How to Gift Wrap a Rectangular Box:
Gift Wrapping 104


Illustrated directions for how to gift wrap
a square or rectangular box. Two easy methods
to prepare your gift box for decorating.


Before proceeding, it's a good idea to review Gift Wrapping Tips and Techniques if you haven't done so already. There you'll find six tips that are useful for wrapping almost any gift.

Here's one more tip: As you wrap the first end of a rectangular box, be careful not to push the box farther inside the paper - that will shorten the paper at the opposite end of the box.

Now, here's how to gift wrap a box in nine easy steps, with your choice of two slightly different methods. The first four steps and the last one are the same for both methods; only Steps 5 through 8 are different.


Wrap a Rectangular Box

How to gift wrap a box: Begin with measuringHow to gift wrap a box: Measure paper overlap for ends of box
1) Unroll a length of gift wrap and decide how you want to orient the box with respect to the design. Use a string, a tape, or the box itself to measure a piece of gift wrap that will encircle the box plus about 2 extra inches (5cm).


2) Leave an overlap for each end that is less than the height of the box. For a deep box, just over half the height is about right. For a shallow box like the one pictured, a greater overlap (but no more than the box height) is better.


How to gift wrap a box: How to gift wrap a box: Make narrow fold along seam edgeHow to gift wrap a box: Secure seam with tape, folded edge on top
3) Place the paper design-side down, and fold up about 1/2 inch along one short edge to make a neat seam. Center the gift box upside-down on the paper so the seam will end up at the bottom.



4) Bring the paper firmly up and around the box to meet at the center. With the folded edge on top, match up the pattern (if possible or desirable) before taping the seam. A large box requires 2-3 pieces of tape - space them evenly.



You can choose how to gift wrap the ends between two equally easy methods that produce almost identical results. You may wish to try a different method at each end of your box, to see which you like best.


Method A
How to gift wrap a box: Fold sides of overlapping paper against end of boxHow to gift wrap a box: Narrow fold along edge of bottom flap
5-A) Fold the sides of the gift wrap to the center, keeping them snug around the corners of the box. Top and bottom flaps will form as you fold in the sides. Crease the diagonal edges, as shown.


6-A) Make a narrow fold across the edge of the bottom flap, to make a neat seam.





How to gift wrap a box: Fold top flap against end of boxHow to gift wrap a box: Fold bottom flap up and tape in place
7-A) Fold the top flap down against the end of the box ...






8-A) ... then bring the bottom flap snugly up over it, and tape the seam. A wide box may require 2-3 pieces of tape - space them evenly. Repeat Steps 5A - 8A at the other end of the box.



Method B
How to gift wrap a box: Fold top section of overlap against box endHow to gift wrap a box: Fold in sides and crease
5-B) Fold down the top section of overlapping paper snugly against the end of the box, and crease the diagonal folds that form at either side.



6-B) Fold in the sides one at a time, keeping the paper snug at the box corners, and crease the diagonal folds that form at the bottom.



How to gift wrap a box: Fold raw edge, fold up flap.How to gift wrap a box: Use 2-3 pieces of tape for a long seam.
7-B) Fold up about 1/2 inch along the edge of the bottom flap, for a neat finish. Then fold the flap up firmly against end of the box, and tape the seam.



8-B) You may need 2-3 pieces of tape if your box is a wide one. Note: The second end may be easier to work with if you stand the box on the wrapped end as shown. Repeat Steps 5B - 8B at the other end of the box.


Methods A & B
How to gift wrap a box: Make gift tag from wrapping paper scrap for a perfect match.9) Turn the box over so the seam is at the bottom. Or, you may decide to stand the box on end (see below). Looks good! Now that you know how to gift wrap a box, you're all set to decorate it. Note the gift tag made from a wrapping paper scrap - it matches perfectly!



How to Gift Wrap Square and Cubic Boxes


How to gift wrap a box: Square-end box with too long an overlap for Method AWhen the ends of a box are square or nearly square, the paper overlap is often easier to manage using Method B. If the paper reaches much beyond the center of the box end, there will be too much bulk for Method A, as the photo illustrates. To use Method A, cut off the excess paper ... or, use Method B.


The box opening need not end up at the top of the wrapped gift, though it may seem intuitive to position it that way (photo below, at left). But a long, square-ended box that nicely stands on end is a good backdrop for an up-and-down wrapping paper pattern. Part of how to gift wrap is orienting the box properly on the paper. So before you cut, be sure that the top of the design points toward the "up" end of the box.

How to gift wrap a box: Box with lid hinged on long sideHow to gift wrap a box: Method B, top overlap section folds down over box endHow to gift wrap a box: Method B, fold in side, make diagonal crease

How to gift wrap a square-ended box - it's easy with Method B. Fold the top overlap section down over the box end, all the way to the corners (above, center). Fold the sides in, one at a time (above, right), keeping the sides snug along the box corners.

Crease the diagonal folds to form the bottom flap (often an exact triangle). If there's a raw edge, fold it in; then fold up the flap and tape at the center. If the flap extends beyond the center of the box end, you may wish to fold it under. Or not.


How to gift wrap a box: Square-end box standing tallAn attractive geometric pattern is formed at the ends of the box, by paper folds (striped paper is especially good for this effect). With such an interesting background for a bow or other decoration, this well-dressed gift looks its best standing the tall way!

A gift tag looks nice dangling down the side of a tall gift. Use a narrow ribbon to reach from the bow, across the top of the box, and slightly down the side. Tape the back of the gift tag to the end of the ribbon.


Gift wrapping a box is easy;
and a little extra care will show off your box
and gift wrap design to their best advantage.


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Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer, courtesy of morguefile.com
Other photos courtesy of Libby Graphics, all rights reserved.