Wrap up your bargains like a pro,
If you plan to buy holiday presents on Black Friday, these tips help get them expert-ready
You’ve begun your holiday shopping and eventually you’ll have to wrap it all up. Torontobased gift stylist Corinna vanGerwen, who provides professional gift styling services for brands and companies, provides a few trends and tips that should help alleviate some of the stress that comes from a mountain of gifts — and make you look like a pro.
First things first, you need your materials. While gift wrapping trends don’t seem to move as fast as fashion, there are some vanGerwen is seeing as she sources materials for her projects. “I think there’s starting to be more of a move toward richer colours, more opulent textures and particularly for the holidays, you start seeing more shimmer,” she explains. Warm metallics and deep, rich hues, like forest green and rose, are finding their way to paper design. Nevertheless, people still have their favourites and vanGerwen believes the traditional colours will always be the most popular. However, these, too, have shifted a bit, based on clothing and decor trends. Forest green has replaced that straight-up, pure green or vivid lime, while burgundy and wine colours are being used as opposed to a cherry red. Black is an unexpected hue that people may be shy of using for the holidays, but it works well with gold. “Black with dark green velvet ribbon is stunning,” she says. Floral patterns are also hot right now. These aren’t your traditional poinsettia, but a little more modern and unexpected. Before buying, check the roll’s weight. Thin papers rip easily. Another hard paper to work with is paper with glitter. It’s eyecatching, but getting tape to stick to it can be problematic.
VanGerwen sources her papers from wholesalers, but she also favours a few retailers, such as the Paper Place, which ships across Canada, and Paper-Ya on Granville Island in Vancouver. Another favourite is a company called Minted, which offers stickers and tags, and allows you to customize some papers with your own photos. And Rifle Paper Co. which is available at various retailers across the country.
When wrapping, messy corners can be a frustration. However, vanGerwen says this comes from two things: too much paper and not pulling the paper tight enough around the box. “As long as you cut the right size of paper and are folding it smoothly and tightly along the box, you should be fine,” she says.
Double-sided tape is favoured so you can hide it on the inside, rather than it showing along the seam. Though if you have a fun washi tape with a pattern, you might want it to show. In this case, vanGerwen will put the seam on the top of the gift, rather than the bottom, so the tape becomes a little feature detail.
For hard-to-wrap items, use her special technique: “Layer two to four sheets of tissue paper, place gift on the corner and roll it like a burrito.”
For toppers, vanGerwen likes to add a sprig of cedar, fir or other seasonal greenery. Flowers, both paper or real, can also be used, depending on the style you’re looking to achieve. And then there’s ribbon. “One of my go-to ribbons is grosgrain,” vanGerwen says. “It’s inexpensive, it comes in hundreds of different colours, you can find it almost anywhere and it works really nicely.”
Coloured mailing labels are a simple solution that vanGerwen will use, though she also loves to support small letterpress makers for special gifts.
And if you absolutely can’t stand wrapping? Use a box. VanGerwen points to the patterned boxes you can find in stores. Tie on a ribbon and voila.
Add toppers to your wrapped gifts, such as ornaments, bells or fresh greenery, and attach them with a ribbon for visual appeal.
If you really don’t like to wrap, find a decorated box or bag to fit your colour scheme. Buffalo check gift bag (right), $3.50, available in stores and online at Indigo.ca.
Go the half-and-half route to save time — wrap half your gifts in paper and enclose the other half in decorative boxes or bags.