gift with Tissue Paper Using Origami Style Folds

Start by placing 3 different colors of tissue paper on top of each other and placing the gift on top. Tape the paper to the present, making sure there is enough on the sides. Just as in the basic instructions, you want to have just less than the height of the present.

Tip: Check to make sure you can’t see the present through the tissue paper. If you can, use an extra sheet of the darkest color.

taping orange, yellow, and blue tissue paper to a box

Turn the gift so it’s easier to work with. Then take the first color of tissue paper and bring it to the top. Fold it under itself at an angle.

folding the yellow tissue paper at an angle on the top of the gift box

Take the second color and again bring it to the top. For this one, fold it under itself at a straight line so that it lines up with the bottom of the yellow paper.

folding the orange tissue paper in a straight line to form a triangle of the yellow paper

Then do the same with the last color (so in this case, fold the blue tissue paper under itself so that it is on top of the orange paper).

folding the blue tissue paper to meet the orange paper

While holding the bottom corner of the paper, fold the blue paper back over itself at an angle. So that it looks even, match the angle of the yellow paper.

fold the blue tissue paper back at an angle

Then flip the present upside down. Put one hand on top of the gift, holding the origami folds in place. Then carefully slide it out from under the gift when you flip it.

Follow the steps in the basic instructions to fold in the sides. The only difference is depending on your folds, you may need to fold in extra tissue paper. In this case, I needed to fold the yellow triangle over the blue.

folding the side of the present wrapped in tissue paper

This is what this side should look like once folded.

showing the side of the wrapped present with the three colors of tissue paper

You can either stop here or add a ribbon to your present.

finished gift wrapped box with blue orange and yellow tissue paper forming triangles in an origami style gift wrap

Adding 2 Colors of Ribbon to a Present

For an extra splash of color, you can add 2 or even more colors to your ribbon and bow. For this present, I used a white ribbon for the main color, but then cut off a small strip of yellow ribbon.

cutting glitter yellow tulle next to a origami style wrapped present with white tulle wrapped around it as ribbon

Tie the extra strip of ribbon into the bow.

tying white tulle around a strip of yellow tulle to form a bow on a present

Then same as before, open up the bow to make it nice and fluffy. Now your origami style wrapped gift is ready!

holding the finished origami style wrapped present with blue yellow and orange tissue paper forming triangles and a ribbon made of white tulle

Another Variation to the Origami Style Gift Wrapping Technique

This variation is similar to the above, but a little bit simpler. This was actually the most common design we did at the toy store because it’s quick, but still looks great.

Use just two colors of tissue paper and fold the first into a straight line. Then line up the second one with the first and fold it back at an angle, holding the bottom corner.

folding orange tissue paper backwards to form a triangle and reveal a yellow stripe

How to Wrap Bottles or a Cylinder Present

Wrapping a bottle or another cylinder shaped present may sound challenging, but I think they’re actually easier and more fun to wrap. This technique also isn’t limited to just bottles and cylinders, it’s a great way to wrap any odd shaped present.

And even though I use tissue paper here, you can use the same method with traditional wrapping paper.

holding the finished present wrapped in blue tissue paper with silver curled ribbon and the title reads "gift wrapping guide - how to wrap bottles"

Materials to Wrap a Bottle or Cylinder Present with Curled Ribbons

  • 2 Colors of Tissue Paper (I recommend getting a pack of different colors such as this one so you can choose from them)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (for a more clean look, get the clear tape like this one, which is the one I use)
  • 2 Colors of Curling Ribbon (I used silver and white for this one, but I recommend getting a pack of a bunch of different colors such as this one so you have options to match the tissue paper)
  • The Present!

Steps to Wrap a Bottle or Cylinder Shaped Present

For this one I’m using 2 colors of tissue paper to give it a bit more of a pop, but you can also just use one. Just make sure you can’t see the gift through the paper. If you can, add another layer.

Arrange the paper so that one is slightly to the side of the other by a half inch to an inch. This will create a stripe to the finished present so you can make it as wide as you would like.

dark blue and light blue pieces of tissue paper on top of each other, but offset by an inch

Place your bottle or other cylinder shaped present on top and fold over the side to see where the stripe will end up. I typically like it to be off-center.

