An inexpensive present can be elevated to be so much more when it’s wrapped with a little bit of thought. With the festive season upon us, Ara Jansen offers ideas to make your presents look fabulous.

There’s an art to a good wrapping. There’s also an art to a good rap, but we’re leaving the rapping to a merry relative at the Christmas table and instead exploring impressive and easy ways to wrap gifts. 

My Poppet craft blogger Cintia Gonzalez

Ultimately, you can use these ideas year-round but for Christmas consider a festive or summer theme. 

My Poppet craft blogger Cintia Gonzalez loves to make things. She’s also an expert at using everything she can find, or has on hand to wrap a present, with a particular flair for recycling and upcycling. A few strategic cuts and she can artfully turn a cereal box into a wrapper and a soft drink bottle into a gift box.

When it comes to wrapping and gifts, Cintia haunts thrift, vintage and second-hand stores for materials she can fashion into a cover for a present – whether it’s an old biscuit tin, tea towel, foreign language newspaper or a flour bag. At home she’ll use the tissue paper which wrapped a purchase or cover up the logo on a brand bag with stickers or magazine cut-outs. 

“It’s always fun to give gifts wrapped in a different way,” says Cintia. “I’m thrifty so I also like the idea of not having to spend money on it. I have a wrapping drawer and that has everything recycled, from a present we received, to tissue and pieces of fabric I use to make bags.

“It’s nice to encourage people to reuse things like fabric or a scarf, so someone else can get some joy from it, especially if it’s not a design you like. The key is to think ahead a bit and collect a few things.”

Fun and considered wrapping can elevate an average or inexpensive present to impressive. Instead of a bottle bag, wrap in foil (without tape) and attach greenery from the garden or a hang an ornament. 

Foil is perfect if you find yourself without wrapping paper on hand. Emergency options include newspaper, magazines, baking paper, brown paper and bags, artwork, colouring books, scarves, maps, an old street directory, boxes and coloured or plain copy paper. 

Wrapping something in a tea towel and securing it with a ribbon gives the receiver two gifts. The Japanese art of furoshiki shows you how to wrap in cloth. It’s ideal for shapes like books and smaller boxes but can be used for a myriad of shapes. It requires a square piece of cloth with a reversible pattern.

For something awkwardly shaped like a ball, rather than wrangling paper and tape, drop it in a pillowcase, drawstring or calico bag. 

When it comes to ribbon or ties there’s traditional ribbon or opt for yarn, jute, kitchen string, raffia, rope, fabric strips, a scarf, pipe cleaners, hair ribbons or anything on hand. 

Cintia says wrapping is also an opportunity for crafts with your kids. Invite them to draw, paint, potato stamp or glitter on the wrapping for a friend’s present. They’ll feel like they’ve contributed to a bought item – and they love the mystery of wrapping!