Top Tips

Wrapping Made Easy

How to wrap this season's trickiest shapes with Jane Means

With the festive season fast approaching, at Cartwright & Butler we have lots of tasty treats that make the perfect gifts for your loved ones – from jam-packed hampers, to Christmas cake and mince pies, sweets and biscuit treats. Though these delicious treats taste incredible, they can often be tricky to wrap.  

That’s why we have teamed up with gift-wrapping specialist and author, Jane Means, who has run courses and designed gift-wrapping products for almost 25 years – to offer you tips and advice on how to ensure those tricky to wrap gifts look picture perfect under the tree!   

We’ve outlined Jane’s top tips below, along with some video tutorials on how to create perfectly presentable gifts for your loved ones.

What is the best way to wrap a hamper?

The best piece of advice for wrapping a hamper – which often have tricky to wrap handles or awkward shapes – would be to use a really flexible wrap that doesn’t look messy when it creases. Cellophane and tissue mould around the shape really well and can be bought from your local florist. That way, you can keep the wrap simple and then add extra decoration and ribbon to make an eye-catching feature.

What’s the best approach for wrapping a circular tin?

The important thing to remember when wrapping a circular tin is to ensure that you have cut your paper to size – otherwise it can end up looking very messy. I find pleating is a really effective, yet simple way of wrapping circular tins – it looks very impressive and like you’ve gone to real effort in your presentation.  It is important that every pleat goes into the centre of the tin and make sure you use a thick, good quality durable paper as the pleating method does involve some tension and pulling to get crisp lines.

What about when wrapping tricky jars such as traditional sweetie jars?

When it comes to wrapping colourful, tasty presents such as sweets – especially when they come in lovely glass jars - my top tip would be to go for something fun and eye-catching. Things like paper or linen napkins with bright patterns look great – and I always tie in a candy cane or bright decoration to add an extra element of fun. Simply place the item into the centre and gather the wrapping round, securing in the centre with a bright ribbon and decoration.

Are there any alternative ways to wrap standard gift tins to make them look special?

A super easy, yet effective way to wrap a gift tin is to make a wrapping paper ‘lid’ for both the base and the top of the tin. If you then add a thick cardboard strip around the centre with double-sided tape, to cover where the two lids meet, it covers any mess or untidy edges. Then simply secure in place with ribbon and add a decoration such as twigs or cinnamon sticks to perfect that professional feel.  

Do you have any handy wrapping hacks when tackling the Christmas haul?

I just think Christmas is always such a busy time, so if you want to create beautifully presented gifts, ensure you don’t leave it until the last minute. Consider your wrapping materials early and do as much preparation as you can. When you start gift wrapping, ensure you have everything ready and work on a table – definitely avoid working on the floor. I always love to play my favourite CD and have a glass of Sherry on the go – to really get into the Christmas spirit.

What are the most popular colour themes for wrapping this Christmas?

There are so many different colour themes this year – really, the world is your oyster. Metallics are always a firm favourite with rose gold and copper being a huge trend. Navy is a popular choice and perfect for masculine presents. Teamed with a vibrant red ribbon this looks eye-catching and stylish. There’s also a huge rise in people considering the environmental impact of gift wrapping and opting for recyclable paper and labels.

Do you think you have to be a neat freak to be good at wrapping?

I wouldn’t say you have to be neat to wrap well, but I do find that attention to detail is really important. Things such as ensuring you cut the correct amount of paper and ribbon and firmly creasing the paper as you go along all help to create lovely looking gifts. Try to keep your workspace clean and tidy and always cut the ribbon with sharp scissors to avoid fraying.

Does beautiful festive wrapping have to cost a fortune?

Your gifts can look stunning even when you wrap on a tight budget. Mundane materials such as newspaper, brown paper and even white print paper can look eye-catching when teamed with a rich fabric ribbon in red or another strong festive colour. You could even personalise your own paper by photo copying some photographs of friends and family... they will love it!

What is the most imaginatively wrapped gift that you’ve ever been given?

Several years ago, one of my London gift wrapping team presented me with a beautiful gift. She had wrapped it in orange crêpe paper and handmade roses for the top of the box. To this day I still admire this masterpiece on my mantelpiece and can’t bear to open it!

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