All Wrapped Up

All the colors of the ‘bow, man!

– Otto

As a student, I worked at a series of jewelry studios of increasing fancy-pantsedness. At the last such emporium, I learned how to make wrap packages with Tiffany-style bows made of fabric ribbon.

tiffany box

I no longer talk the idle rich into buying sparkly things, but I still wrap my packages this way. I just like using “real” ribbon — it’s a nice touch and it can be reused indefinitely. It works for any package size (within reason) and you can use it with a pretty box or with a box you’ve wrapped in paper.

Plus, it’s super-easy.

Grosgrain ribbon has nice texture and holds a knot better than satin, so that’s what I used here — that and a Harry & David’s box from a treat tower we received this week that I’ve already emptied.

To get the right length, wrap the ribbon about three and a half times around the box length-wise and cut it.

present 2

Put the mid-point of the ribbon at the center top of the box.

present 3

Keeping the ribbon flat, pull the ribbon around to the underside, then wrap the ribbon ends around each other so they go off at 90-degree angles. Even pressure keeps everything centered.

present 4

Keeping the ribbon taut and flat around the sides, come back up to the top of the box and tie a knot.

present 5

Here’s where you would have someone put a finger on the knot to hold it, or you can do what I do, which is keep the knot under the side of my finger while I make the bow — a skill learned under pressure from jewelry buyers waiting for their gifts! Easier to have someone lend a finger, although it’s all me in the following picture.

Trap that knot!

present 6

Pull the bow ends through until you have the right proportions and tighten it up.

present 7

Then trim up the ends.

present 8

Another trick: fold the end of the ribbon in half lengthwise and cut at an angle from the fold side down toward the outside. The ribbon end will have a nice inverted “V” after the cut. I just did these at an angle.

Fiddle with and tug at the bow and ends a little bit until you’re happy with it, and there you go.

present 9

The earlier image right after the bow gives a better idea of the bow’s “puffiness” than this more direct angle. The grosgrain ribbon’s weight and body help keep it nice and dimensional, even if you pack a gift like this to ship.

I like a biggish bow and long ends on the ribbon, but you can cut it shorter (about three times around the box for the measurement). It’s also fun to layer ribbon and then fan out the colors after you tie the bow. Whatever the variation, the recipient will just tug at an end and the ribbon will fall away prettily. And grosgrain is so cheap that it’s about the same price as buying disposable ribbon and bows.

‘Tis the season. Happy wrapping!

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