How to Wrap a Present
There's too much pressure at the holidays to make everything perfect. Who can do that? Here's one thing we can do perfectly, though — wrap a present. The instructions look tricky, but trust us, once you try them you'll never look back (and you won't waste paper anymore, either). Older kids who no longer are proud of the messier fruits of their wrapping labors will take to this too — and they'll get to show off their math skills.
Put the item in a box, then stuff the box with tissue paper to keep the gift from moving.
Place the box on a work surface with a short side facing you. Wrap a fabric measuring tape all the way around the middle of the box and note what number the tape ends on. Add 2 to it, and write that number down.
Measure the box's length by unrolling the tape measure on the top surface of the box, from the upper left corner to the lower left corner. Make a note of that number, and then measure the box's height (from the work surface to the top of the box). Double the height measurement, add it to the length, and write that number down.
That number and the number you wrote down in Step 2 are the dimensions of the piece of wrapping paper you'll need. Use the measuring tape to mark the paper accordingly, then cut it out. For easier cutting, you can use wrapping paper with a grid on the back, such as Hallmark, but we can't resist Snow & Graham paper ($3 per sheet, luxepaperie.com).
Place the cut piece of wrapping paper on the work surface so a long side is facing you. Center the box on the paper, upside down, with a short side facing you.
Bring the right side of the paper up and over and tape it down just past the center of the box. Fold the left edge of the paper over about 3/4 of an inch, to make it smooth, then bring that end up and over the box and tape it down.
With an open end facing you, press the excess paper on top flat against the end of the box, forming triangles at each side. Pinch the top edge of each triangle to create creases, then push the triangles in against the end of the box and crease the newly formed edges. Fold the bottom flap of paper up and tape it closed. Repeat the process on the other side.
Now, to make a fancy bow ... (just kidding).
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The Pop-Up Tape Dispenser ($3, containerstore.com) is almost like having an extra hand — and who can't use that?