Tip: I didn’t do it here with this whiskey bottle, but I do recommend wrapping at least the base of the bottle in bubble wrap first, just in case.

folding over the two blue pieces of tissue paper around the bottle

Once you like where it is, wrap the other side around the bottle and tape it down.

taping down blue tissue paper

Then wrap the other side of the tissue paper around the bottle, making sure it’s all snug around the item.

blue tissue paper wrapped around the bottle showing a light blue stripe

Flip it over and just as in the basic instructions, fold the top paper down and tape it to the bottom of the bottle.

folding and taping the side to the bottom of the bottle

Fold in the sides just as before. Even though a bottle or other cylinder present has round edges, treat the furthest distance as the corner. As long as you do the same thing on both sides, it will look even.

Don’t forget to fold in the edge!

folding over the edge of the tissue paper

Once you tape up the bottom, you can simply wrap a ribbon around the present. You can use a tulle ribbon like in the origami fold gifts or you can use the curling ribbon.

Bring the ribbon under the gift, right above the top of the bottle neck. Then tie it into a knot and carefully pull tight.

Tip: To add multiple colors of curling ribbon, cut off 1-2 feet of ribbon, depending on the size of the gift and length of curl you want. Then center it over the ribbon wrapped around the gift and tie the main ribbon into a knot around it.

tying silver ribbon around the top of the present

How to Curl Ribbon on a Present

Curling ribbon is actually incredibly easy and so satisfying! Simply open up the scissors and hold them in one hand under the ribbon. Hold the base of the ribbon with your other hand.

placing open scissors underneath the ribbon

With the hand holding the scissors, gently press your thumb against the ribbon to hold it in place. Then pull up, pulling the scissors along the ribbon all the way to the end.

pulling the scissors up the ribbon with the thumb on top

Once you reach past the end of the ribbon, it will spring back into a beautiful curl!

Repeat the process for the other ribbons.

showing the curled ribbon around the present

To finish the present, cut off any extra tissue paper from the top.

cutting the extra tissue paper at the top of the present

Open up the top a bit so it’s not so tight and then your present is ready to gift!

holding the finished present wrapped in blue tissue paper with silver curled ribbon

How to Wrap Circle Presents and Odd Shaped Presents

Instead of using the previous method to wrap a cylinder present or bottle you can use this technique to wrap circle presents and other odd and irregular shaped presents. This method will make it look like a traditionally wrapped gift. It uses regular wrapping paper, but with a fun origami design!

finished gift wrapped frisbee golf disc with red and white striped wrapping paper and a stripe of origami fold and the title reads "gift wrapping guide - how to wrap odd shaped presents"

Materials to Wrap a Circle Present or Odd Shaped Presents

  • Wrapping Paper – Be sure to get good quality wrapping paper. I cannot express to you enough how frustrating it is to attempt to wrap a gift with cheap paper. I highly recommend getting some with cut lines on the back to make it easy. In my experience, those also tend to be good quality (such as these that can be used for holiday presents and birthday presents)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (for a more clean look, get the clear tape like this one, which is the one I use)
  • Tulle Ribbon, optional (I recommend getting a pack like this one with a bunch of different colors to match your paper)
  • The Present!

Steps to Wrap a Circle Present

Start wrapping the circle present the usual way by taping it to one side and then folding over the edge of the other. In my case, this was a hand dyed frisbee golf disc (and I had 5 of these circular gifts to wrap)!

folding over the edge of the wrapping paper to wrap a dyed frisbee golf disc

You can either leave it as a simple gift and tape the edge over onto the bottom. Or you can make this the top by doing an origami fold.

You can either fold it back over itself at an angle or since I didn’t actually have as much paper for this one, I folded a thin straight line.

folding the wrapping paper back to form a stripe

Tip: If you don’t have much wrapping paper or if it keeps shifting, fold the tape into a circle (sticky side out) and place it on the bottom edge of the paper. Then tape it down.

adding tape to the edge of the wrapping paper to wrap a dyed frisbee golf disc

Wrapping the Sides of a Circular Present

The key to wrapping the sides of a circular present is repeating the normal steps to wrap the sides of a gift. Normally you fold the corners in, but because it’s a circle you have to basically make your own corners.

