Kirsten's method of wrapping presents with tape

Kirsten here! A few years ago, I came across a Japanese gift-wrapping method on the internet. With this “wrapping hack,” you can wrap your present diagonally if you don’t have quite enough paper for the traditional method. I tried it out and loved the results—it looks so much cleaner compared to my previous method. 

Unfortunately, I ran into a problem: I could only find two kinds of YouTube videos on this wrapping method. One was the type described above (a hack for using less wrapping paper), but these videos never specified how much wrapping paper was needed. The other videos I found were instructional but had nothing to do with saving paper. These videos did specify how much paper should be used for each box, but they all used almost double the wrapping paper needed for the traditional method.

Despite this lack of help, I figured it out myself—or so I thought. I wrapped the majority of my Christmas presents using this technique, and then, all of a sudden, I lost my touch. My technique was no longer working, so I eventually gave up. 

But two years later, I’m back! I sat down with a stack of boxes and several rolls of wrapping paper, and I did my best to crack the code—and it seems to have worked. Follow this tutorial to wrap your gifts beautifully with less wrapping paper. (You’re welcome.)

Step 1: Choose your wrapping paper

You can use any type of wrapping paper with this wrapping technique. Personally, I’ve found that thinner wrapping paper gives you cleaner corners and edges, making your present look seamless. It’s also easier to manipulate thinner paper for the corner seams, so I think it’s the best choice for beginners.

Choose your christmas wrapping paper

Step 2: Cut paper

Lay the box diagonally, perpendicular to the corner of the paper. Line up the point of the paper with the middle of the box, and make sure when the paper is lifted over the box, it covers both of the corners.

Next, turn the box onto its side (away from the corner). Mark the paper with a pencil a little past both of the box corners. Cut out the paper (it should be more or less a square).

Line up the point of the paper
Try using the least amount of paper
Cut out your wrapping paper

Step 3: Wrap sides

Place the box upside down, diagonally, in the middle of the paper. Pull up the corners of the paper over the two longer sides of the box. Make sure all four corners of the box are evenly covered with paper (ideally with a little extra). Once you’re happy with the position of the box, fold both sides of paper over the box and tape it in place. Because this wrapping style is so sleek, I like to go the extra mile and use double-sided tape to secure everything without ruining the overall look with visible tape lines.

For narrower boxes, you may need to fold the point over so all of the paper’s edges stay on the bottom of the box (and don’t overlap to the top).

Wrap the paper over your gift
Wrapping a gift with double-sided tape

Step 4: Fold ends

This is where things get a little more technical, so this step may take some practice before you master it.

First, tuck the little corners down over the ends of the box and smooth them out. Then, with your left forefinger, gently pull the paper from the side and around the end. Pinch the bottom corner of the box to secure the beginning of the fold, then line up the fold of the paper with the top corner and crease. Smooth out the fold all the way down, then smooth out the inside fold that’s tucked away beneath the paper. Once everything is creased, let go of this corner and repeat the steps with the opposite one. 

When both corners are creased, pull the point of the paper up and over the top of the box and secure it with tape. 

Repeat this step with the opposite end of the box.

Tuck the little corner down over the ends of the box
Fold the ends
How to wrap a gift
Pull the point of the wrapping paper up

Step 5: Finishing touches

Flip the box right-side up, and finish it off with a ribbon and tag.

Add a bow to your christmas present


Todd's method of wrapping presents without tape

Hi, I’m Todd. Today we’re going over how to wrap a gift without using tape. It’s simpler than it seems and is reminiscent of the time of brown paper packages tied up with string. I first started wrapping without tape while wrapping a gift for a one-year-old. I wanted him to be able to open his gift easily by himself—his parents could show him how to tug on a strand of ribbon, and then the paper would fall away easily. Now, I wrap that way for everyone—young, old, and every age in between! Wrapping presents without tape is easier than you think, and as a bonus, you can reuse the paper since the wrapping doesn’t have to be ripped open. Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Choose wrapping paper and cut to size

As with Kirsten’s method, you can use any paper—from newspaper to heavy paper—like we used on our wooden paper tray project and sourced from our friends at Rifle Paper Company. I prefer a heavier paper because it holds creases well and won’t tear as easily on the corners of a box.

Position the box or item on the wrapping paper. If the box is longer than it is wide, line it up with the width of the wrapping paper roll. 

Set the box on the paper’s edge, then flip it toward the spool three times so you have enough to cover all four sides. Add at least an inch for overlap and mark this spot.

For the width, allow enough margin to wrap up the sides slightly more than halfway, then mark this width.

Cut the paper with scissors as straight as you can (it doesn’t need to be perfectly straight, especially if you’ve left a little extra margin).

Cut your wrapping paper

Step 2: Fold long sides

Position the box upside down and centered on the cut paper. Fold one long edge back on itself by half an inch. This gives a nice, finished, straight edge for the seam. Starting with the unfolded side, wrap the paper over the box to about the halfway point.

Now do the same with the other side, overlapping the first side roughly in the middle of the box. Hold the seam together with one hand. 

Creasing the paper along the long edges of the box will help it stay closed while folded and gives the wrapped package a nice, crisp look. Thicker paper will hold a crease better, but you can use any kind of paper you like—just be careful to make sure it doesn’t rip at the corners if you’re using thinner paper.

Fold the long sides of the wrapping paper
Creasing the paper along the long edges of the box

Step 3: Fold the ends

While holding the overlap from the last step closed, fold and crease the paper into a box fold on one end. Fold the overhanging top pieces downward, and crease them at the vertical edges of the box. Fold in the paper sides at this end and crease the folds, then fold up the bottom and crease. Repeat these steps for the other end. Don’t worry if your hand slips and the paper opens up a bit—your creases will help you realign everything easily.

Fold the ends of the wrapping paper
Fold the remaining corners

Step 4: Tie up with ribbon or string

Your present is now wrapped up with nice crisp edges, but it won’t stay closed until you tie it up. Time for some ribbon, jute twine, or whatever tying material you prefer!

To determine what length of ribbon you need, slip the ribbon under the box. Spool out enough to wrap up and around the box, crossing the ribbon and going the other way around to the starting point. Leave enough excess to tie a bow—when in doubt, overestimate; you can always cut off extra later.

Wrap the ribbon around the box and tie with a simple bow. Adjust the paper if needed by retucking and neatening the ends. I like to tie the ribbon closed with a single loop, and I cut off the strand that isn’t part of the loop once the knot is tied. This allows the recipient to simply pull on the tail of the loop to untie the package—and seconds later, the gift wrap falls away to reveal the present.

I first started using this method of gift wrapping with small kids in mind—I wanted to make it easy for them to open their own gifts without fighting knots or massive amounts of tape. But I’ve since learned this method also works well for those who suffer from arthritis. As an added bonus, my sister-in-law likes this method because she can reuse the wrapping paper. Now that you’ve learned how to wrap gifts without tape, you can do the same! 

Tie up with ribbon or string
Wrapped present without tape

And there you have it! Which method will you try this year?

Add ribbon to your christmas gift
Japanese gift-wrapping method
How to Wrap Christmas Gifts (With or Without Tape)

Now that you know two new methods of wrapping Christmas presents, you’re going to need a tree to place all your neatly wrapped gifts under. Check out our tree comparison guide for advice on choosing a live tree, or DIY your own wooden tree with or without lights.