Wrapping a Large Gift

Techniques for wrapping a large gift,
alternatives to gift wrap, and what to do
when wrapping just won't do.

When you're wrapping a large gift, you may face several challenges - no proper container, gift too heavy to move, paper not wide enough, and so on. A giant plastic gift bag may be OK for a bean bag chair (if you can find one large enough), but what if you have a heavy gift with protruding parts or hard corners?

Here are creative gift wrap ideas for extra-large gifts. A present that is oversized, awkward, or too heavy for conventional gift wrap can still be a well-dressed gift!

The Patchwork Technique

Wrapping a large gift: patchwork technique.If your gift is boxed, an obvious solution is to tape together enough pieces of wrapping paper to extend around the box. Try to match up the design, so the seam will be less noticeable, or try to position the seam where it can be covered by a nice ribbon.

Variation: Never mind about matching patterns, but take the opportunity to use up odds and ends of gift wrap. The result is fun and, well, different (creative?)... but it does use a lot of tape. On the other hand, with all those different papers, you won't have much trouble finding a color-coordinated ribbon!

The Cake Cover Technique

This is a creative method for wrapping a large gift when it doesn't need to be moved while the recipient is watching. If the gift comes unboxed (or needs a bigger box after assembly), you may be able to get an extra-large box from an appliance store. Remove the flaps from one end of the box (or seal up the end and remove a whole side, depending on the shape of your gift), then decorate the box.

You can use wrapping paper if you like, or spray paint the box, or affix a patchwork of kids' drawings, photos, or other colorful designs with spray adhesive. Do the spraying in a well-ventilated place, please! Once the gift is located where it will be presented, just invert the decorated box over it, like a cake cover.

The Direct Wrap Technique

This is a fun technique for wrapping a large gift that has a distinct and recognizable shape, and when you don't care about keeping a surprise:
forget about Wrapping a large gift - direct wrap technique: rocking horsea container and wrap the gift directly.

The rocking horse in the photo was Diane's gift to her nephew Andrew, when he was age 2. Everyone agreed that the gift looked great (especially how the bear matched the paper), and Andrew had a fine time ripping off the paper, with the help of his dad.

The following year, my son Mark's wife presented him with a bicycle using this wrapping-a-large-gift technique. He declared it a work of art, then had a fine time ripping off the paper, with the help of his son Andrew!

Bear in mind that the direct wrap technique usually takes a lot of time to complete. Remember also that Granny's aging fingers may be unable to peel all that gift wrap from her new rocking chair (but she might be delighted to watch the grandkids do that for her!).

Gift Wrap Alternatives

Often, the best method for wrapping a large gift is to find materials that are wider than standard gift wrap. Here are some ideas:

Colorful fabric - many suitable fabrics are 45" wide, and remnants are reasonably priced. Remember that lightweight fabric in light colors is not opaque. Double-stick tape is recommended; however, you may also need to reinforce the seams with a few stitches, clips, or pins. Wrapping a large gift with a length of fabric.

Here, Diane concealed a 50-gallon fish tank, complete with a turtle and all of its equipment, under a length of fabric. By simply draping and tucking the fabric, she produced another well-dressed gift (and the turtle had plenty of breathing room). If you are wrapping a large gift that's flat on top, you might decorate it like a table, with a centerpiece and/or a place setting.

Extra-large cloth items - curtains are extra-long, and bed sheets and shower curtains are wider than a bolt of fabric. Check the odd-lot or dollar stores, or look in outlet stores for seconds or irregulars. A rough texture or a few blemishes won't matter, so there's no need for top-of-the-line fabric or workmanship.

Plastic/vinyl tablecloth - plastic or vinyl usually holds tape better than fabric. But plastic-backed paper napkin weight tablecloths are easily torn, and we find them too soft and fragile for wrapping a large gift.

Wrapping a large gift by covering with a tarp.A painter's dropcloth or a tarp is a good wrapper for big, sturdy presents like tools or outdoor equipment - simply drape the tarp over the gift. Here, Diane used a tarp to cover a large tool chest (her recipient was glad to have such a useful wrapper, too!). She added a wide ribbon, with bottom ends tucked under the tarp, and a big bow.

When Wrapping Just Won't Do

Sometimes gift wrapping is not the best solution for oversized gifts. So here are two ways for non-wrapping a large gift, that are entertaining for recipients of all ages.

The Treasure Hunt - Prepare several clues, each one leading to the next, and hide them in various places around the house or yard. Clues written in rhymes or riddles add extra fun (or frustration!). You can add some encouragement by including a favor (a sweet treat, lottery ticket, tiny puzzle or toy) with each clue. The final clue leads to the hiding place where the unwrapped gift awaits, wearing a bow and gift tag.

"Follow Me" - The easiest of all ways for non-wrapping a large gift is to hand your recipient a card with the message: "Follow Me." Attach a string or ribbon to the card and run it directly (or by an interesting route) to the gift, which is hidden in another room, or somewhere in the yard, or even next door with a cooperative (and discreet) neighbor. Provide a spool or cardboard tube for winding the string/ribbon. A nice big bow and gift tag is an adequate outfit for well-hidden, well-dressed large gifts!

When you wrap large gifts creatively,
or find entertaining non-gift-wrap ideas,
your recipient will appreciate the effort!

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