Welcome to Gift Wrapping Paper 101

September 01, 2022 4 min read

Welcome to Gift Wrapping Paper 101

Wrapping paper is synonymous with giving gifts, so much so that we take it for granted, despite the fact that manufacturers work hard to create it and ensure that it lives up to our expectations. If you’ve never really given much thought to wrapping paper before, then it’s time to offer an overview of everything there is to know about this extremely useful product.

When Did We Start Wrapping Gifts with Wrapping Paper?

We may think of wrapping paper as a post-industrial invention that coincided with the commercialization of gift-giving holidays. But, believe it or not, wrapping gifts in paper dates back to the 1300s – yes, you read that right. Of course, our medieval ancestors weren’t wrapping gifts in the paper we use today, and it was hardly decorative. They relied on natural fibers to wrap gifts, but the overall effect was the same as it is today.

It wasn’t until 1917 that Hallmark (yes, that Hallmark) trademarked and mass-produced wrapping paper that was distinctively decorative, and since then, the industry has continued to evolve to offer a diverse selection of wrapping paper options, featuring an enormous variety of designs to ensure something for every gift-giving occasion.

What is Wrapping Paper Made Out of?

Modern wrapping paper can be made from a variety of materials, ranging from: all-natural and biodegradable wood pulp and other natural pulp materials, to synthetics like polyethylene, polypropylene, and various laminates. Synthetic wrapping paper materials are far more common, as is the case with most industries these days, synthetic materials are cheaper to produce on a large scale. They mimic the feel of real paper, except they tend to have more of a sheen or glossiness than raw materials.   

What Kinds of Wrapping Paper are There?

The main difference between different wrapping paper products is the design, created with ink and sometimes various textures, like metallics, glitter, and even velvets. Wrapping paper can range from low-end to high-end, with higher-end wrapping papers being used with textured materials that are more expensive to produce, like the ones we just listed.  

Wrapping paper almost exclusively comes in the form of a roll, with a cardboard cylinder in the center, similar to a paper towel roll or a toilet paper roll. The roll itself can vary in length, but the standard size you’ll find in most stores is 30 inches long, with a 120-inch width to wrap a good number of gifts, depending on their size.

Most wrapping paper is one-sided – in other words, the design is only on one side, and the other side is white. However, you can find double-sided wrapping paper that allows you to enjoy two unique designs in one roll.

What Supplies Do You Need to Wrap Gifts with Wrapping Paper?

If you’re going to be wrapping gifts, you’re going to need a few supplies – mainly scissors, for cutting the paper to just fit the gift, and tape to hold the paper together. People also like to decorate wrapping paper with ribbons and stick-on bows, as these are optional but always a nice touch. Many people tie a ribbon around the gift and insert a card beneath the ribbon to keep it in place.

How Do You Use Wrapping Paper?

Most of us have wrapped gifts before – albeit, some more skillfully than others – and know the basic method for wrapping, by cutting a section of the roll, placing the gift face down and folding one edge over the other, followed by folding up the two sides. But, people have gotten quite creative with wrapping paper over the years, and there are, in fact, all kinds of innovative and visually appealing ways to wrap gifts that go outside of the standard method. We have seen people make gift bags out of wrapping paper, and even use origami with wrapping paper to embellish the standard gift.  

The easiest type of gift to wrap is a square or rectangular box. However, you can wrap gifts that are asymmetrical, cylindrical, and round by simply following specific methods that just require a bit more effort.

Aside from that, you can embellish your gift after wrapping it with all kinds of accessories, ranging from elegant ribbon to rustic twine, and all kinds of items that can be wedged below the ribbon to make the aesthetic all the more exciting and appealing.

How Come Being Selective About Your Wrapping Paper Matters So Much?

Naturally, the majority of wrapping paper manufacturers are interested in making the cheapest product to maximize their profits. But, as we learn more about the critical nature of our environment, the more important it is than ever to choose wrapping paper from a brand that makes environmentally friendly, biodegradable wrapping paper using natural rather than synthetic materials. Given how many gifts many of us wrap each year, choosing a trusted eco-friendly company like Waterleaf Paper can make a significant, positive difference.

You might be surprised by how much wrapping paper is not recyclable, nor biodegradable. Like we said, many wrapping papers on the market are created with synthetic materials that cannot be recycled, and even can take ages upon ages to break down properly. Biodegradable wrapping paper is becoming increasingly popular out of a concern for the environment, and also has the advantage of breaking down via microorganisms to become nutrients for our soil. This eliminates waste completely so that nothing is left behind, thus showing a more ethical approach to gift-giving, especially considering the fact that Americans spend over $10 billion on wrapping paper each year.

Wrapping Paper: A Must For Any Gift-Giving Occasion

Wrapping gifts in wrapping paper is such a time-honored tradition that we take it for granted – not only the unique variety of wrapping paper products out there, but its overall fascinating history. So, the next time you go to purchase wrapping paper, make sure to really explore what’s out there, and opt for an eco-friendly option to wrap your gifts sustainably. Together, we can make a difference to enjoy our holidays in a more responsible way, without missing out on the fun of wrapping and opening gifts.

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