Therefore for your first fold, you’re creating the “corners.” Fold the side at an angle so that it just barely touches the edge of the circle (as shown on the left side of the gift). Then fold the side again so that it lines up just under the bottom of the gift (as shown on the right side).

folding the edge of red and white striped wrapping paper around a circular object

Then fold over the edge as normal (as shown on the bottom). Then fold it all up and tape it to the bottom (as shown on the top).

folding over the edge to form a clean line of wrapping paper around a circular object

You can add a ribbon, bow, or leave it as is for your recipient!

finished gift wrapped frisbee golf disc with red and white striped wrapping paper and a stripe of origami fold

A Third Way to Wrap an Odd Shaped Present

Another way to wrap an odd or irregular shaped present is to simply put it in a box! I do this all the time if the gift is obvious. For example, I gave a bunch of hand dyed frisbee discs as gifts this year, but wrapping them all like above was a dead giveaway. I therefore put some in boxes and then wrapped the box so it wasn’t obvious what was inside.

So if you would rather wrap a box instead of dealing with an odd shaped gift, then simply put it in a box and wrap that!

What to Do if You Run Out of Wrapping Paper

If you run out of wrapping paper, don’t worry! Step one is to see if you have scraps of the same paper. If so, fold in the edges of that paper. Then use double sided tape or form the tape into a circle (sticky side out) and place it on the bottom of the scrap piece. Lastly, tape it to where your original paper ran out. It will simply look as though it was a planned origami fold, similar to the wrapped circular gift!

The second option is to use a completely different paper, but again you can fold in the edges and tape it from the bottom to where the original paper ran out.

More Gift Related Projects and Ideas

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holding the finished wrapped present with rainbow wrapping paper and a tulle bow and the title reads "gift wrapping guide - how to perfectly wrap any present"

How to Wrap a Present - Gift Wrapping 101

Learn the art of gift wrapping and how to perfectly wrap any present. Just a few simple steps and you'll have a perfect present wrapped in a ribbon.
Yield 1 Wrapped Present
5 from 1 vote
Project Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins

Materials
  

  • Wrapping Paper
  • Tulle Ribbon
  • Tape
  • The Present!

Equipment

  • Scissors

Instructions
 

  • Place the wrapping paper face down on the table and place the gift on top.
    Cut the paper to size. Make sure it can wrap around with at least an inch extra. Then on the other side, if it’s a box you want the sides to be just smaller than the height of the box. If the item is flat like this dog toy, you want roughly an inch on each side.
    Wrapping Paper, The Present!
    cutting paper with a nylabone durachew dog toy on top
  • Tape down one side of the paper.
    Tape
    taping rainbow striped paper
  • Fold over the edge of the other side of the paper to make a clean edge.
    folding over the edge of rainbow striped paper
  • Fold it over and tape it.
    taping the rainbow wrapping paper around the gift

Folding the Sides of the Gift

  • On one side, fold the top paper down, creasing the edge it’s folding over.
    folding the center edge of the paper down
  • Push into one corner and down to make a crease from the corner of the gift to the end of the paper. Repeat this on the other side.
    folding the side corner of the wrapping paper
  • Bring in one corner and line up the crease with the top. Crease the outside and along the bottom edge. Repeat this on the other side.
    folding in the corner of the wrapping paper against the box
  • Fold in the edge of the triangle formed by the previous folds.
    folding the edge of the corner of the paper on the side of the gift
  • Lift up the edge and tape it to the bottom of the gift.
    taping the paper down to the side of the gift
  • Repeat the process on the other side of the gift.
    the finished wrapped present wrapped in rainbow striped wrapping paper

Wrap the Present with Ribbon

  • Pull the ribbon under the gift and cut enough to make a bow.
    Tulle Ribbon
    the gift on top of yellow glitter tulle
  • Tie the ribbon into a bow and open up the ends.
    opening the bow made of yellow glitter tulle
  • Now your gift is perfectly wrapped in ribbon and ready to be gifted!
    holding the finished wrapped present with rainbow wrapping paper and a tulle bow
Keyword Gift, Ribbon, Tulle, Wrapping Paper

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