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Gifting #2: Boxes & Ribbons

Updated: Apr 15, 2022


  • Boxes are great if you're planning on giving several things that will probably have inconsistent shapes as it saves on wrapping paper and it's MUCH easier to wrap. As I've said, I'm big on re-use for both economic and environmental reasons. Why pay $10 for a box when you probably have tons of boxes from deliveries? Why buy another box that may be waxed and un-recyclable when plain brown delivery boxes can be zhooshed up pretty easily with a pretty reusable ribbon?

  • Packing the box... It's always good to make sure things don't move around so they don't break or scratch. Where possible, I reuse any padding like air bags (usually biodegradable), bubble wrap or thick paper from deliveries, too, because they've been tried and tested to keep things safe so why buy more and encourage more waste?!

  • Final touch when packing... Once packed, I like to cover the top of the items with something to add a little more excitement when unboxing - for this I usually go for gifting tissue paper - it sits best as it conforms to the given space. If you need to buy it, individual bags of tissue aren't usually that expensive but if you can, just get a jumbo pack from somewhere like Costco - less plastic wrap, more variety. They're usually packed flat so storage is easier than rolls of wrapping paper. TRICK: I learned a trick about giving tissue body from a retail assistant a while back: pinch it in the middle then flick it hard

  • "Wrapping"... If the box is pretty clean of markings, I don't always wrap them because I like the rustic look. If there are any labels, they can be peeled off with a little patience. All you need is clear packing tape to seal the box and a ribbon and/or washi tape to pretty it up. TRICK: Washi tape is a type of patterned paper tape - think smooth, pretty masking tape. Last year I just ran washi tape along the taped edges to give the box a bit of festive colour. It's also a great alternative to normal tape when using wrapping paper but word of warning: washi tape is usually narrower and not as adhesive so won't work with thicker paper.

  • Ribbons... Personally, I like material ribbons because they're easier to manipulate and can be reused for hair, arts and crafts or just to tie things (like rolls of wrapping paper). Plastic ribbons are cheaper but hard if not impossible sometimes to untie and once they've been used, it's hard to get the kinks out so more often than not they're just thrown out. TRICKS: You can get creative with ribbons and use them purely for aesthetics by folding them into flowers or bows etc. then sticking them towards the corner of the box, which may make sense if the box is wrapped, but if it isn't, a wide ribbon is most useful in covering the sealing tape and reinforcing the box. You can also slot a gift tag or bauble (yes from the ) onto the ribbon to hold them in place and a bit of bling!

Tying it up...

  1. To run the ribbon in only one direction, roll the ribbon out and wrap it around the box along the tape and leave an extra 15-40cm on each side before cutting if you want to tie a bow - this depends on the width of the ribbon and size of bow. I've got about 22cm for my 3.8cm width ribbon for a small bow. TRICK: To prevent too much fraying and to make it look prettier, I cut the edge on an angle - if you've got one slanted edge, just line the other side up to it and cut to get the same angle.

  2. Interlace the edges like you're making a knot and twist the ribbon edges so the pattern is facing up before tying a bow. Because I start with the right then go over it with the left, the left edge needs to be a little longer than the right.

  3. Once the bow forms, twist the edge with pattern facing down so the pattern faces up - for me that was the right edge. If you used the lining up trick above, the slants should be symmetric

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