As a stylist, I've wrapped thousands of presents for shoots – and these are my top tips for gift wrapping like a pro

Gift wrap like a pro and impress family and friends with perfectly wrapped presents this season

christmas presents wrapped under a christmas tree
(Image credit: Future)

Everyone loves receiving gifts, whether it's a star present on the big day or Christmas Eve box ideas, but what makes them even more thoughtful is when someone has taken real care to wrap them. Professional-looking wrapping can make even the smallest of gifts look special, from the meticulous wrap, the choice of paper, the embellishments and, of course, the ribbon.

Not everyone is good at gift wrapping, however, and it was certainly a case of practice makes perfect for me. I shoot Christmas imagery for all different brands and magazines every year, starting as early as June, I have to wrap a lot of (often faux!) presents, which meant that I learnt pretty quickly how to get them looking picture-perfect. 

Although for shoots I often only tend to wrap three sides of a box (as the bottom isn't going to be seen), I still need them to look beautiful – so I've perfected the art of how to tie a bow and cutting, folding and taping paper for was beautiful gift-wrapping ideas.

These are my top tips for making sure the presentation of your gifts is just as good as the present inside…

1. Pick your gift wrap carefully

gift wrap with christmas sack and stack of presents

(Image credit: Future)

They say you get what you pay for, and sadly that can be true of wrapping paper. Often the cheaper papers can be the ones to tear easily, so it's worth going for the thickest gift wrap you can afford. That way you won't have to give a gift with the corner poking out, or one that you're afraid to touch for fear it will tear.

Then there are the glittery designs, which aren't always the best to stick and can work their way free of even the strongest of tapes. My advice is to go for a thicker paper, and if you have large items to wrap, make sure it's a nice long roll rather than a shorter one where you'd have to use more paper to cover the item.

2. Mix and match colours and patterns

christmas presents wrapped under a christmas tree

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you're someone who buys the same design of gift wrap and sticks to it or prefers to get a set of three (similar) wrapping papers so they match, there is something to be said for opting for different colours and patterns. In the same way, you'd use paint and wallpaper to contrast and complement each other, the colour and pattern you choose for your presents and ribbon can very much do the same. 

Red ribbon against a green wrap, or bright jewelled fuchsia against gold, for example, can make a beautiful combination. If you're unsure about mixing gift wrap in different colours, try using a metallic as one of your paper choices. It goes with everything. 

If you're concentrating on one specific present, why not use a mix of two papers for interest? Wrap your gift in one paper and then use a strip of another to embellish it. Be brave, be bold and most of all, be creative.

3. Use the right tools for the job

blue Christmas presents with gift wrap and ribbon

(Image credit: Future)

It's not just using thicker paper that will help you wrap like a pro – other tools for the job are essential if you want beautifully wrapped presents. Sharp scissors for a start are a must. I use wallpaper scissors, which you can pick up on Amazon. They have ultra-sharp and long blades, which are ideal for slicing through paper quickly and easily.

Then there's the tape. Say goodbye to ugly sellotape and instead opt for double-sided tape, available on Amazon. Yes, it takes slightly longer, but the finish you'll get is much better, with all your taping hidden. 

4. Embellishments are key

Stack of christmas presents with gift wrap and bows

(Image credit: Future)

The finishing touches – and often the most important – are the embellishments. From sumptuous velvet ribbon to seasonal decorations, even the worst wrapping can be elevated (and hidden!) with some good bows.

Christmas is a great time for getting creative with gift wrapping, so tie in sprigs of foliage, try drying some orange slices, use old jewellery to add sparkle, or make your own paper or fabric bows. Pop something unusual on, whether it's a sentimental touch or something fun, and you'll add interest to your gift immediately.

5. Don't forget the tags

christmas tags for presents

(Image credit: Future)

You don't want to spend time wrapping your presents only to let them down with bog-standard tags. Go for a design that adds to your gift wrap, whether in the colour or pattern, and, if your handwriting isn't the best, consider hand-stamping the recipient's name. 

Alternatively, why not make your own tags? I like to make mine from old Christmas cards or even packaging that I cut up, paint and add metallic edges to. I've also practised my brush lettering over the years so I can personalise my presents. 

I've already started wrapping my presents for this Christmas and although I've got more to go, I like to take my time, put on a festive film and put some thought into them. This isn't easy when everything's so frantic before the big day, but I always get comments on the gift wrap, so for me, it's worth spending the time on.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at