Friday, November 22, 2013

That's a Wrap! (Wrapping Gifts with the Pleated Paper Technique)

If you have a few moments, and enjoy paper crafts at all, you might get a kick out of this little tutorial. However, if you are experiencing anxiety about the holidays, or are feeling overwhelmed this time of year, you might want to skip this post, and take a few minutes to put your feet up, and read something else, like SIMPLIFYING THE HOLIDAYS

Back in the day, as long as the identity of a gift I was giving was hidden by paper, I was content with my wrapping skills. I had a big supply of gift bags in a variety of sizes that suited my needs perfectly.

And then it happened. I received an exquisitely wrapped gift from my sister-in-law Cristina. I was fascinated. The paper was PLEATED, there was a bow, and inside the box, there was tissue paper, delicately covering the gift for its final unveiling. I felt so honored that she took the time to do that for me. Then I wondered, how did she DO that?  

Lucky for me, she was more than willing to share her gift-wrapping secrets. Ever since then, I have enjoyed making an extra effort in wrapping gifts, especially when I know it will be appreciated. 

Do I wrap every gift this way? Um, no. I have gift bags and speed-wrapping skills for last minute presents, and gifts for folks who just want to tear into the present.

It takes a little mechanical thinking to execute the folds, but only a little, because I'm able to do it. Hopefully, between my instructions and the photographs, you'll see how simple pleating can be.

First of all, when you're cutting the paper, you'll need to allow for extra width to make the pleats. There is probably a mathematical equation to determine exactly how much more paper is needed, but if you were hoping for that info, you are reading the wrong blog. A mathematician I'm not!

You can make vertical or diagonal pleats. Your first crease will determine the direction of the other folds. You can pleat the whole front of your package, if you want to get crazy with it, or you can simply make a couple of creases, and sharply flatten the pleats.

For finishing touches, I love to combine textures, utilizing twine, gauzy ribbon, wired ribbon, curling ribbon, shiny bows, and floral picks. During the Christmas holidays, there are so many decorative additions to choose from:  holly and berries, ornaments, pine cones and evergreens.

My tips for saving money on wrapping supplies are HERE.

I hope you have as much fun with this pleating technique as I do!

This first example demonstrates a diagonal pleat:
For this diagonal pleat, I placed the box on top of the paper to see where I wanted the top and bottom of the pleat to be.

This is what it looks like on the outside of the paper.

Once the pleats are made, flatten them with your hand so that
the edges are sharp,  and secure their placement with tape on the inside.

Place the box on the inside of the paper, and wrap as you normally would,
securing the overlapping seams with tape.

Add ribbon and a bow, if desired.

For the pièce de resistance, add a coordinating gift tag, and you're done! Talk about eye candy.
The next two examples utilize a vertical pleat. I suppose it goes without saying, you can make horizontal pleats, if you so desire. Once you have the basic concept, you can go crazy with pleating your packages.

Here's a close-up of the pleats for vertical lines.

A view from the side of the pleats. Make sure you make sharp creases before securing things in place.

Secure the pleats in place with at least three pieces of tape on the inside of the gift wrap.

Voilá!  The completed pleats. To complete the look, add a floral pick, like this white poinsettia to some gauzy ribbon.

And..."That's a wrap!"


  1. Oh, Lordy ... I LOVE this! Your packages ARE a work of art! Thanks for sharing the directions, Denise! Will give it a whirl this year!

    1. I hope the instructions were clear enough. I have to dig in and try; words just make things confusing. I hope the pics fill in any gaps! Have fun!


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