The art of gift-wrapping

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been on a learning roll. And I thoroughly feel like a learning mum…Hmm, hey what am I saying, all mums are learning mums, we learn best on the job right?

To give my creative brain cells a jiggle, I attended a gift-wrapping course with Jane Means recently, and it turned out to be pretty fun (pun intended) with ribbons and paper and old-fashioned music scores.

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Jane was a lovely host, and she shared many helpful tips on how to get the wrapping right, and ALSO…how to make the gift EXTRA EXTRA special for that SUPER special someone.

Here are some tips and ideas that stuck in my head:

1) Always stick the end of the paper at the edge of the box or the present (with double-sided tape), so that you have an invisible seam-line. (I used to just stick it right in the centre of the gift box, or leaning towards one side.)

2) Once you’ve taped the wrapping paper together, crease the line edges of the box by pressing your two fingers down every edge (think of it as the four outer corners of the box). This will help you get a clean wrapped silhouette.

3) Think about embellishments, paper design, matching / contrasting colours when you’re gift-wrapping. It’s surprising how the daily bits and bobs you have lying around at home might actually come in handy. Like these loose buttons that help to hold a pinwheel or the music score flower together, and complete the look.

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4) Wired ribbons are great to create luxurious bows. Mix up gold and any other rich and deep colour, and you get a lovely luscious bow.

5) Japanese pleats are a simple and great way to dress up any boring gift or wrapping paper! (If you want to add oomph, just make it in a fan shape by making diagonal folds on both ends of the wrap.

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She also taught us how to make gift bags from scratch. These are quite fun to do and would save you some money the next time you have an odd-shaped gift to give away.

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Here’s my favourite embellishment. Music score flowers! Just use a strip of the score, and divide it into 4 squares. You’ll also need a thin craft wire and a button.

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Step 1: Fold the square into a triangle, then fold it again.

Step 2: Hold it with the long side up, then fold it in half again.

Step 3: Now with the short side up, fold it in half. (You’ll get a shape that looks a tad like an aeroplane.)

Step 4: Holding the pointy end, use a pair of scissors to cut a round shape off the top.

Step 5: Repeat with all the other squares. Except make your final cut bigger with each piece, so that you get varying sizes of flower petals.

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What I really liked about the 4-hour course is that she didn’t spend half the session harping on how to get the perfect ribbon. (It actually did cross my mind that it could be a session where I’m supposed to master the art of ribbon tying.) On the contrary, she left the ribbon right tothe end, and gave us all helpful tips on how to tie if you’re a double-loop tyer, or a single one. So there isn’t only ONE way to tie a ribbon! “It’s quite simple,” she said, “just practise.”

Here’s my imperfect ribbon, a glorious red one, if I may add. With a bit more practice, it should be all good. The trick is the tuck the tails how you want it, BEFORE you tighten the knot. 😉

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I really love this finish too – the tailored bow ribbon. It’s really simple to do. Here’s a tutorial. (PS. The image on the right below was a capture of Jane’s new book Giftwrapped. Love the lace detail!)

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The session has also inspired me to put a bit more thought into my gifts, and the way they are presented. These pretty and simple ideas will definitely come in handy when Christmas season hits.

But you know what, I learnt something bigger too. I learnt that creativity isn’t about perfection. It’s about being bold and experimental; it’s about taking risks and just giving it a go anyway; it’s about having fun and expressing yourself.

Being mums and dads is stressful business. Injecting a bit of fun and creativity in my daily life helps me keep the stress in check.

Get more info on Jane’s Singapore courses here, or more of her gift-wrapping ideas here.

I was provided a complimentary session with Jane for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are mine.

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