Have some last-minute holiday gift wrapping to do? We talked to some gift wrapping experts in the San Joaquin Valley to get some pointers.
Raina Toy operates her business, The Badly Guarded Girl, out of her Fresno home. She specializes in customized gift wrapping and other services related to special events. She has earned a reputation with clients for her artistry, ranging from "spikes" that jut from boxes to peacock feathers that sway atop the box. Her fee is usually $3 to $20.
A longtime Fresno stationery/gift boutique, Not Just Paper, also has a reputation for attractive gift wrapping. Co-owners Karen Genovese and Allyson Adams, as well as employees, doll up gifts with curly ribbons in colors that complement the wrap.
The gift wrapping is a free service to customers. (The store began wrapping gifts bought elsewhere for a fee. Average-size gifts already boxed cost about $8. Average-size gifts needing a box cost about $10.) These experts say it is important to make a gift look nice because it goes a long way with the recipients.
"When they see it wrapped in a special way, they also feel special," Toy says. "When I wrap, I pour all my heart into it. They are going to feel what you did." Genovese agrees, equating it to the effect that the presentation of food on a plate has on diners.
"Presentation is everything," she says. "They think that if someone takes the time to prepare a gift in a special way, it says a lot about how that person thinks of them." Here are some recommendations for the holidays.
Tips from Toy
Save old gift wrapping -- even scraps: Feed it into a paper shredder to reuse for "packing" inside a box. Beats plain old tissue.
"There's all that color," she says.
Use quality gift wrap: It is thicker, folds better and resists tearing or wrinkling. "You can feel the difference," she says.
Toy also recommends butcher paper that is thicker and takes on varying appearances, such as modern, rustic or shabby chic.
Use quality ribbon: The best kinds to work with are satin-based or wired ribbon, she says. They keep their shape and don't show imperfections.
Think of a theme: Wrap all holiday gifts similarly each year, such as themes with floral patterns or black and white.
"You can also tie an ornament with ribbon to the gift," she says.
Use a hot glue gun: Rather than use a bow, fashion a topper out of feathers or leaves and pebbles -- held together with the use of a glue gun. Double-sided tape also is a must.
Tips from Genovese, Adams
Use gift bags as alternative to flat wrap: First, place the tissue-wrapped gift in the bottom of the bag. Then, use tissue as topper for the bag. Genovese demonstrated by holding the long end of a piece of tissue in the palm of her hand and snapping it downward into a cone shape. Then, she carefully tucked it into the bag so that it kept its shape.
Use cello: There's no masking a gift wrapped in cellophane. Beware: You need a second set of hands. One holds the top. The other cinches it with ribbon.
Crease the edges on boxes: It makes the gift wrapping look crisp and neat. Nobody likes wrinkles on wrap.
Cut the gift wrap to size: Extra wrap that is tucked under creates a bulky, messy look that can be unappealing.
Double-bow gifts: It creates a bigger-bow look. Embellish it with curled ribbons that provide a festive look -- and make recipients smile.