7 common gift wrapping mistakes and how to avoid them

Presenting a Christmas gift
Presenting a Christmas gift (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Presenting festive gifts may seem simple enough, but there are some common gift-wrapping mistakes we often make. Whether we love or loathe the task, learning how to wrap a gift the right way can make all the difference. Not only does a neatly-wrapped gift look more appealing, but also shows the recipient how much effort was put into it.

But while we want to create that 'store-bought' look for our gifts, our best attempts often end up looking like a sticky tape-induced mess! Luckily, there are ways to perfect your gift-wrapping skill that will make the task easier and stress-free. So if you have a ton of gifts to wrap this season and want to impress this season, be sure not to make any of these common gift wrapping mistakes!

If you really want to make an impression, learn how to tie a bow ribbon for the perfect gift and consider these sustainable gift wrapping ideas.

1. Not wrapping on a correct surface or space 

Man wrapping a gift on bed

Man wrapping a gift on bed (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A common mistake is using unsuitable surfaces, or cluttered areas during gift-wrapping. Whether you’re super organized or leave it to the last minute, always designate a suitable space to wrap your gifts. It’s far easier to wrap neatly on a flat surface such as a table/desk, rather than on a bed or the carpet. Plus, a clear space also allows for more precise or crisp folds, without any clutter getting in the way. 

2. Not having any of your supplies at hand 

Gift wrap supplies

Gift wrap supplies (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similarly, another gift-wrapping mistake is not having everything that you need at hand. If you know your roll of tape is almost finished, make sure to have extras at the ready. You don’t want to lose that perfect fold because you need to jump up to grab a new roll of tape, or the proper scissors. Before you start, gather everything you need —  sharp scissors, rolls of tape, wrapping paper, ribbon, labels — and keep them within easy reach. Better still, use a tape dispenser like this Desktop Tape Dispenser ($12, Amazon), to save time.  

3. Buying low quality wrapping paper 

Gift wrap torn

Gift wrap torn (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might be saving money on cheap wrapping paper, but these are often thin and flimsy, causing tears or crinkles during gift-wrapping. This can often spoil the overall look of the gift, and element of surprise. Similarly, heavy, luxury wrapping papers could be too stiff to fold neatly. Instead, opt for a mid-range paper that is easy to fold and crease, yet won’t rip to shreds in the process. 

4. Using the wrong (or dull) scissors  

Woman cutting wrapping paper on table

Woman cutting wrapping paper on table (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to gift-wrapping, scissors are the number one tool to get the job done, so you’ll need to use the right one. A tiny pair of scissors will not bode well when cutting paper straight for a large gift. In addition, dull scissors won't give you a clean and neat cut, and would result in jagged edges. So before you start, sharpen your scissors, or invest in a good pair of craft ones just for gift wrapping like these Scotch 8" Precision Scissors ($5, Amazon).

5. You don’t measure up the wrapping paper 

Wrapping festive gift

Wrapping festive gift (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A common mistake we make is cutting the wrapping paper from the roll before measuring up. And it’s always a headache to discover that it comes up way too short to cover the entire gift, forcing us to start over. The best way to measure is by placing the gift in the middle of the wrapping paper, making sure the paper goes all the way up both sides when you fold it. A general rule is to unroll enough that the paper is about twice the length of the gift box. Any excess paper should be trimmed off, or else you’re left with unappealing, bulges of folded paper at the ends. 

6. Taping paper to the gift box

Putting tape on a gift

Putting tape on a gift (Image credit: Shutterstock)

This might seem like a logical way to secure it, but taping wrapping paper to the original box is a no-no. Not only could it tear away some of the packaging, but makes the process of unwrapping stressful. Ideally, the paper should fall away from the gift, and not get stuck to it. Ensure your tape sits on top of the wrapping paper, and not touching the gift underneath. In most cases, the box is part of the gift to keep, so you don’t want to ruin the aesthetic. 

7. You wrap gifts without name tags  

Christmas gifts with tags

Christmas gifts with tags (Image credit: Amazon)

Another common mistake is to leave out the name tags, or worse case, scribble a message on the gift-wrap. Immediately after wrapping, it’s always best to place a name tag on it to keep everything organized. The last thing you want is to give the wrong gift to somebody else! In addition, avoid hand-writing names/messages directly onto the gift-wrap, as it’s not always legible, and often looks messy. Gift name tags such as these Kraft Paper Gift Tags with String ($5, Amazon), look much more classier. 

 If you want to create the perfect, festive backdrop, be sure not to make these Christmas decorating mistakes, or these Christmas tree mistakes this holiday.  

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!