Learn tips and tricks for how to wrap oddly shaped gifts without any special skills.
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How To Wrap Oddly Shaped Gifts Without Any Magical Powers

It’s not as hard as you think.

by Lauren Schumacker and Ashley Jones
Originally Published: 

A few years ago, I bought a special gift that came packaged in a tube. Because it wasn't flat or in a box, I had no idea how to wrap it. The recipient ended up with a great gift in less-than-presentable packaging, and I ended up with a crash course in how to wrap oddly shaped gifts. This knowledge is an essential part of surviving the holidays as an adult, otherwise your kids might wind up with a bunch of unwrapped toys under the tree because you don't know how to wrap them.

From spherical objects like soccer balls, to wine bottles, fluffy teddy bears, and little trinkets that just aren't square enough, sometimes gift-wrapping can present a challenge. You could always put your gift in a box or gift bag to make gift giving (and life) so much easier, but then you have to hunt down the perfect box or bag. You can even utilize the "just-stick-a-bow-on-it" method if you want to, but what if you want to actually wrap the item itself? It's unquestionably more fun to open a gift that has been wrapped than one that's been stuck in a bag (or simply topped with a bow). Follow these tips for how to wrap your oddly shaped gifts and you’ll be a regular gift-wrap guru in no time.


Make Your Own Wrapping Paper "Gift Bag"

Did you know that you can actually create an envelope or gift bag that'll fit any weirdly-shaped gift you may be planning to give this year? According to Zulily lifestyle expert Amy Goodman, all you need is a roll of medium-weight paper, tape, and scissors. Once you’ve crafted the envelope shape, simply slip your oddly shaped gift inside and tape it closed. This is a great gift wrap hack for things like sporting equipment, clothing that doesn't come in a box, or anything else that's just less-than-square. A big bow on top will also work wonders to hide the weird shape if you want.


Use A Tissue Paper Base Layer

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For cylindrical gifts, a base layer of tissue paper can be your saving grace this holiday season. It’s actually one of the neatest (as in, not messy) ways to wrap your to-go coffee mug or any other cylindrically-shaped gift where wrapping paper might otherwise rip. Simply roll your object in a few layers of tissue paper and tie off the ends with pretty ribbons. It'll wind up looking something like one of those old-time Christmas poppers filled with candy. Then, you can cover the middle section of your gift with a swatch of wrapping paper if you want to give your present an extra boost of holiday cheer.


Switch Up Your Fabric

When you’re trying to wrap an awkwardly shaped gift, sometimes it’s best to skip the wrapping paper altogether in favor of more forgiving fabrics that will take on the shape of your gift without ripping apart. While wrapping paper and tape are Christmastime staples, they aren’t always the best fit for an oddly shaped present. Instead, you can reach for printed cotton fabric or tulle tied off with a ribbon. Additionally, items like scarves and holiday-themed dish towels can also work well to cover up a holiday gift to put under the tree — plus it doubles as an extra gift!


Work With The Shape

Who said the paper has to be perfectly smooth with the fewest number of folds? If you have a gift to wrap that is round, but flat on the top and bottom, you can actually work with the shape of the gift and cover it with wrapping paper, but fold the top using a specific technique. Using this gift wrapping tutorial from Paperchase on YouTube, you can learn how to wrap round gifts in a way that looks professional. These folds actually look sophisticated, not unintentional or messy. You can also add a trinket, bow, or other decoration to the top for a fun, unique look.


Try To Make It More Square

Some oddly shaped gifts can be wrapped easier if they can be "squared off" with another object to make them more flat and accommodating to wrapping paper. You can place something like a paper plate (holiday themed, of course) or a scrap piece of cardboard on top of a present to smooth out uneven edges and give you a flat surface to wrap over. You can also place your gift on top of a flat piece of cardboard if you need to create a flat surface underneath to wrap up and around if you’re using the fabric-as-wrapping technique and gathering it up at the top.


Let The Gift Show

Could you just stick a big bow on that awkwardly shaped gift and go with it? Of course, but you could also give the gift a bit of a facelift instead. A total upgrade on the just-stick-a-bow-on-it wrapping job, there are plenty of ways that you can decorate the gifts themselves and still make them look super cute. Take for example turning soda or beer bottles into reindeer like this YouTube tutorial from The Green Notebook. Letting the gift show, but disguising it as something a bit more festive is actually a really great way to make an awkwardly shaped gift look presentable without the headache of trying to wrap it.


Get Creative

My mother-in-law is the absolute queen of creative wrapping. She will use old Christmas ornaments as gift toppers, hair scrunchies in place of ribbon, and has been known to wrap entire bicycles in sparkly, wide-width ribbon. (Though it didn’t do a darn thing to disguise that particular gift.) You can let your imagination run wild with all of the ways to wrap an oddly shaped gift this season. When you string some lights across a badly-wrapped gift, it can look like a genuine holiday miracle despite the gaps in the paper where the tape couldn’t quite cover an odd angle. Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box and make it work.

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