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No matter your level of expertise, you can always learn something new about gift wrapping. Maybe you simply want to master the basics, or perhaps you're aiming to earn the title of Christmas queen (or king!) by showing off an advanced skill or two.
That's where gift-wrapping artist Alton DuLaney comes in. Over the years on our show, he's shared all kinds of gift-wrapping tips and tricks — from the best way to wrap a traditional gift box, to DIY ideas for personalizing your gift wrapping for family members, friends and loved ones.
Before you try your hand at the mid- and expert-level projects (which you can see Alton demonstrate in the video below), learn how to wrap a basic gift box.
The good news is that minimalist design is in, according to Alton. So when wrapping any kind of rectangular or square-shaped gift, it's easy to create a sleek and simple look. This gift wrap uses neutral colors in muted tones like gray and silver, for example.
Look how lovely!
"If you're going to do a minimalist wrap, it has to be done right," Alton explains. "All the attention is on the detail." Here are Alton's top tips to keep in mind:
HOW TO WRAP A GIFT BOX
1. CUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PAPER
When deciding how much gift wrap to cut from the roll, you don't want too much or too little paper. Basically, you want to make sure that you have just enough paper to fully cover the gift on each side.
(Think you don't have enough paper to cover the box? Try this diagonal gift wrapping hack that the internet is obsessed with.)
If you lay down the box on top of the paper before cutting, you can use your hands as an approximate measure. Alton says that you usually want about four fingers worth of space on each side of an average shirt box.
2. FOLD THE BOTTOM EDGE
After making the cut, the bottom of the paper might not be completely straight. Alton suggests folding over the bottom edge of the paper so you have a clean place to start.
3. LINE IT UP WITH THE BOX
Then, pull that folded bottom "seam" all the way to the top edge of your box, and fold the top half of the paper down as well. Crease the paper and use matte finish gift wrap tape to seal along the edge.
4. CREASE YOUR CORNERS
Next, turn the box up so it's standing on the taped side, and fold down the corners of the paper to create flaps — or "wings" — on either side.
5. FOLD AND SEAL
Fold up the flaps so they line up with the edges of the box, and seal with more tape.
Once your box is wrapped, you can add one last touch. Embellish by wrapping simple twine or yarn around the box and sticking in a sprig of berries or fresh rosemary from your garden.
"I love decorating with herbs," Rachael says, "[it gives the gift] a lovely holiday aroma!"
PERSONALIZED GIFT WRAPPING IDEAS
Alton loves the idea of using old maps to wrap gift boxes for a personalized touch. You'll use the same steps from above to do this. You can embellish your gift with ribbon and add an airplane ornament for an extra nod to the theme.
FAMILY PHOTO BUTTON
Especially if you can't be with a loved one during the holidays, this is a super sweet way to show them you care. "Adding small, sentimental touches can really personalize a gift wrap," Alton says. Make a color copy of an old family photo and snap it into a ready-made button. Pin it onto a festive ribbon tied on the outside of the gift box, and voila!
Watch the video above to see how Alton uses a small box, extra pieces of cardboard and craft paper to wrap a gift so it looks like a little dog house, complete with a cotton "smoke plume" coming from the chimney. This adorable DIY is perfect for wrapping gifts for furry friends (their owners will appreciate the effort, we promise), but you can also make it look like a regular house if you prefer.
Ready to move on to the tougher stuff, like oddly-shaped, lumpy and bulky gifts? Alton's got you covered here, too.
GIFT WRAPPING HACK: RECYCLE THE EMPTY ROLL WHEN WRAPPING GIFTS
Alton's number one tip for wrapping tricky smaller items is to recycle the wrapping paper tube itself! Here's how:
- Once you've used all the wrapping paper, take the empty gift wrap roll and cut slots about every half inch around each end of the roll.
- Stuff your gifts inside the roll and tuck the flaps down.
- Secure the ends with tape to seal the tube. Use butcher paper to roll around the tube, securing the ends with tape, and then twist the excess paper.
You can have fun with this method and get as creative as you like. Need some ideas? Click here to see Alton demonstrate how to make your gift wrap look like an adorable hot dog.
Recycling empty gift wrap tubes and clean boxes also comes in handy when tackling large oddly-shaped or lumpy gifts. Alton's strategy for wrapping something like a vacuum? "Don't look at the whole big thing and get overwhelmed. Start breaking it down visually into little parts," he says.
For the vacuum, Alton wrapped an empty gift wrap roll around the stick to give it stability. "Now you have a shape to wrap," he points out. He also recommends cutting up cardboard boxes to make different shapes and then wrapping.
HOW TO WRAP WINE & LIQUOR BOTTLES
Gifting wine, liquor or other cylindrical-shaped bottles this holiday season? Check out how to wrap a wine bottle like a pineapple here and watch the entire video below to see how Alton wraps a bottle of scotch three ways — including by using royal tartan paper and extra cardboard rolls to make it look like a Christmas cracker.
WATCH: How To Wrap Gifts of All Shapes + Sizes
Want even more creative ways to wrap gifts? Check out how to wrap a present like a pizza (hint: start by recycling a pizza box!). And see Alton surprise Rach by wrapping her entire kitchen back in Season 5 — proving that it is possible to wrap literally ANYTHING.